Author Archives: @lincxrossef

  • 0

… next to the drunkard

Category : Stories

Have you been there, Seating next to the drunk guy in a mat?
This is how it all starts:
So you are seating there in a mat, only one seat remaining.
The seat next to you.
The makangas are now charged up!
They beat up the metal plate next to the guys sitting near the entrance of the mat vigourously!
The chant is now ‘mmoja iende!!’

Its Friday late evening, around 8.47pm
He left work early.
He decided to enter the local pub at the ground floor of their work-building.
It’s Friday, its expected.
A few drinks with friends before he heads home.
A bit too much and he realises it’s late.
He decides to head home immediately.
Wakes up suddenly only to realise he’s staggering,
‘I’m strong enough’, he says.

So you there sitting replying tens of chats on whatsapp groups,
Then puff! He drops next to you pushing you towards the window.
He then drops the sigh of a dark cloud of a ‘mixture of tots’
The dark cloud ‘travels’ slowly towards the window as it rushes to fresh air.
That’s osmosis like my bio teacher said.
He says hi and a few words then goes into a deep sleep!

After fifteen mins of tring to get out of the CBD the mat is now enroute home.
‘Centi hapo’, the makanga says as he slowly comes,
You pay your old fifty note that you choose among the new ones that remaing in your wallet.
The makanga then shakes the drunk whose head was swinging and tapping your shoulder,
As the driver was making some sharp corners around the city.
‘Weeeee mzaeeee, centi yako bana’
He awakes from the deep sleep and you notice the saliva drool and you quickly turn back to your smartphone.
‘Silipi’, he says.
I laugh inside me having expected the answer.
The makanga leaves him alone, he continues taking money from the rest of the passengers as if nothing happened.

He comes back again after he finishes collecting money from everyone,
‘Umesema haulipi?’ , he shakes him up but he refuses to wake up.
He goes back to the door of the mat, I notice the makanga has become aggitated.
The mat stops in traffic for a while, he drops and goes to the driver and comes back with a whip; the remains of a tire as the one used by watchies.
Then he comes back to the drunk guy while charged up.
‘Unatoa ama hutoi?’… Pulls him up and beats him one on the back.
This time i stand up and push myself towards the window.
He suddenly comes to life, eyeballs fully opened and momentarily sober!
‘Shika pesa yako!!’ he says… he gives the makanga a squeezed 100 note.
‘Usicheze na sisi!’ everything goes back to normal.
I go back to whatsapp and narrate the story in my groups.

  • 0

9 Types of people in a ma3: Who reps you?

Category : Stories

The TseTse Man: You know this guy! The Heavy sleeper in a mat who no sooner has he/she sat on the mat than you notice his head leaning on your shoulder/ or the front seat infront/ head swinging around like a pendulum. They might snore when they are really tired or go passed their stage.

The AirFreshner: Always opens windows, they seem to be lacking oxygen or something. Their nostrils are stuffed immediately they get into a matatu. “Fungua hizo dirisha bana!” Perhaps its a true lung defect. But who am I to jugde?

gallery banner

The MegaPhone: Mats are usually playing loud music, sometimes annoying when the speakers and tweeters are unbalanced but do they care?? They receive calls loudly and compete with the speakers for attention. And why are they always trying to seal a deal or trying to explain where the keys were left yesterday since they late?? But let me give them credit for sometimes switching in between languages when they notice they too loud or in a quiet mat. Hail Mega Phones!

The Complainer: These guys complain about everything and anything; the route being used, the journey being too long, the traffic, the police… Am usually like, “Tuko Nairobi bana”!! But don’t mind them. But you can mind if they interrupting your novel time or chat time; give an ear and say words like “enyewe!” “Kumbe!” “Waah!” and you’ll be safe.

The Insecure: You know them! Or perhaps you fit into the description :-) Anyway these guys ALWAYS nags the conductor for his/her change. I dont blame them though; most likely they left change for a 5sok or thao sometime back on a mat and the fear of loosing another one is soooo fervent! But there those who complain about about 10 bobs or mbaos. These are the most dangerous creators in a mat!

The Walking Studio: So there are all these screens in a mat, the music is out of this world and they decide to put on their earphones/ headphones, am not judging am just saying it looks abit odd.

The Active Matatureans: Classic, Radio Jambo, Kiss etc have proven to be really interesting in the morning or evening and some guys cannot help but listen to radio convos and laugh loudly. I mean you can try to “shikilia kicheko” bana. It can be really embarrassing especially if its an off topic, ama?

routes banner

The ManofTheMat: Man spreading as defined in an earlier blog is the term used to describe those people — usually men — who sit and take up two spaces in a matatu. They forget they are in a public place  and still thinking they are at home. Sorry you just have to sit squeezed like a chicken and not even be able to text till you alight!

The Co-Driver: You know them! They always like to seat infront with the driver. No sooner does a mat stop than they ran to open the door. And ofcourse if youve lived in Nairobi you know that those doors have to be opened from inside “juu ya makanjo” so one has literally beg the driver to open; and there those who don’t.

  • 0

From Matatu Route No. to SACCO NAME

Category : Stories

If the trends serve us right, there is a big shift as to how Nairobians nowadays identify their way around Nairobi. The shift is from identifying a route as a number to the sacco name.

Its therefore common for someone to think of boarding an UMOINNER to go Umoja and be able to choose between it and UTIMO  which are the main saccos instead of #35-60 which is the route number.

The trend also cuts across other routes like ROG/CBET for #23 , Forward Travellers for Kayole or Embassava for Embakasi residents etc

Will the route no. be replaced by the Matatu Sacco brands in the years to come??

  • 0

Return of the SCREENS

Category : Stories

Photo courtesy of

The first matatu screens saw their way on matatu’s as early as 2002. The reigning matatus during those days included #58 plying BuruBuru, #9 plying Eastleigh and #23 plying Jerusalem Outering including others.

Over the years the culture has still been there but not that public, only the brave ones or allegedly only those owned by the big shots of Kenya.

Unfortunately,  when the newly elected government then came to power, loud music and screens were banned in matatus complaints being about the loudness and lewdness of the music.

However fast forward 2015 and MATATU SCREENS are BACK! The announcement by the president that allowed the return of graffiti seems to come with a whole lot package including the screens.

Will it be shortlived?

Lets wait and see.

  • 0

90’s vs Now.. #TumetokaMbali

Category : Stories

Snap preview of the 90’s vs Now…. #TumetokaMbali

  • 0

How to ‘dandia a ma3’

Category : Stories

Photo credit:

Its unfortunate that whilst this is a very cool Nairobi culture i.e jumping on to a moving matatu; many have injured themselves and even died while trying to do it.

I remember the first time I did it as a 10 year old and it felt awesome, I however do remember times I have hurt myself doing it. So below are a few tips on how to ‘dandia a ma3’


  1. Don’t dandia while its on acceleration. Gravity and a lot of physics stuff are usually happening.
  2. Don’t dandia while theres a policeman nearby. Either you/ the matatu might be apprehended.
  3. Don’t dandia while you are drank. One is usually not stable enough to withstand the matatu’s pull ( Again gravity, Lots of physics stuff :-)
  4. ….. Figure out  and add to the list.


  1. The driver is aware that you want to jump on so that he doesn’t accelerate.
  2. If the driver is not aware or he is moving on a steady line, dandia/ drop off near a bump because the matatu is usually moving slowly at this time.
  3. ….. Figure out and add to the list.

Steps to dandia a mat:

  1. Hold the ‘chuma’ which is usually around the entrance.
  2. Jump on with one of your feet while moving at the matatu’s speed
  3. Pull your body onboard the ma3

Steps to dropping off a ma3:

  1. Ensure the matatu is not accelerating.
  2. Hold the chuma’ around the entrance with the right hand facing forward.
  3. Put left foot down followed by right foot.
  4. Continue moving ahead at ma3’s pace.
  5. Let go of the ‘chuma’


  • 0

The Difference is clear

Category : Stories

What I go through every morning is very clear!!

  • 0

Using 100/- to get 50/-

Category : Stories

So a mathee shukad a mat and remembered she had left 50 shillings change kwa ma3.. So she took a bike and paid a 100/- to get to the mat then got her 50/- back :-/

Matatu Stories