Nairobi News


4 ways to instantly deal with rowdy, vulgar Kenyan makangas

By Winnie Mabel February 20th, 2024 2 min read

You have a long day coming up. You probably will have to connect two or more public service vehicles to just one destination. But on this day, you probably have three places to make trips to. You can already see tts going to be a long day of prolonged heat and sweaty bodies all over the place, dust and exhaust fumes since you will not be using private means of transport.

Top on the list of your dread is not even the infamous traffic, being made to stand inside an already full vehicle or having to be packed like sardines in sharing a three seater between four people. It is dealing with the public service vehicle conductors, popularly known as makangas.

Majority of makangas are known to be rowdy, loud, often times dirty, unkempt and smelly, impatient and vulgar. They are a handful but a necessary evil. Evil, especially in how they handle female passengers. They are inappropriately handsy in touching female passengers in the name of ‘ushering’ them into vehicles; and when they find that a female does not want to get into their particular bus or matatu, they begin insulting her using sexually vulgar words.

So, ladies, how then do you instantly deal with such makangas who ruin your day for no reason and ensure you get instant justice?

  1. Stand your ground. In this moment, remain calm and composed even if the makanga is aggressively and disrespectfully coming at you. Do not show them your fear over their behavior or of attracting attention. Stand your ground and face off with them and communicate with them how unacceptable their behavior was.
  2. In the event they are not phased off by your boldness in facing off with them, seek support from nearby pedestrians if the interaction continues to put you in a position of being upset or stressed. At this point, the makanga will have two options- face off with several other people (as some bay for his blood) or apologize and make amends. The latter is highly likely especially if it is evident they were in the wrong.
  3. Know your rights. In the melee of facing off with a vulgar makanga who mishandled you, rattle off your rights and tell him the consequences they will face. If a traffic officer is nearby, you are lucky because you may get instant justice if they are apprehended. You have the right to human dignity and freedom from torture as enshrined in the Human Rights and Freedoms in Kenya. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your rights as a citizen and as a customer of a particular Sacco’s matatu.
  4. Practice self care and self defense. In Kenya, they say kama mbaya, mbaya (when it gets really bad, its bad). In the event none of the above work, marshal up your emotional and street intelligence, mental strength and take the makanga down a peg. If violence does loom, consider taking ‘law approved’ self defense measures against them even if you have to make a citizen’s arrest before law enforcement get involved.

Do you have any other ways on how such makangas can be dealt with? Do let us know.

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