Osibisa-Sunshine Day song at the bottom of the page:At school, Osibisa was an expert in cleaning toilets and bathrooms. He was nicknamed ‘Osibisa’ after a Central African Band that was famous in the sixties and seventies. In the four years that I attended the school, Osibisa ‘hummed’ only one particular tune by that famous band. The piece of lyric he ‘hummed’ went something like, “Osibisa-ah o yea…!” Osibisa never even sang the lyrics of the bit he preferred. He only ‘hummed’ it. He cleaned ablution blocks once daily, and sometimes twice a day.

As you can imagine, given the size of that institution with ablution blocks everywhere, Osibisa had his work ‘well cut out’ for him. Believe you me, more often than not; the state of the toilets and bathrooms was appalling! The bathrooms were always dirty and the toilets were often filthy, but that illiterate man knew that that was probably the only job he would ever get. The toilets often overflowed with sewage, but under cubicles, Osibisa would hurl bucket-loads of water like ‘live grenades’ to hated enemy camps. Cleaning those facilities would have daunted a lesser man, but Osibisa was unperturbed by the entire ‘hullabaloo’ that came with that tasking ordeal.

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Every time and everywhere, you’d find Osibisa ‘well-armed’ with his notorious little ‘war cry’ of a tune, ‘humming’ it away through chores. He needed no lyrics, a song sheet or a music director! All he needed was a broom to brush off the stubborn filth and toilet chemicals for ‘the kill.’ ‘Well-armed’ with his little ‘hum’, nothing was any big deal!

Osibisa would ‘hum’ away at anything the day ‘threw’ his way. It didn’t matter that the day didn’t ‘turn up’ right, he seemed to ‘hum in’ another day at will. It didn’t matter that ‘Mark’ chided him often; Osibisa seemed to ‘fix’ himself a ‘stiff glass’ of his favourite ‘song’ and drown his sorrows in his ‘hum’! The ‘battalion’ of students would hurl abuses at him, but he’d come well prepared for them to ‘bring it on’, and promptly unleash his ‘hum’ their way.

It may sound punitive to some, but that little piece of a tune seemed to be the only ‘game plan’ Osibisa had formulated, to work his way to retirement. That ‘hum’ was the psychological ‘drill’ he needed to boost his everyday morale. It was the mental ‘nose mask’ that blocked off the stench of unbearable smelly loos. It was like the only ‘insurance policy’ Osibisa had, to handle any financial crisis. As long as he could ‘hum’ Osibisa remained motivated to keep putting food on his family’s table.

If Osibisa could ‘hum’, then he could make it through anything! He only needed to clear his throat and ‘hum’ his way tthrough another month and the years would come ‘flying’ past; without denigrating his enthusiasm. The ‘hum’ consoled him through many decades in defecated smelly toilets, a lifetime of menial labour, and condescending snobbish glances. He couldn’t read or even write it, and he would often ‘hum’ it out of tune, but he faced each daily ordeal with his favourite ‘hum’……

An excerpt from …”PRAYING WITH GUSTO” By Moses Gaitara.

Osibisa ~ Sunshine day

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