Bwana Sasa Hivi of Marsabit

Jaldessa Diko, the Boran station Mnyapara (foreman) during my service with the Provincial Administration in Marsabit in the early 1950s earned his nickname of “Sasa Hivi” meaning right now. Jaldessa was out to please everyone, and if ever I told him that I required something done urgently, his invariable reply would be “Ndiyo Bwana, Sasa Hivi! (Yes Sir, just now!) Whenever I wanted some work done to my government quarters or garden, Jaldessa would take care of it sasa hivi,  often by removing several labourers from a previously allocated job, and sending them to my house. I didn’t realise at the time that Jaldessa  had upset the wives of several of my colleagues from the Police department by his prompt action.  Only when my wife told me that Mrs “X” had complained that work on their house was only half-done, did I see what an awkward situation Jaldessa had created by  his sasa hivi promises! Fortunately, with a bit of diplomacy, I resolved the problem. Jaldessa wasn’t always popular with the station labour either. I often heard murmurings after he’d changed their programme at very short notice. Jaldessa had a colourful and commanding personality, and like him or loathe him, he will always remain, for my wife and myself at least, the unforgettable “Bwana Sasa hivi.”

Mervyn Maciel, Sutton, Surrey (U.K.)