African parties won’t rock without plenty of meat on the plate

A few weeks ago, I was invited to what the host touted as the ‘party of the year’. This party came with many instructions on what to wear, when to arrive, what to eat and a whole host of requirements. Some requirements were downright ridiculous but we were willing to put up with them all for the sake of a good party. Yet the party turned out to be a horrible anti-climax, which left most guests feeling deflated not elated. It seems there are certain fads going around where we are trying to incorporate some wazungu elements into our events.  The result is not so good, so today I want to share a few words of advice for those who want to have events mambo leo.

Let us start with this dress code manenos - where guest are expected to show up wearing only selected colours - failure to which they are turned away or met with evil glares and stares.

Some hosts and hostesses have told me that uniformity in colour looks good in photographs, but I can tell you it sometimes nearly brings guests to heart attacks. Some hosts need to understand that all the various shades of melanin do not respond the same way to different colours. For example, we know that there are some melanin variations that simply do not work with colours like teal or Magenta.

We also know that all white can be a challenge especially when one has to deal with coloured drinks and stews.

We also know that some innocent colours like baby pink and pearly white only serve to accentuate the sins of our past especially sagging bellies and dimpled cellulite. These dresses are often nothing but torture for well meaning guests who only want to have a good time. In these tough times, it is especially unfair to compel anyone to fret and shop for a particular colour palette.

Inner dsyfunctionalities

My view is that only the host should pander to their inner dsyfunctionalities around colour by sticking to their chosen pallete. They should leave the rest of us to dress as we wish -hatutaki stress.

A most important thing to also remember is that food must never run out no matter the cost or no matter the crowd. Just for clarity purposes, in African context food is meat. You see, you have these new age hosts who imagine that they can use parties in their house to teach ordinary folks about the benefits of healthy eating. Some of them make tonnes of salad and gallons of vegetable stew.

African parties are not forums to make healthy eating converts - they are meant for consumption of copious amounts of food and drink. It is also important to note that great reputations have been destroyed by little details of  ‘food ran out’ a bit like the wedding in Cana situation where water ran out. It is perfectly okay for those ubiquitous melons to run out, but whatever meat must never run out. Let us just say that if you do not have enough meat to feed the masses then do not have the party at all.

The most annoying habit that has evolved of late is that of asking guests to contribute to the party. By this I do not mean the usual expectation that guests bring some gifts of sorts - perhaps their favourite drink, or a set of glasses.

By this, I mean situations where guests are provided with a Paybill or Mpesa number to send a certain (usually set) amount of money towards the party - almost like an entrance fee.

We Africans are generous but we only contribute as and when we want to serious and worthy fundraising opportunities. Throwing a party to help move up the social ladder or to just feel good with yourself is not a charity case - it is an indulgence. So if you cannot foot the bill for your party, then perhaps do not have it all.

Another silly habit I have seen recently is instructions on departure for guests. In the party I recently attended, the host at the start of the event told us to leave their home by 11pm. There is a part of me that sees the logic in this because hosting can be tiring, but there is the African part of me that sees this as a violation of my rights.

If you open yourself to hosting a party (in your own house), then you are pretty much giving your guests a blank cheque. As we know, majority of African guests like to leave as late as possible, in some cases not at all.

To avoid unnecessary stress, do not tell people when to leave - just give them enough booze and food so that their bodies demand that they leave early.

Some final words for modern day hosts; you might be paying for the party, but your success really depends on how happy, drunk or full we get. So stop the ridiculous rules already. -[email protected]

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