On Sundays in Dar es Salaam there is a large church group who jog, military style, for exercise. In early morning the back streets are quiet, but the main roads are not. The group run and chant the song Mambo Bado. (Our work is not finished.) They slap their feet to the ground like a bass drum, their voices sing in Gospel unison and their clapping hands add rhythm to the run. Mambo bado, moto, moto, moto; Mambo Bado, clap, clap, clap, Mambo Bado, moto moto moto, the song goes on. The group are about twenty people across and stretch back thirty or forty yards. This square of song takes up more than half the road. The leader carries a small red flag to warn traffic of their presence. Mambo Bado, around one corner, Mambo Bado, up a hill. They have presence; they have faith; they have numbers but, they seem to have little respect for physics! As they chant and jog around a blind corner onto a main road, an unseen lorry hurtles downhill towards them. The leader frantically waves his red flag, like a football linesman, to alert the driver of this speeding missile. As tons of metal and steel descend on the flesh and bone of the group they are defiant… they have a run to complete, they are many, the lorry is alone. They jog on, Mambo Bado, they do not break ranks, Mambo Bado, there is a screech of tyres. The truck skids and turns sideways, nearly rolling over. Mambo Bado clap, clap, clap. The group sing louder but in truth they are saved by the miracle of modern disk brakes. They break ranks only to run around the stationary truck. A few interrupt their song to shout abuse at the driver, before continuing. Mambo Bado clap, clap, clap.
by George McBean, January 2010