“You are sweeter than kuku. You’re the salt in my soup-oo!”
This is the chorus line of one of the popular songs here in Rwanda by a Ugandan duo called Goodlyfe. It reminds me of a song I first heard some years back in Ghana that goes “ you are the sugar in my koko, the butter in my bread”. Another one goes “ cye makuma mu tofi” translating into (albeit not as nicely) “she is my heart’s candy.”
There seem to be a lot of comparisons and metaphors relating women and love to food in African songs. If I were writing a song (which I haven’t done since trying to write a country song when I was nine called ‘I don’t need you’), I wouldn’t think of comparing my beloved to breakfast or an evening meal. However the other day while dancing to “Kuku” at Top Tower with my friends, I started thinking again about how longs it’s been since I’ve eaten chicken in Rwanda. I’ve never seen it at the restaurant I eat at everyday and havne’t had it an anyone’s house. I realized that after not having eaten chicken for over a month now, I’ve started to miss it. A couple people I’ve asked explained that chicken is expensive compared to the plentiful beef.
In the absence of chicken in my Rwandan diet, I’ve begun to develop fond memories in my mind (and on my tastebuds) of the jittery little bird. After some reflection I thought, If I were to try my hand at songwriting again, I just might compare my lover to the sweetness of kuku after all.