The viral catchphrase is the brainchild of elderly Tanzanian comedian Umar Iahbedi Issa alias Mzee Mjegeje who, in the original video, can be seen talking into a cheap phone yelling repeatedly, “Kata simu kata simu tupo site we don’t like disturbance of the head you understand. ”
The hilarious one-liner has even made its way into the Kenyan political discourse and was famously used at eccentric Roots Party Leader Prof. George Wajackoya’s manifesto launch event.
From Twitter to the Kariobangi trenches, Tiktok to the Ongata Rongai backwaters, this phrase has evolved into a whole jargon with its down defined meanings and applications.
When you say “Kata Simu, Kata Simu, Tupo Site…” You’re definitely talking about a couple things. Or situations.
Here are FOUR instances Kenyans are applying this phrase in real-life situations.
AT THE PARTY
It’s 8.45pm. The party is going off the hinges. Your gang has already downed at least seven bottles of the ritziest gin on the counter. You’re buried under a cloud of shisha smoke. Girls, dressed in tiny, sequined skirts, are crammed up across the seats, pouting on Instagram.
The DJ has turned the place into something of a riot in Ibiza. Three kilograms of nyama choma have been splashed across the table. Burna Boy’s “Last Last” is playing on rotation. And someone just ordered Jagermeister shots for everyone.
And then your boy calls from out of the blue, wondering where’s the crew at and can he pull up. And that’s when you go, “Kata sim, kata sim, tupo site, we don’t like disturbance of the mind”.
IN POLICE CUSTODY
You’re driving down Kiambu Road. Obviously, you and your boys have had a little too much and can’t clearly tell when you’re obeying traffic laws and when you’re driving like frenzied cabbies in Bangladesh.
You’re suddenly pulled over and the whole lot of you are hauled into the police van which quickly transports you to the nearest police station. You’re all worried sick. Half of you are broke. One of your boys is yelling the station down and the other one is threatening to have the OCS transferred first thing in the morning. Clearly, you’ve bitten more than you can chew and things have gotten irredeemably ugly.
And then that’s when you remember to call your other set of boys whom you left in the club. Those ones are wealthier, can drive better and don’t cause scenes at the OB desk. You tell them where you’re locked up and sit there hoping they’re coming to the rescue.
45 minutes later, they’ve not arrived. And then you request the cop at the desk to allow you to call your people again. The call goes through. Your boys have pulled at the Station’s parking lot. And guess what they say? You’re welcome.
GIRLS (BOYS?) NIGHT OUT
Your girl is out with her girlfriends and they’re having a blast chopping it up, drowning shots, hollering at the DJ and tearing it up on the dance floor. At some point, your girl is bored and inebriated, which means she’s randy and has started to miss you.
At this point, she calls you surreptitiously and asks you to pull up at the party – and specifically requests that you bring your boys along. “Are your girls okay with that,?” You ask.
Your girl assures you that her girls are perfectly okay with you pulling up with your gang of boys and she, in fact, puts you on loudspeaker and you can hear them in the background yelling themselves hoarse begging you to bring your boys over. You immediately call your gang, comprised of the thirstiest blokes on Earth and sell them the idea.
They’re game. Within minutes, you’re already driving into the party as your boys, starry-eyed, are peeking from the windows, excited for a wild night out. At this point, your girl is calling incessantly asking, “Mmefika wapi Babe” and that’s the point you yell out the classic one-liner “Kata simu, kata simu, Tupo Site Babyyyy”
IN YOUR TOWN
It’s a sunny Saturday and you and your boys have rendezvoused at Nakuru after a whirlwind one and a half hour drive from Nairobi. All’s going well. Everyone’s cradling a can of cold beer, rocking simple sandals and have a nubile girl hanging by their arm. Before leaving Nairobi, you had called Kamau.
Or Bad Man Kamaa as he calls himself on Instagram. You had briefed Kamau, who lives in Nakuru, that you will be coming over this Saturday and that you will definitely hit him up once you get to town. You had promised Kamaa that you’ll be in Naks by around 11.30am.
It’s now 2pm and Kamaa is understandably impatient. I mean, he’s been calling you the entire time and you’ve been telling him, “twenty minutes, twenty minutes Bro, tutakuwa hapo”. Exasperated, Kamaa decides to make that final call. But you’ve just entered town. Kamaa is going, “Honestly, ni saa nane already! Aaiiii kwani mko wapi!??” And that’s when your group leader, choking on a picante hotdog, growls, “Kata simu, kata simu boss…. Tupo site! Uko!??”
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