When people have no boundaries and it costs others

It makes you channel your inner Leonard Mambo Mbotela and ask, 'Huu ni ungwana?'

In Summary

• Tea, coffee and snacks meant for conference participants seized on by hotel guests

A pork belly dish
A pork belly dish
Image: FILE

My well-known love for food, which I only discovered well into my teens after having been a picky eater for the first decade of my life, means that I should be the last person to judge others when it comes to food.

An old school friend, now sadly dead, was one of the first outside my immediate family circle to notice and comment on my lust for food. He suggested that if anyone had wanted to finish me off, all they would have to do is lure me with food and then poison me.

(Dear Reader, I must add here that I fully agreed with him and also, before anyone leaps to the wrong conclusion, I had nothing to do with his shuffling off this mortal coil.) 


There are very few things I will flat out refuse to eat, and even then, I might convince myself to try it once at least.

Before I became a fan of food, I learned to eat fast. This was mainly because at the school I attended, we only had an hour’s lunch break, and the quicker you ate, the more time you had left to play or get up to mischief, which sometimes was one and the same thing.

Even as I became the connoisseur of good food that I like to think I am today, I still ate fast and it took many years and serious concentration to force myself to eat slowly. Of course, that came with its problems, as it meant that now at a sitting, I seemed to eat much more.

But this story is not really about me or my way around the dinner table or a buffet. It is actually me channelling my inner Leonard Mambo Mbotela and wondering aloud, or at least on paper, about the ungwana or manners of some people, who seem to be all about the food.

I recently attended a function at a hotel. The event I was at took place in one of two conference rooms that were side by side. At the beginning of our function, it was professional disciplinary hearing. The panel had advised that any tea, coffee and snacks, was for the actual participants, while the observers would have to fend for themselves as they had not been catered for. 

This is when I saw that some people have zero boundaries. The tea and stuff outside the room was laid on and paid for by the people in the conference next door. 

When they came out for their tea break, they found all these strangers digging in and they, who had paid for their food, were now having to go without. 


The members of the public felt nothing. As far as they were concerned, there was food laid out and, as it was a hotel, there must be loads more where that came from, and so it was a free for all.

Not once did they stop to wonder why they were getting free food. As they were mainly adherents of a Christian sect, I suppose they thought it was manna from heaven. Meanwhile, the hotel staff and the conference guests could only look on in horror. 

Je, huu ni ungwana?