I am the Treasurer of Elimu Carnival band and I am also the King. I play King for Elimu carnival band. When you have a theme, according to the theme you have individuals plus you have a King and a Queen.
You just enjoy yourself, and make a presentation of yourself according to the theme.
I joined the band in 1983. We were playing mas in T-shirts with another band and we were told you can’t play in T-shirts you have to put on a costume, so a friend took us to the Elimu office in the Harrow Road, and we met Pat-C, and she said have you come to join the band and we said yes, and Pat-C said we are looking for a King, do you mind playing King; my mates look at me and I say I don’t mind, so from that day to this present time I’ve been King of the band.
Carnival has changed quite a lot, because in the early days there wasn’t a set time for you to leave or to finish. You went out and thought lets go down Harrow Road or lets go down great Western Road, you turn left or right where your fancy take you and you just enjoy yourself. Things have changed now. It’s more regulated. We used to finish at midnight or later, but now it’s all closed down at 7 o’clock.
Sometimes the night before your costume isn’t finished, so your hoping to get it finished so the next morning when you come here it’s ready. I go to bed at work wake up I feel energised. So on the day when everything is on you have to try things out on the road, lots of pictures being taken, and at judging point you have to perform.
When I played Midnight Robber it was a very nice costume and everybody said I should have won, but I didn’t I came second. But the following year it was a fantastic costume and I won with that and it was a very nice feeling.
When you put on a costume you become somebody else.
Through out the year every day you’re walking around in a suit or whatever, but this particular day you might be playing a chief or a governor or it could be an animal or anything, you’re different that particular day, and you ‘play mas’ that day, and have a fantastic time, you let yourself go, and that’s ‘playing mas’ having a good time, you’re somebody else from the rest of the year.
On the road you feel free and easy, because on Carnival day the road is yours, and its supposed to be yours so you just have a good time, and the crowd is having a good time and they are encouraging you as well, and you have a few drinks and that helps a lot as well.
I’m 72 and as long as I stay healthy I will carry on. I have only missed carnival on two occasions, once I was on holiday in America and Jamaica, and the other time was two years ago when I was in hospital having a hip replacement.
My costume this year is ‘Broken Dreams, Shattered Glass’ , which is to illustrate the aspirations of black people despite the lack of recognition.
My job as Treasurer is to make sure all the bills get paid, and trying to improve our finances.
Since joining Elimu it’s like a family, because we all get to know each other, young people grow up, have kids, and they keep coming back all the time , they invite you to their wedding or christening, and they also getting married, having children we have seen it happen so many times, we’re all like a family in the band and it’s still going strong.