Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Perspective | Joe Kadenge

Kadenge, Joe. In some Ugandan townships, mention of the word "Kadenge" evokes gory images of the black, infamous police patrol pickups. Very few know that the Japanese automobile derives its "surname" from one once famous (and now retired) Kenyan footballer.

He was a feared striker for AFC Leopards (Abaluhya Football Club) and the Kenyan national team, terrorizing defences and scoring lots of goals. Kadenge particularly tortured Uganda in the 1958 Gossage (now CECAFA) cup, a game that saw Harambe Stars emerge 2-0 victors.

His goal-scoring exploits saw some baby boys born around or a few years after his retirement (1970) named after him. Unofficially, Kadenge had become an East African name.

As if to emphasize how dreaded those police pickups were, some creative Ugandans nicknamed them Kadenge, perhaps likening them to the terror Kadenge imposed on defenders of opposing teams.

Now senile and frail at 82, he is currently in the English city of Manchester for the 60th commemoration of the 1958 Munich plane crash that saw as many as eight Manchester United footballers perish (he is a Manchester United fan).

If you live in Manchester and you happen to know where Sir Alex Ferguson stays, please look for this (our) Kenyan broda and help him meet his idol. He'd like to do this before he returns to Nairobi.

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