“Ihangane”. Have you heard that word today? I certainly have and I bet you have as well in the last couple of days. “Bear with it”, with a shrug added for good measure, are the words that irate customers hear whenever something goes wrong. Honestly I’m sick of it. Whether it’s from a civil servant explaining why a document cannot be found or a businessperson explaining why they can’t deliver something on time, ihangane is a phrase that I believe should be expunged from our lexicon.
Just in the last two days I’ve had two ‘ihangane’ incidents. I am addicted to my Blackberry. It’s more or less my personal home computer, social media tool, telephone and email manager; to call it a luxury in my line of work would be a fallacy of the highest order. So, when I can’t use it I’m lost. Sadly, I’ve been left up a creek without a paddle on too many occasions to count by MTN. I don’t want to kick this telecom company while its down but I’m honestly sick and tired of getting apology SMS’s, especially when I’m paying quite a lot of money for this service. While I can understand that all the technology that’s involved in making and receiving phone calls on mobile phones is man-made and therefore fallible, I demand more for my money’s worth. Instead of sending me an SMS that is telling me to ‘ihangane’, why don’t you give me my money back? If I’m paying for month-long Blackberry services, doesn’t it mean that I should get my money’s worth? Luckily for MTN, we aren’t a litigious society because if we were I’m sure that someone would take them to court for failing their contractual obligations. Ihangane simply isnt good enough for a multinational that prides itself on helping ‘Africa talk’.
On Monday I drove to town to do some shopping but before I could do that I had to pass by an ATM. Ecobank, where I do the majority of my banking, prides itself on the number of ATM’s it has around the country. So much so that it’s main branch smack in the middle of town closes at 6pm, instead of 8pm as before, because their ATM’s can dispense money automatically. There is only one problem; it’s a rarity to find them working simultaneously. In fact, instead of finding at least one working, on Monday afternoon none of the ones downtown worked. Not the ATM at City Plaza, at the ENGEN petrol station near Radio Rwanda or the ones at the Ecobank headquarters. I was frustrated, especially because I couldn’t buy groceries, but I didn’t even bother complaining. Why? Because I had tried to do that but was told, ‘ihangane’.
While I agree that it might seem unfair to use this platform to air my personal grievances just because I can, these two companies certainly aren’t the only ones guilty of selling people short. And expecting them to simply take it and ‘come back later’. However, this is an issue of service delivery, fulfilling obligations and seeking perfections. For this nation of ours to be the country we all dream, we have to stop making excuses… and expecting people to simply accept them when we do. Take some responsibility, do what you say you will and if you can’t have a great reason why. But whatever you do, don’t tell me to ‘ihangane’, especially when I’m paying my hard-earned money. If you want my money, value me.