Unfavorable Terms and Understandings Mainly about the Young
Somewhat more broadly applicable but related to muhuni and closely connected to adabu, there is the characterization mshenzi , uncivilized and uncouth person, mentioned in the general discussion of status in chapter 5. Like the epithet, "Huna adabu" (You have no manners), "mshenzi" is an insult sometimes hurled at an offensive person rather than being only a characterization used in discussion or in describing someone. An mshenzi is a person who lacks the attributes of civilization, utu. It is someone who fails to meet the most immediate expectations in interaction (e.g., by failing to dress properly or speak acceptably). Most often, this trait is attributed to noncommunity members, but some community members who are understood to violate seri-
ously the standards of decent behavior are included. It is generally a young person who is characterized as an mshenzi. Still, an older person is occasionally also referred to in this way if he (I have only rarely heard it used for female community members) is viewed as an egregious violator of direct expectations concerning dress, speech, and interpersonal relations.
An even more serious pejorative used almost exclusively for young people is based on a term, fadhla , used in Old Town but not listed in any of the standard Swahili dictionaries (Krapf 1882; Johnson 1959; Akida et al. 1981). It refers to gratitude and reciprocity between those in junior statuses and those in senior statuses. Although the term is positive, it occurs mainly as an accusation or denunciation by an older person (often a parent or other relative) of a younger and concerns the younger's failure to reciprocate for what the older has done for the younger.
The general importance of fadhla in relations among peers was readily agreed to by informants, but in conversation, I rarely heard people mention or talk about it save in relations between juniors and seniors. Moreover, all of my recorded instances of its occurrence are references to a junior's failure to do what a senior thinks the junior should have done. These failures sometimes refer to specific instances of help not given (e.g., not taking a sick person to the hospital) or consideration not shown (e.g., failure to visit a parent) but can also be quite general, as in failure to live in a way that reflects credit on the parent.
The word is used as a serious denunciation of a junior by a senior: "Huna fadhla! " I am told that a young man can be moved to tears by his father or some other highly respected senior telling him he has no fadhla and that the same is true for young women and their mothers, although the term may be in less frequent use among women. So far as I can establish, the term is not used as an epithet across gender lines.
The general expectation involved in fadhla is a broad and vital one in relations between individuals in statuses with quite different prestige. Unlike adabu, fadhla is not an expectation in all relationships between juniors and seniors. Fadhla refers to expectations of juniors as held by seniors in very close relationships, especially between parents and children but possible in any relationship where the interests of the two are closely identified.