But, ” Do you have the time?”


Tram 83 is a novel written by 34 year old- Fiston Mwzanza Mujila. Mujila was born in Lubumbashi a city southeast of Congo. He writes this novel about two characters, Requiem and Luciem. They both live in this dysfunctional City-State and often visit a nightclub called Tram 83.  In Tram 83, we see many activities going on like the following: drinking, sex, music, and prostitution.  

When I first started reading Tram 83, I was very intrigued by Mujila’s style of writing, it wasn’t something I was particularly  used to and that is what interested me. Mujila’s style of writing is very unique, in this novel particularly, Majuila’s uses the style tremolo throughout the novel. Tremolo in this novel, has to do with repetition. This style of writing with repetition creates a soundscape for this Jazz novel. Repetition of phrases and words that give this novel a certain meaning. The phrase that is repeatedly used throughout this novel is, “ Do you have the time?”.


When we hear someone saying, “ Do you have the time?”, we often think of, can you tell me what hour is it? However, after reading and analyzing this novel, the phrase, “ Do you have the time?” is not in fact asking for the hours but, asking for something deeper than so. In the novel, Tram 83, we see sex and prostitution taking place, many of these women often ask the men, “ Do you have the time?” This phrase is actually used as a sexual term. Individuals in this novel, specifically women use the phrase, “ Do you have the time?”, when they are asking men if they want to have sex. On page 9, it states, “ “Do you have the time?” hammered the single mamas, stern and result”. This quote makes it apparent that the women are very persistent with asking men if they have the time to have sex. A reason for this persistence in asking men if they have the time is that the women are prostitutes and that is how they make their money and survive in this City-State.
This phrase repetition gives this jazz novel a rhythm. We can find this phrase being repeated in almost every page. Not only does this phrase repetition add rhythm to the novel but, it creates a certain meaning to the phrase. In Tram 83, the phrase,” Do you have the time”, refers to having the time to engage in sexual acts. This phrase being so persistent throughout the novel, gives the readers a sense of urgency and how these individuals rely on these sexual acts to survive in this City-State.  



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