Kla Lingo (Part 1)

Every community has got a code of conduct, set of unwritten rules and general way of life that guides and directs its dwellers. When visitors come to this community they are initially clueless about the way of life, until they receive orientation. Sometimes the orientation is brutal, other times it is very wonderfully presented.

One of the crucial parts of the orientation will include learning a few words and phrases that will help them survive being hacked to death for failing to figure out a thing or two in the local dialect. There are several words and phrases that one has got to learn when they visit Kampala. It is almost impossible to keep up but somehow one has got to think on their feet; you’ve got to touch down running.

For the next 3 weeks I shall be exploring a few of the words and phrases that one will most likely encounter when they are having conversation with an average middle class Kampala City dweller. Strap yourselves in and let us dive into the first of three parts of our exploration of the Kampala lingo.

Part 1 (A – H)

A – Another Rap

Uganda is one of the few countries to be blessed with a President who is not only a Vision bearer, cattle keeper, army man and problem solver; Citizen 001 is also a Rapper with profound skill and proficiency in the art of spitting rhymes. He may not have dropped an album or mixtape (yet) but rumour has it that he has made more sales from releasing one song than many people have made in 16 years of being upcoming artists. The demand for the Citizen 001 to release ‘another rap’ have prompted folks to coin this very brilliant two worded expression to infer that the big man is not yet done with his Rap Vision.

MUSEVENI

Mess Not with the Rap Qlik

Other A words / phrases – Aganaga, Amawulire ku TV, Amuru District, Ankole Cows, Akandwanaho Caleb, Amasiro

B – Bonna

Bonna is a Luganda word for ‘All of them’. This word, when added to several other words creates a situation of general happiness. Bonna Balye, Bonna Bagagawale, Bonna Bawangule, Bonna Banywe … these are all terms that are used to pull and pool people together for more comprehensive benefits. Naturally, the negative implications here would mean that phrases like Bonna Baffe, Bonna Baavuwale or Bonna Bagwe cannot be ignored. If Isaac Newton’s third law is anything to go by, for any action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Eatage

Bonna Balye

Other B Words / Phrases – Bebe Cool, Bagishu, Beera Feya, Binsangawano, Bungoma, Banyarwanda, Bulaaya

C – Colgate

There are several brands of toothpaste in the market today. However, for reasons yet to be discovered, a good chunk of Ugandans will refer to every brand of toothpaste as Colgate. Now, while this may create confusion for a visitor, the strange thing is that Ugandans understand what exactly they are referring to even without mentioning it specifically. For instance one will say ‘I’d like the Blue Colgate’. The attendant on the other end will not even think twice or blink; they will know which exact brand the person wants. Pure telepathy!

People at the gym

They are all the same!

Other C Words / Phrases – Cassava, Cranes yatusala, Chips, Chicken and Chaps, Chameleon, China phone.

D – Desirable

Now for those who are on social media, the word ‘Desire’ is not as desirable as it originally was (pun intended). Thanks to a certain singer / socialite / sexy goddess, the word now means something entirely different. With just one pose, the sexy goddess created a new word altogether. Today, when someone says a lady is desirable, it is likely he has already undressed her, made her flash the v sign between her legs with one hand, cover one of her boobs with the other arm and smile sheepishly at the camera. Most of this happens in the mind and is termed as ‘the Desire Pose’.

burning-desire

Other D Words – Dembe, Drake Sekkeba, Damaged goods, Dryness,

E – Emaali

Emaali is referenced from one of the local dialects in Uganda. It is a word in Ateso that refers to ‘money’ or ‘property’. A profound local band (Afrigo Band) once performed a song in which they sang about ‘Ayawun Emaali Ore’ which is translation for ‘bringing money home’. This song has gone on to become a traditional club banger as well as a nice way to start off a conversation with anyone from that side of the country. It is also probably one of the finest songs ever produced by a band in Uganda. It is also one of the only five or six words of Ateso that people who aren’t from Teso know.

Other E Words – Eshabwe, Etofali, Epolon, Electricity thieves, Empako yawe, Emergency Door

F – Ffene

Probably one of the tastiest fruits on the planet. Most people around the world call it Jackfruit but in Kampala you will most likely be understood faster if you called it Ffene. This fruit is sold in various forms. Some people sell it as a whole, the way it comes off the tree, others split it and sell it in smaller bits while others go further to remove the seeds and sell it ready to consume. It has several health benefits including bettering your sense of humour. This is why half the people in Kampala are hilarious.

Jackfruit

Other F Words / Phrases – Filimu ya Massai, Fina, Ffe mwe mwe ffe, Father Musaala, Family Planning.

G – Gavumenti Etuyambe

Ugandans have in the recent past attempted to attract the attention of the Government on a number of issues. These issues have stretched from big and serious like the economy and health to minor and small like bad breath and unfunny comedians. Basically whenever a Ugandan feels disgruntled in any way, there will be a silent (or very loud) cry of ‘Gavumenti Etuyambe’. Naturally the Gavumenti has been hesitant to involve itself in some of these cries because many of them are really trivial, nonsensical and plain ridiculous. However, the cry is simply a sign of bigger problems – the people think their Gavumenti should start actually kuyambaring (helping) it’s people.

Gavumenti

Other G Words / Phrases – Global Fund, Gulu, Gyobera gyembera, Gombe, Gunyuma kiro, Generals.

H – Halo

98% of telephone conversations in this beautiful city will start off with the word ‘Halo’. People in other parts of the world will probably say ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’ or anything else. In Uganda, it seems like on purchasing a mobile phone, the first agreement one has got to make is that they will answer each and every phone call with the word ‘Halo’. The courtesy that Ugandans have is so profound that even if someone was calling to insult or abuse you, they will start off by saying ‘Halo’. Very well behaved people.

Other H Words / Phrases – Hajjat / Hajji, Honourable, House party, House warming, Hot Katogo.

Next week we shall have Part 2 (of 3) of the Kla lingo. Until then, keep it together and please do not be a victim of language barrier in Kampala.

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

The Bbale Francis TV time-machine

Throughout my entire childhood, there are several people whose careers and persona had a great deal of impact in my life. Among all these, four individuals stand out as the constant reminders that I will forever miss the days when I was younger.

First was the pope because he came to Ugandan in the 90s and my parents seemed to worship the very ground he walked on. I adored everything they adored – the pope was one of them. We were dragged to church every single Sunday because Catholic parents were not about to let their children grow into religious weeds when there was a wall hanging of Pope John Paul II in the house.

The second person who made my childhood one heck of a wonderful experience was John James Rambo. The Lone Wolf was a great part of my childhood because he inspired some of the recklessness and adventure that my childhood was littered with. He single handedly made me want to grow big muscles, join the army and battle with insurgents while smeared in mud and sweat. I have not grown big muscles and I am not (yet) enrolled in the army but a good chunk of my childhood was focused on doing exactly that.

The third person whose life somewhat defined mine was French actor and former Manchester United captain Eric Cantona. The Frenchman was part of the reason I started supporting Manchester United in the early 90s. With his upturned collar, interesting goal celebrations and eccentricity on and off the pitch, this guy was my role model. In 1993 he helped Manchester United win the inaugural Premier League title by a sweet 10 points, making it the first time since 1967 that United was winning the English top division title.

The fourth person who made my childhood sparkle was renowned Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) newscaster Bbale Francis who unfortunately passed away on the morning of Thursday 2nd April at Mulago Cancer Institute after battling with cancer for quite a while. The veteran journalist can best be described as one of the most outstanding voices and faces of the Ugandan news scene for the past three decades or so. With perfect English, a unique accent, wonderful intonation and unmatched composure in front of the screen and microphone, Bbale Francis curved out a personality as the custodian of news in Uganda.

bbaleRest In Peace Bbale Francis (September 25, 1954 – April 2, 2015)

He may have passed away, just as so many wonderful things from the 80s and 90s are no more but Bbale Francis represents a part of my life that I will always hold dear. He alone made sure that certain things remain etched in my mind. Whenever I remember him, I remember them; and whenever I remember them, I remember him.

The Black and White TV

While owning a TV in the early 90s was a reserve of not-so-many households, owning a colour TV set was the real mark of a successful family. In the mid 80s my dad purchased a large wooden-framed Black and White Phillips TV with the a rather hard knob for a tuner. For nearly a decade, this was the altar at which we worshiped the TV stars of the late 80s and early 90s. This was the prized possession on which we watched Pingu, Mr. Bean, Rambo on UTV and of course the Ten o’clock news with Bbale Francis. This was the magic box that introduced us to MCM Africa, Sanyu TV, CTV and Lighthouse TV. When we later acquired a colour TV set, there was a bit of daily excitement in the house as we would often place bets on which shirt, tie or coat colour Bbale Francis would wear for the news broadcast that night. The colour TV made us realise that Rambo actually wore green army pants and not grey – as suggested by the good old Phillips. The colour TV also brought with it several interesting things like the VHS player and the Terminator Video game which were game changers not just at home but also at school where we exchanged stores about what we owned in our homes.philips_20inch_b&W_television_ian_edgarThe glorious vintage 20 inch Black and White Philips TV

The ‘No-Tv’ rule

Every family has had to have the no-TV rule at certain times for the good of the young folk and students of the family. In my family, there was a rule – all children went to bed immediately after the 10 O’clock news, save for Sunday when we stayed up until after the news to watch the beloved ‘That’s Life Mwattu’. On Sunday, the TV was locked up until 2.30pm when it was time for Zoom Club on Sanyu TV. Basically, there was an unwritten timetable for TV viewing. On some unfortunate Sundays, our dad would have the TV taken to his bedroom from whence he would exclusively enjoy watching the TV with his wife while their children gathered in a collection of green eyed little jealous fellas a few bedrooms away. Such sadness! On such Sundays, we would gather in the children’s bedroom and direct our anger at the next school day; we’d complain about school, come up with nicknames for teachers and basically plan to ruin everyone else’s Monday. We would then quietly and sadly slide into our beds, fully aware that we would only have to learn of what happened between Nakawunde, Dick and Dr. Bbosa from narration at school. A narration by a useless and boastful child from a TV-owning family can be a pain. Instead of telling you what Mr. Lindo did, he would venture into explaining how a TV remote works and how it was the coolest thing after the then popular game boys. We really suffered!

no-tv-480

Oh the harsh house rules!

The News! Eh! 

From when I was little, my parents used to ‘force’ us to watch the news. We would then unwillingly drink in all the news and unconsciously stay in the know of things that were happening around the world, without even wanting to. We obviously preferred more interesting things like re-watching Jungle Book, Lion King and Commando as well as watch the final program on TV before UTV shut down. Yes; once upon a time UTV aired between 5pm and midnight. After that, the National Anthem played and there was nothing! News was a boring prospect but somehow we had to deal with it if we wanted to be in good books with the old man. Along the way, we began to unconsciously get used to it and so whenever Bbale Francis’ voice bounced off the TV and echoed around the living room, we were ready to see what new things the president had gotten up to and which district was launching a new Farmers’ program or which Ministry had held a press conference to announce a new Government project. It was fun, it its own way. The change over form Black and white viewing to full colour viewing did little to change the nonchalance at bulletin time but it gave a little more colour to the whole thing.

Francis BBbale Francis in jovial mood in an ad by a Telecom Company

For a person with a TV and Radio news career that stretched well over two decades, there is nothing that can be done to replace him. The one thing however that puts a smile on one’s face is that while Bbale Francis as a person may not be with us, his legacy still lives on. It lives on through the numerous young people he trained, taught, mentored and inspired to get infront of the camera and the microphone to read us the news.

Bbale Francis was for many years tasked with reading out names of people who the country looked at as heroes on National TV but I would like to confidently say that Bbale Francis is another of them; the heroes. He may not have wielded a gun, owned several millions in cash or commanded a celebrity like following but Bbale Francis was and is a hero to the bone!

Until we meet again Bbale Francis. Fare thee well comrade.

We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too. – Helen Hayes

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

A fading pearl

When I was in my A’ Level, my literature teacher once took us through a strange lesson where he asked us to describe the country that we all know is Uganda. The exercise involved us describing Uganda as a human being, animal, inanimate object, celestial being or whatever our imagination conjured. After aggregating all our descriptions, it became apparent that we had discovered what Uganda looked like.

Uganda was described as a gorgeous female goddess with curvy posterior, full breasts, short hair, long searching legs and large round shy eyes. She’d look at you and instantly look away; afraid to pierce into your soul with her gaze. She was kind but stern, warm, charming and very friendly. She wore the simplest outfits but always looked the finest in the lot. Her singing was described as angelic and she had a well constructed form of speech.

african_girl_by_otunga-d4lx3st

African girl by Otunga

Sadly, over time, this woman has lost many of these attributes. Her breasts seem to have ‘fallen’into a sag and for her age there seem to be a few more wrinkles than expected. Her legs are still as long but she is not so keen to show them anymore, they carry a little too many scars from the various times she’s tripped and fallen. Her posterior has since turned from her greatest asset to her worst liability because the doctors say she needs to have it reduced; it’s too big for her frail body. Her eyes are more sunken than ever and her originally full lips are shrinking. Her hairline is strangely receding and she’s increasingly becoming agitated, distressed and moody.

With all this outward transformation going on, Uganda still has an inner beauty and splendour because goddesses never lose that.

Bringing the point home

Over the past few years, Uganda has burned hot and cold in her attempt to impress not just her own kinfolk but the entire world. For every good deed she registers, she seems to silently suffer a dozen setbacks. Without necessarily breaking down the insufficiencies that we as a nation are grappling with, any sane human being will admit that we are nowhere near we ought to be a country.

Not in the education sector, not in the health sector and certainly not in the transport sector. The tourism area isn’t any place we can say we have scored many points and neither can we claim to have a sizeable trophy cabinet in the sports department. Our economy is barely anything to write home about and our security, well, that is simply not anything to boast about.

Basically we are doomed, right?

Not quite. Strangely, with all these troubles eating at us from every direction, we continue to soldier on, mostly because the only other alternative is disappearing into oblivion – something I am sure we are not too keen to embrace. While all these unfortunate things happening around us, there are instances that put a smile on anyone’s face; a selfless and charitable act by a couple of youths here, a whistle blower shaming corrupt people there, a seemingly pointless sports victory in Nigeria, a growing telecommunication industry the other side – basically, our story is not all doom.

Lake Bunyonyi

We still have our natural appeal (www.roughguides.com)

Sadly, every day that passes, noble and well intentioned Ugandans lose their lives in circumstances that leave one wondering whether we are truly looking after each other well. Contrary to the insecurity song everyone might be singing right now, I would like to think that the recent wave of events (crimes) that occurred are a reflection of the kind of society we have become.

Breaking it down

Phionah Atukiriza, a resident of Bunamwaya in Wakiso District was on Monday night attacked by armed men who opened fire after she had tried to hold onto the bag they wanted to snatch from her. Phionah currently lies in Lubaga Hospital, bed-ridden and unable to carry on with her usual life anymore.

On the same day, Joan Kagezi, the top Ugandan state prosecutor in the trial of suspects of the 2010 Kampala suicide bombing which killed 76 people, was shot and killed a few meters from my doorstep in Kiwatule, a Kampala Suburb. She was with her family in the car.

A few hours later, gunmen showed up outside the residence of a wealthy businessman Steven Yiga somewhere in Mbuubi Zone, Lungujja, Lubaga municipality in Kampala. After a bout of heavy gunfire, three bodies were found in a pool of blood.

Without even being alarmist, any sane person will right away ask the question, “What the hell is going on?” And while it may be unfair to expect answers right away, seeing as investigations are going on with the different incidences, no one can claim to be unbothered by what is happening.

I am no security expert and I cannot begin to advance any theory to explain these events but I know enough to conclude that the gorgeous belle Uganda is twisting and writhing in untold pain – the Pearl of Africa is fading. She is becoming frail by the hour and her ability to hit high notes is waning.

Something ought to be done.

The tough questions

It is high time we as Ugandans started asking the vital questions about not just the security of our country but our entire well being as a nation.

Gone are the days when assailants carried sticks, toy guns or pangas. Nowadays they move around with guns. – Where are people getting all these guns?

People no longer steal and make away with only property, they want to take people’s lives as well.- Is this a reflection of what our society has become? Heartless, unbothered by murder and generally ready to end a life without much thought?

So many robberies (both armed and otherwise) are taking place in several neighbourhoods. – Have resources become so scarce, so much that we have taken it upon ourselves to enforce the ‘survival for the fittest’ theory?

Whenever a high profile murder occurs, we beef up security.- Do we always have to get hit first before we can be security conscious in our homes, workplaces and everywhere else?

ak-47.si

Where are all the guns coming from?

There are several questions that we ought to ask ourselves but the most important question of all is – are we going to simply look on as Uganda loses her ability to turn heads with her poise, glamour and beauty?

I’ll tell you what I’d like.

I’d like for this former beauty queen to regain her form, retake her position at the helm, reignite her passion for glamour and re-emerge as the Pearl of Africa that she truly is.

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. – Frederick Douglass

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

Heat thesis

Over the past couple of weeks, Kampala has witnessed unprecedented temperature levels that have had people curve out all sorts of theories to explain the burning phenomenon. While some have insisted that the Lord is punishing us for our wickedness, others have alleged that the Government has had a hand in the heat wave. Some others have gone as far as asserting that certain women hold the key to unlocking the rains.

It’s been so hot a number of people have become several shades darker while others cannot risk taking their children out into the sun lest they get roasted and fried by the unrelenting sunshine. Two or three ‘summers’ have suffered what I have come to learn is a ‘heat stroke’ – a condition I previously thought Africans were immune to. It is currently so dry that I believe the Rive Nile will probably start cutting down it’s flow to just once or twice a week.

DogIt is just so hot right now!

Everything in this world happens because of one reason or another.

I therefore present my reasoning behind this ridiculously hot weather that has had one of my neighbours continously go to bed naked and leave her windows wide open, the weather that will soon have cows giving powdered milk.

I offer my theories for the current heat wave.

The Govcontrol Theory

I have always maintained the notion that nothing in this country happens unless it has been given a go-ahead by the Government. The Government decides when it will be morning and when it will be noon-time. If the Government wanted, it could easily flip the calendar to have 65 days and not the traditional 30 or 31 days. The Government can even alter the course of event so much that day-time does not precede night-time but rather some other condition altogether.

The Government is therefore solely responsible for this horrible weather.

While people are getting darker and darker by the minute, the Government secretly looking on with a big fat smile. There are reports that at some point, when everyone has turned as black as coal, then the Government will offer us all some kind subsidized redemption. It is likely that companies that deal in cold drinks, bleaching creams, light clothing, fans, air conditioners and water melon are currently reaping big and paying a good chunk to the Government. So until the Government has eaten enough from these companies, we may as well brace ourselves for an extended dry and extremely hot spell.

Govert comic

The Dryfem Theory

If you have been in Kampala for the past two or three months, ‘dryness’ is something you will think about on two levels. First, there is the dryness all around us; the one where you step out of your house and suddenly feel like the blood in your veins is boiling; the one where you sleep naked fully aware that the mosquitoes will not bother you because they can not take the heat; the one where you get home, open your fridge and have a near orgasm because the cold air that gushes out feels like heaven. Then there is the other dryness – the one that Zari became a household name for; the one Father Lokodo should campaign against instead of wasting time and resources on 50 Shades of Grey, the one that prompts females to visit bushes, plantations and caves in seach of remedies.

Both are upon us as we speak.

The gods are not happy that many of our females are as dry as a dead dingo’s donger.

Father Lokodo has it within his power to bring an end to both dryness levels because I believe one begets the other but the gods will not tell us just yet. While we are busy cursing the gods of weather and calling them names for sending us this heat wave, we are forgetting that they are only following suit. It is dry outside because it is dry inside. Deal with one and the other shall automatically fall in line.

water artWhat a glorious umbrella to be under … 

The Economic Theory

Another (very legitimate) school of thought has it that this dry weather is the making of the economic decision makers of this Godforsaken country. These people have opted to spend countless hours doing nothing for their country and earning chunks of money for it. They have driven the economy too deep into the ground even the ground is now complaining; we’ve gone in too deep. They have done this so much that the weather and the dollar rate have decided to rebel.

I know what you are about to ask and the answer is Yes – the dry weather is a sibling to the dollar rate.

You see, a long time ago, the weather and the dollar rate were close siblings. This was until their father, the economy, decided to give birth to a stubborn brother; corruption. When corruption entered the equation, the family became unstable. Dollar rate developed a wobbly movement pattern and the weather was simply bigheaded. Each of them wanted to be the bigger brother. Until recently, they have each taken turns to run affairs in the family. As we speak today, they are jointly screwing us over while their father, the economy just looks on with a huge smile because his sons are running affairs. It is likely we shall be spitting cotton and many swimming pools will close off one or two lanes for a while – the dry spell will stop when the economy sorts issues out.

TruthThe heatwave has gotten a bit too serious

The Beewol Theory

There is no theory here. I just felt like having my name added to the list of theories would be a fair attempt at getting back at my High School teachers. You see, these guys shoved countless theories named after so many people in our faces we ended up losing track. Today, I too shall curve out a theory named after myself.

The Beewol theory states …

“The cause of the heat in Kampala is the high temperatures … the reverse is also true”

Suck on that you High School teachers with fancy incoherent theories.

US heatwave, MarylandWhat we wouldn’t give for this! 

Totally unrelated … okay slightly related

News reached my desk that the recent dryness in Kampala was sponsored by National Water and Sewerage Corporation. I am still investigating these claims but it is likely that this rumour was started by a competitor of NWSC. None comes to mind at the moment but like I said, I am still investigating all these claims. Some other people have suggested that the heat wave is sponsored by Government opposition but I am treating this too as just hearsay. After all, I don’t think the opposition has it in them to control the weather. Hope they are learning lessons from the NRM Government.

I shall now take my leave before this (now warm) beer starts boiling.

“Even when natural weather is good, human weather is bad.” ― Yasunari Kawabata

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

Lentism

If you open the pages of any legitimate version of an English Dictionary, it is unlikely that you will find the word ‘lentism’. In fact, even if you typed the word ‘Lentism’ into Google and hit the ‘search’ button, it will humbly ask whether you meant leninism, kantism, lookism or lentils. Ignore both avenues; we are creating the word right here right now.

Allow me explain to you how and why this word is going to be introduced into our vocabulary.

But what is lent anyway?

Let us take it from the top then, shall we?

A good chunk of Christian churches are currently marking what is known as ‘lent’. According to wikipedia Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday. Still, according to Wikipedia, the traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.

Onto the Lentism

Now that we have fair understanding of what lent is, we can now graduate to the gist of this Blog Post. What the hell is lentism?

Lentism is the practice of curving out some kind of association with the 40-day Christian period of fasting with the intention of convincing oneself and all those around one that the association makes one a better person, a finer Christian and it brings one closer to right hand of the God.

Now before any Christian can start hurling stones at me and calling for my head on a platter, I shall proceed to turn on the switch on a few more floodlights.

You see, for the period I have been a Christian (which happens to be my entire life so far) I have learnt a few things about this wonderful faith of mine. One of the more prominent lessons I have learnt is that when it comes to fasting, fewer people are willing to do it in silence – the vast majority want to be seen and heard to be fasting. Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstinence or reduction from certain or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. And this somewhat makes me wonder why people have to walk around with placards on their faces saying ‘Look here, I fasted.’

We are too loud 

For starters, if you have to tell everyone that you are fasting, then maybe you need to re-think your reasosn for fasting. You may as well go out of your way and wear a t-shirt with the words “Fasting to Impress” so we know you are serious. And while still on the subject of fasting, if I call you up to go hang out with me and you say your reason for not hanging with me is because you are fasting, then I think you are missing the point. A number of holy books will explain that if you are fasting, wash your face, look decent and smile at those around you. There is no need to go around drumming up attention to the fact that you are going a few hours without a drink. Unless I ask for a reason, I see no need to volunteer one.

We are just pathetic

It’s already been mentioned elsewhere but I will mention it nonetheless; fasting is no excuse to leave your house looking like a thug and smelling like a he-goat. Take a shower, wash your face, spray some deodorant and look as decent as you would if you were heading for a six-course meal. Just because you are fasting does not mean you should look starved, emaciated and dejected. Wear a smile. After all, the fasting (from what I gather) is between you and your God. True, the people around you will give you the re-assurance that you are not in the fast alone but at the end of the day you must remember that some human beings are as interested in your fasting details as the President is in the plight of Single men who have failed to get married.

The Hypocrites

I have tried as much as possible to stay away from Lentism because I get the feeling the Lord will punish me rather harshly if I pretend. Some people do not give a rat’s ass. I do know a number of people who have curved out personalities from being known as folks who fast religiously yet they indulge in the most evil of things. Some of these people claim to be fasting from morning to evening but somewhere along the way they indulge in the most unhealthy of foods while doing the strangest things known to man – all because no one is watching them. The trouble with these people is that they have the assumption that as long as the people around you see you fasting, you are good to go.

As much as I am not the most ideal Christian to look at in terms of faith, I will most likely fast when I am serious about it. Unless there is reason for someone to fast, they should never just get into the act of fasting. Also, if you are going to fast because you want to impress a certain lady somewhere, remind yourself of certatin truths about humanity. We often lead lives we do not appreciate just to impress people we barely even know.

So while we take time to map out the possibility of staying alive through this lent season, let us attempt to stay away from Lentism. There is a chance that a few of us shall actually lose the plot and go all out being radical and all but at the back of our minds we should never forget the true essence of fasting which is going absolutely hungry to the point that you hate anyone who says anything about food or eating for that matter.

Other things too

Oh by the way, is staying away from sex regarded fasting? If Yes, then a few people are going to have to repent extensively and repeatitively. If No, then a few others have been lying to themselves quite a lot. Once again, I cannot and will not claim to be an expert at fasting but I will say that maybe the Good Lord should make things a little clearer for us. Is fasting just about not eating your favourite foods or is it about completely staying away from anything edible? A little more clarity on the issue.

One last thing – we are several days into the fasting period; can we get some kind of down payment on the rewards? Some of us may not last the entire period.

“Religious fasting is the best way to cure an anorexic’s spirit: in heaven her condition will be normal.”
― Bauvard, Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

 I am disappointed in my Country

If you have been to any court of law in Uganda you know by now that even before you open your mouth to defend or attack someone you need to have some kind of substantial backing. The backing is often in the form of well put-together evidence, an array of witnesses and legitimate citing of support by the constitution – among other things. Ideally when all these elements are brought together and they fit perfectly, one can confidently claim to have a legitimate case.

I am fully aware that the justice system in Uganda has its shortcomings and therefore cannot be looked at as the Oracle. However, I have learnt over time that institutions only work if we believe in them – and if we let them carry out their processes with legitimacy, decency and fairness. Recently, I learnt that as much as the justice system is designed or intended to offer justice, a good number of people have actually suffered because of this same justice system and those who work with and in it.

The issue of minorities is an issue that will forever create debate because as long as the human race exists, there will always be minorities in terms of race, age, sex, faith, orientation, physical build and ideology. The manner in which the justice system handles these “minorities” is one that I have come to learn is unfair, extremely prejudiced and abnormally inhumane.

On Friday 27th February, I attended a get-together organised by Chapter Four Uganda under the theme “Justice4All”. The focus of this get-together was to launch a report titled “The Abuse of the Rights of Sexual Minorities in Uganda’s Criminal Justice System”. Now while it may seem like justice is an ideal that many if not most people deserve and rightly should have access to, there are actually a good number of people who have had no sniff of the scent of justice.

A harrowing tale of certain sexual minorities being ‘physically probed’ and constantly dehumanized because the law does not recognise them as ‘legitimate human beings’ almost made me lose my mind. It is one thing to attempt to understand why someone is different from you. It is an entirely different thing when you try so hard to make someone who does not subscribe to your school of thought look like the enemy. On Friday I listened to stories of Ugandans living in fear simply because of the worry that any moment, they might be victims of a justice process that has adjudged them to be guilty in a war started by, and fought solely by nature.

I was shocked that some Ugandans are treated like they do not belong to this country; they are looked at as evil, nefarious, monstrous and extremely repulsive creatures with little or no semblance to proper human beings.

This infuriates me.

I do not condone acts that are against the constitution and I am in no way a campaigner for immorality or wickedness for that matter. However, I am also not a campaigner of inhumanity, barbaric and fiendish behaviour towards certain people simply because they are not like us.

HoraceHorace speaks the the truth!

Ugandans are known to be loving and hospitable individuals. We are known world over as people who love without limits, people who are free-spirited and are always willing to make the strangest of visitors feel at home. Why then do we rise up against our own brothers and sisters? Why do we deny justice to the people who share our cradle land, the people who share our last names, people who we have eaten and drank with since childhood? Why do we suddenly distance ourselves from people simply because they do not look like, think like or act like us? Why do we relegate them to the gates of hell simply because they prefer one thing and not the other? If we are not going to look after our own brothers and sisters, who will? A great many quotes have been directed to teaching people to embrace others no matter the difference that may be present. Why do we suddenly abandon these teachings when our brothers and sisters need us the most? As a policeman / woman, lawmaker, medical practitioner, religious leader, trend setter, celebrity, influential person or just plain human being, is it not my responsibility to treat my fellow man like he deserves the same justice that I think I deserve? Why should I turn round and be callous to someone simply because he does not think like or look like me?

Pope PaulI don’t think I would have put it any better

When 66-year-old Bernard Randall was deported for his involvement in Gay activities, one would have imagined that as a foreigner, Randall probably had it coming. One might also argue that as a foreigner, deportation was as decent an action as could be accorded to him for what the constitution deemed illegal or criminal for that matter. And Randall had / has the backing of his Government, several Civil Rights activists, the International community as well as a bunch of countless Western organisations and individuals.

What about our brothers and sisters who may not have the luxury of an army of supporters or sympathisers? What about our friends who have silently suffered life-long confusion about who they truly are? What about those who have grown up in a society that says any attitudes that are different from the norm are acts of the devil? And what about our sons and daughters, who secretly engage in the most devilish acts but will pretend their whole lives simply because they are afraid of ridiculing, mockery, scorn and a whole lot of derision? What about those people who wake up every morning disoriented and unsure of themselves and go to bed at night even more bewildered and lost? Why are we denying them the chance to be human, the chance to attain their full potential and the chance to be who they truly are meant to me as dictated by nature?

I write this piece after having a sad conversation with someone who has for twenty-six years been unsure of what his identity is. And this is because his family, friends and relations are all vehemently against any notions of straying from the norm. While he is otherwise an imperturbable soul that simply needs talking to, understanding and above all, guidance, he has opted to secretly engage in what I am sure his relatives will excommunicate him for – if they find out anyway. Now, while I have been sworn to secrecy, I will confidently say that on his behalf and on behalf of the several minorities that have been condemned to the gallows of public hell because of their differences; I am disappointed on so many levels. I am disappointed in myself and anyone who has under looked, disregarded, neglected and condemned another person just because they belong to the minority.

I am disappointed in my country.

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

Swimming with Blue Whales

One of these days, I am going to start taking swimming lessons.

First of all, I am not a fan of water; in fact, I hate it. I shower once or twice everyday but I stay away from bathtubs, swimming pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, waterlogged potholes, seas, oceans and all other water places that may come to mind. Psychologists and medical experts with fancy titles often refer to people of my kind as suffering from Aquaphobia – a persistent and abnormal fear of water. It is therefore likely that I will not be auditioning for the role of Aquaman for DC Comics.

Whey then do I need swimming lessons?

Keep up – this is what I am explaining.

Arrival of an email                

Early last week, I received an email informing me of my nomination for the Social Media Awards. The email explained that I had been nominated in the category of ‘Most Influential Personality’ on social media in Uganda. I was euphoric and nearly screamed out loud but because I was in a taxi with a whole lot of clearly disinterested people, I figured I’d keep it in till I got to the office. When I got to the office, I re-read the email and then the euphoria turned to something akin to panic.

baby-met-laptop

I had to re-read the email several times to be sure

You see, I had been nominated alongside names that would ordinarily make anyone shriek and squeal uncontrollably because of extreme fear and twitchiness.

I will tell you a bit about these people later on.

Twist of Events

Having previously been a winner in the Bloggers’ category of the Social Media Awards, I figured that if any nomination was to come my way, it would be in the same category. Therefore seeing my name in a different category somewhat shook me to the core. However, knowing that there are many awesome bloggers out there, I imagined this time I did not cut it and I swallowed that with a gulp. I know most (if not all) the nominated bloggers and I can attest to the fact that they are all deserving nominees. And this is partly how I was able to wrap my mind around the fact that I had failed to make it to the list.

Now about the Whales

When I eventually settled in the office to look at the list of who else had been nominated in the various categories, I found myself drifting back to the ‘Most influential Personality’ category. This was not just because it was the category in which I am nominated but because of the names therein. The whole time I was looking at the nominees, I had to pinch myself over and over – to remind myself that my nomination was/is real.

The ocean is filled with various types of water creatures but none is as big as the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera physalus). The list of nominees was a pod of huge, superfast, legendary and out-of-this world Blue whales along with a little happy dolphin – myself.

Blue Whale

The blue whale is the largest mammal

How so?

Well, I shall shed a little light on the other nominees.

Amama Mbabazi is the proverbial Blue Whale that is the head of the pod. As a former Prime Minister, Minister for Security, Secretary General of the NRM and current MP for Kinkiizi West constituency in Kanungu District, it is likely that more Ugandans know him than all my friends and relatives combined. Experts from NASA have often wondered why aliens know him even though they have never made official contact with human beings.

The second Blue Whale, Qataha Raymond, is actually a close friend. Raymond, is one of the finest journalists I have come across in East Africa. He has worked with several media houses and prides himself in having contacts that go from here to mars. Anyone who is anyone knows this guy. Raymond and I have played foosball together, watched games where Arsenal loses to Man United, been to house parties together and done a lot of charity together and I can safely say he is a big wig. He knows the phone numbers of wealthy people, army men, beautiful girls and powerful lawyers off the top of his head.

The third Blue Whale is Esther Kalenzi, the brain, heart and soul of 40 Days Over 40 Smiles. Also a personal friend, a big dreamer and achiever, she is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. Humble, down to earth and abnormally compassionate, this girl is the definition of a winning woman. She loves and cares with no limits. I know a bunch of people who have confessed to joining charity because of her – I am one of those people.

The fourth Blue Whale is Andrew Mwenda – the old man of the Clan. This guy has epitomized the struggle for freedom of speech in Uganda and is part of the reason why many people can comfortably hurl insults at the regime. Mwenda is one of the most accomplished Ugandan journalists, he is a founder and owner of The Independent and a celebrated Community activist against Aid to Africa.

The fifth Blue Whale is Simon Kaheru. Now if you are on social media and you don’t know Simon – you need to repent because you are a sinner. He is a professional communicator with the ability to communicate anything to anyone with extreme ease, finesse and profound results. Tales are told of how he once gave a speech in bold italics with a strangely large font size. He doesn’t just think outside the box; he often throws the box out of the window just so he can think better.

Challenge Accepted

As a dolphin being ushered into the swimming game, I have decided to do the honourable thing and accept the challenge to swim with the Whales. I may not be the biggest fan of water but at this moment in time, I will be the dolphin that simply enjoys the ride alongside the Blue Whales.

humpbackwhaleanddolphin

Whales and Dolphins can be good friends too

Ladies, and Gentlemen, let the swimming games begin.

Click the link below to vote for the sea creatures that you think deserve the nod.

www.socialmediaawards.ug

 The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man, it is to know that and to wonder at it – Jacques Yves Cousteau

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter