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

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Hooping It Up

Whenever there is an upcoming event in Kampala, there is usually a level of near euphoria in the run up to the D-Day. Outfits are prepared in advance, partners are booked, relationships are started (and some ended), budgets are laid out and people generally mark out strategies for how they will take part in the event – no one wants to be left out or behind. The modern day person calls it FOMO and it can consume you like a bush fire spreading through a dry forest located in an oil well.

Fomo

It is a known medical condition

On a number of occasions, this FOMO is quite worthless, utterly nonsensical and generally a waste of time because the event may turn out to be a total bore. I have been victim to one or two of these and sometimes I end up regretting whey I even borrowed money to be a part of the event. There are times however when at the end of the event one looks back and nods in approval because the event was worth the FOMO.

Under the umbrella of 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation, a couple of pro-active youth have somewhat mastered the art of pulling off some of the most epic events. These guys usually organize fun events with an aim of gathering funds for Charity. As someone who has a deep liking for fun events and an even deeper liking for charity, these events are usually something I look forward to with great anticipation and excitement.

The guys at 4040 have organized an event dubbed #Hoops4Grace slated for 4th October with the aim of raising funds for Akiba Children’s Home – a home for children suffering from Cancer. On any given weekend, people in Kampala are never short of events and while there will be several other events happening on the same day, a wise person would mark their calendar with #Hoops4Grace as opposed to other events.

I shall present my case for this brilliant suggestion.

The fun Crowd, bootiful ladies and interesting young men

Ugandans are generally the kind of people who will create a fun crowd whether it is at a wedding, concert, accident scene or funeral. We may not have turned up in the thousands at Chris Martin’s concert or at General Mega Dee’s album launch but it is safe to say that we are generally a fun crowd. The fun crowd at #Hoops4Grace will most likely have several well endowed ladies looking to let some fresh air into their interestingly curvaceous bodies. It is also likely that there will be some fine young well groomed gentlemen looking to take some much needed time away from their mortgaged bungalows and office desks.

Crowd

Of course there will be delicious food 

Family Day Out

When the words ‘family day out’ are mentioned, what usually comes to mind are the over aged kids at the bouncy castles, little children wailing while pointing at ice cream stalls, pretty little face painted girls and confused parents running around after their mischievous little ones. Well, all this and more will be present at the #Hoops4Grace event this Weekend. Oh, and while still on the subject of families, it is greatly advisable that parents who want their children to turn out fine and healthy are better off coming down to Bush Court for the event. Yes – the event shall be at Bush Court Kololo near Kampala Parents School; and NO – Bushcourt is not some kind of Bush. Yes, there is a basketball Court and a field of sorts but the bush has since been cleared. So parents need not worry about their children disappearing into bushes.

Hoops

Teach the little ones to be Charitable

But of course there will be Basketball

Actually, basketball is the whole point of the event. #Hoops4Grace is basically a fun basketball event where teams will compete against each other to see who emerges victorious. Along the way, there is bound to be a couple of females looking so gorgeous the opponents totally lose focus. There might also be guys so unfit they will be allowed several breaks just so they catch their breath. Yes – females will be playing too. Basically each team will have a mix of both male and female players and while several gentlemen are already grinning at the prospect of touching bodies with females, one must remember that the whole world will be watching so no funny games will be tolerated.

Basketball

It’s going down!! 

Then there is the music

While I am an expert at having fun and making merry with or without music, I have to admit that events with no (or boring) music usually make me want to rip my nonexistent hair out. With the right kind of music, I can be lured into anything from giving out my bank details to falling in love. There is going to be a lineup of DJs who will be playing music this weekend and as a person who absolutely loves good music, I will probably be getting one or two autographs from the Disc Masters. I mean, who does not want to rub shoulders with these disc spinners who seem to attract females faster than a shrewd business man can attract profits.

stick

We will definitely Turn Down For What! 

The Trophy plan

I am a little fuzzy on the details of how huge or spectacular the trophy for the winning team shall be but from what I gather, the losing teams will have real reason to be jealous. While the event is dubbed a fun event aimed at raising funds for Charity, there is a fair chance that one or two teams will have their eyes solely focused on the trophy. I have personally spent a few hours on the basketball court trying to polish up on my rather shaky and questionable basketball skills. The point is to make sure that come Saturday, I will not be stretchered off by the medics for running out of breath and fainting on court. What if my future wife is in attendance and writes me off as a man who cannot last the distance? Not a chance!

crying-man2-290x290

And in case your team loses, do not cry. It is all for charity.

Being part of a Noble Cause

It is very easy to focus on the fun part of events like #Hoops4Grace while forgetting the actual purpose of the whole event. The proceeds from the event shall be dedicated to putting up a playground, repairing and repainting Akiba Foundation; a home for children who are receiving cancer treatment. It is sad to see an old person suffer from cancer. It is even more heartbreaking to see a child struggle and fail to smile because of the pain and suffering brought on by cancer. Anything one can do to create a smile on such a child’s face is something that will probably get a round of applause from any sane person.

Hoops for grace

 

The task is pretty simple then, get your mates together, form a team, come down to Bushcourt this Saturday and get your behind whooped as you give to charity.

you

I will see YOU this Saturday!

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.” ― Jack London

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

 

The Horoscope (Part 1)

I have always wondered what sort of magic the people who make horoscopes practice. I often am in awe of the size of balls they carry around in their pants because they seem to be know too much. They literally know what will happen to everyone. The more disturbing fact though, is the religiousness with which people read and follow these horoscopes. I often scoff at people who read these things. Occasionally, I too might peep to see what the stars have to say about my sign but this is only because the horoscopes are usually located somewhere near a crossword puzzle (which I am more interested in) or the lonely hearts section (where I usually check to see if there is any random girl’s phone number I can pull a practical joke on).

After several weeks of research, it dawned on me that actually, the stars do speak to us; call them fortune tellers. Now before you rubbish this talk of fortune telling, allow me to reveal a secret. You see, very recently, I took it upon myself to gaze at the stars and see if the gods had a message for me. (They and I engage in conversation quiet a lot and we talk about you; the human beings.) As it turned out, my friends, the gods, did have a message for everyone who would read this blog. They gave me a full break down of a half year horoscope for everyone. They gave it to me on Two Tablets. Not the Samsung tablets but like the ones Moses was given.

Horoscope

It looked something like this …

As a diligent servant of the gods, the onus is on me to share this horoscope. And so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the horoscope (part 1)

March 21 – April 19 (Aries)

Your life has been slow, dull and boring. It is going to get worse. That other woman you have been sleeping with has syphilis. But worry not, you don’t have syphilis. Besides, syphilis can be treated. Your problem is much bigger than syphilis – the most recent wild night of loud sex you had with her will be your last because your gonads have reached their expiry date; they cannot perform any more. Start to think about adopting and also prepare an explanation for your partner who will want to know where your ability to perform has gone. It is likely she has also been sleeping around but her problem is not as bad as yours. Your safest bet is to come clean and talk to her about it. She might ask for a divorce and take half your property in the process but this is better than dying with the guilt. Besides, when she takes the property, there will not be too much to cry over you will have sold a good chunk of it to try and fix your gonad problem – in vain. For the ladies, there is a great chance you will skip your periods this month. You are not pregnant; one of your ovaries is dead. Henceforth, every child you bear shall be one eyed, one eared and one legged.

April 20 – May 20 (Taurus)

Your search for employment has been tiring, stressful and fruitless. Brace yourself for you haven’t seen anything yet. The degree you got a few years back is about to become meaningless because you will now require two of those to make it. The little job offer at the local bar near your home should not be taken too lightly. They want you to do the pole but you are hesitant. Take it up; it is the only shot you have at making it in life. The pay will be pathetic, the owner of the bar will treat you like a whore and customers will pay peanuts to sleep with you – embrace it nonetheless. This is your destiny. The white collar job you have been eyeing shall be given to an expatriate with lesser knowledge of the job than you and he will be paid twice as much as you would have settled for. But this should not worry you because you are destined for the bar job. If you are employed, the person giving you trouble at work is only doing it because of your bad odor. Do something about that or you are two weeks away from being fired.

fired-pictureYou are getting fired. It’s been decided by the gods

May 21 – June 20 (Gemini)

This thing you have been carrying around called a ‘career in music’, please stop it. You are not a musician. Your own partner and friends hate your singing but they have put up with you because they love you – and also because they are afraid that if they tell you the truth you might become suicidal. Your voice is terrible and all your songs are plain ridiculous.  This week, one of your very close friends will walk up to you and hit you with a microphone for singing so horribly and your friendship will end right there – on a microphone note. Also, if you have been called a celebrity in the recent past, it is very likely your sex life is going to become so wild and loose. Between now and the end of the year you will get one of either herpes or gonorrhea for all the wild unprotected sex you are having. The story of your sexually transmitted disease shall make the papers. You will sue the tabloid that breaks the news and you will lose the case, causing you to have to pay them. Save up for this.

June 21 – July 22 (Cancer )

Begin to channel your energy towards starting a new relationship because the one you are in is about to get abusive. Your partner is bound to start calling you terrible names right in the middle of your sexual acts. And then they will forget and call you these same names in front of your in-laws. Save yourself the embarrassment and ask for a divorce as soon as possible. The children your partner has been using to empty your bank account are not yours. In the 9th month you will meet their true father – he is actually a relative …of the woman you call your wife. There are many things that your wife did not reveal to you and one of them is that she comes from an incestuous family. The other being that she is actually a witch. She practiced witchcraft to get you to marry her but of course you do not know this because all along you thought it was true love. It was because of the money and once it is over, the relationship shall come to a sad ending.

 July 23 – August 22 (Leo)

If you have never taken alcohol, the next 6 months are going to be very crucial in your life because you are suddenly going to take to the bottle with ferocity. You might be checked into rehab once or twice and possibly come close to death but don’t worry, you shall not die of alcohol. What will kill you will be your neighbor’s cat. It will scratch your eyes out in the 12th month and you shall die of rabies. Prior to your death, when you start drinking, you will spend all yours and your partner’s savings on this little habit. You will struggle through this but you will eventually make it – after selling off one of your partner’s kidneys. Start to withdraw from people. They will invite you to all sorts of parties and drink-ups just so they can see you wasted. During one of your drunken stupors you will send a very nasty message to your boss, your mother and your landlord. This shall happen in the 10th month of the year.

DrunkIn the 7th month this will happen to you

August 23 – September 22 (Virgo )

Everyone around you has been saying that you are very good company and that you are a very nice person. They have all been lying. You are indeed very terrible company. Your jokes are stale, your language is pathetic and your speech is too slurred for anyone to like you; they just have never told you. Stop talking to people too much, they don’t like you. Focus on new activities like golfing, playing solitare and yoga.  In the 7th month. Your temper shall be over the top and you will say some really bad things to your best friend. Then they will sleep with your partner to avenge this and you will find out on the day when you are planning to apologize for your untamed tongue.

Next week, I shall continue with the horoscope but only if the gods permit me to share the rest of it.

I leave you with that little bit of inspiration I like to drop every week.

A wise man shall overrule his stars, and have a greater influence upon his own content than all the constellations and planets of the firmament – Jeremy Taylor, clergyman (1613-1667)

Have a super week friends

Bernard

a.k.a Beewol

The Talkative Rocker