please point me to the nearest stables so i buy a horse of my own

scare-a-hero

I HAVE had a long day and therefore only arrived at newspaper reading now, at about 2130hrs (though I am posting this an hour later due to the time it takes to type stuff out, upload pictures, recover from an apoplectic fit, and do a final spell check).

Skimming lightly over most stories just to get an idea of what’s going on in my country besides Amama Mbabazi’s every and any speculative move/decision/thought, I got to Page 55 of the newspaper and had to sit up and pay some attention.

Not because there was some complicated article by a major intellectual outlining some complicated concept that required all my faculties to be on the alert; but because the page contained ten photographs and the word (in caps) “CLASS”.

Beera mu kilaasi?” you ask?

No.

But now, let’s enter class a little bit:

The page in question is as below:

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HUNGRY AND THIRSTY FOR INFORMATION

Joel Jemba

On a Sunday like this when the banking halls are closed and you need money, the only means you can access your money is through the ATM. If you forgot your pin code for the account,however much you cry a river and call the security guard around the ATM booth you cannot access your money. But still it is your money and the ATM card is still yours. The problem here is not the bank or the ATM card but rather your knowledge and memory about your pin code.

At the beginning of this year I decided to devote myself to reading more books both on my kindle and the hard copies. Also articles, magazines, blogs, newspapers among others. In this generation we are so bless with a lot of information both online and offline. Surprisingly many of us (me inclusive) are not knowledgeable about many things in life. Though…

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So What Next After the Challenge?

Today marks the final day of #UgBloggers7Days challenge. It has been a fun buzz of Ugandan writers telling stories about Uganda for seven consecutive days. From politics, current affairs, poetry, music culture, photography among others. I must say I will deeply miss this challenge.

For the brilliant fellows who came up with this wonderful idea, I must say Kudos because such thinking doesn’t deserve to go unnoticed. To the bloggers both amateurs and the seasonal die hards, however, I have two questions for you;
1. Where the hell have you been hiding?
2. What next after the challenge?

It shocked me to read good writings by Ugandans telling stories about Uganda at a time when the western mainstream media has always been portraying Uganda and Africa in general as a place of disaster(s) and incubator of all kinds of viruses.

Perhaps that justifies a common line I have always heard since high school days that “If you want blacks not to understand, put your message in writing”

I totally do not subscribe to such school of thought. Everytime I have searched #UgBloggers7Days on Twitter for the last seven days, I have come to realize that very many Ugandans are interested in reading local stuff about Uganda written by our own fellows.

The conclusion I got is simple. We love reading and appreciating our literature but the only literature available and sadly read very often compared to our own, is by the whites or generally the west for the locals.

This literature by James Patterson, Jeffrey Suchs, Stan Buckey, John Grisham, George Orwell, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens whether directly targeting Uganda or for references in classes, leisure and research, surely is not what an average Ugandan reader wants.

This is because by default, it simply shows no connection between the Ugandan reader and the outside writer because often we are misled by such individuals who not only show a direct link between the reader but also misguide the reader with basic information not deeply researched nor simply understood (for the case of books on Uganda).
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So what next after the challenge?

We need writers with stories of Uganda, for Ugandans and by Ugandans. I have witnessed quite a good range of writers over the last seven days who can spearhead such literature consequently leading to the rise of a new breed of writers and readers in this country.

No society has ever developed without literature or generally writings.  From South Africa, to Nigeria and Kenya, the generation of Peter Abrahams, Wole Soyinka and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o respectively, influenced change in their societies through writings for they were individuals who knew their audiences, the audiences knew them and the message they wrote about was effectively understood easily.

In Uganda, despite our rich cultures and history, change has never been influenced through writing and poetry. I don’t know whether this is as a result of our dark political history or bad education curriculum which is mainly influenced by the west. As a result, we have a lot of literature written by foreigners of which some of them are foreign students researching on African history, writing books for the local Ugandans.

This not only often misleads the readers both home and abroad about Uganda, but also limits and undermines the originality and  persuasion which comes with reading literature written by a local writer.

Therefore, it must begin with us to change this. It must be us to develop such networks to tell our own stories about our country and her rich culture. No one will tell our stories right if we don’t do it ourselves. It is our duty and responsibility not to end this challenge and take it upon ourselves to write our own  literature for the rest to read and rightfully understand and not wait for a white man to this for us.

Now that the challenge has ended, is this going to be the end? Am not sure if everything about Uganda has been said or written during these last seven days but am sure a lot needs to be written and a lot has not yet been written. Whichever spirit all bloggers have had all this fun time,  I pray that sometime somewhere, we must drop in something about Uganda for everyone to feel at home while reading.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Day 7 #UgBloggers7Days

#UgBloggers7Days Day 5 Diary

Today has been a hard one. I have apologies to make for not sitting down to write a deeply thoughtful piece due to commitments and dedication to a thing i like which is my passion and my hobby.

I write this down hands glued on my phone, eyes peeping through the taxi window ( for fear of my phone bring snatched ) and at the same time, the taxi moving in snail speed from Kampala to the now muddy hills of mukono to rest and probably write down something before my phone and medulla oblongata black out in a few minutes when i arrive.

Today, I did what am good at– debating and public speaking. I feel proud to have represented  Uganda Christian University (UCU) in the Inter University Human Rights Law Debate Competition held at Cavendish University under the topic Death Penalty and its Relevancy  Today. We did not only represent, but we emerged the winners of the competition with me yours truly, being among the best speakers ( All the five of us from UCU took the accolades for best speakers 🙂 ).

This competition organized by the Foundation For Human Rights Initiative, attracted over five Universities including Uganda Christian University, Makerere University, Cavendish, Busoga University, Kyambogo and Kampala International University. I can say its time for popping some champagne this evening to celebrate such achievement– at least for me who values winning.

I do not support the death penalty. Am one person who believes in analyzing and not moralizing. I believe no man has the right to kill another man but i do not believe executing someone who has committed a capital offence, can do justice to the deceased. Statistics already show that nowhere in this world has the Death penalty proved to be a deterrent from committing crime and many other reasons am not willing to disclose at this time due to exhaustion.

Why am i even telling you this on a friday night? Please allow me to evaporate from here and go back to the drawing mode and prepare something deep for my tomorrow’s piece. Before you go, first congratulate me and my team 🙂

#UgBloggers7Days

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The Society in My Mirror

I have always wanted to speak about this ever since i became conscious in my reasoning(s). To me, it is one thing I look as attached to my soul and yet no one talks about it. Even as i write this, i feel the wings and forces of our Ugandan society pulling me away trying to resist me from writing about it. I pray that i get courage to finally pen it down.

In life (at least as Ugandans), we walk through this world not understanding what our individual morals, beliefs and characters are, what we need  and who we are. For the 22 years i have lived on earth, i have come to realize that we are born, get raised, get schooled, get employed, get married and then, die.

We “enjoy life” never stopping to ask why is life this way? Why not the other way? Let me tickle your minds to some few questions; 1. Why are you a Christian or Muslim? 2. Why does the fork have four bars? Why not three? And why even have those divisions? 3. Why were you born black? 4. Why are you even reading this in English? The above questions stem from what they call societal conditioning, a thing i have always yearned to write about and is what am writing about today. Social conditioning is a sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. The concept is stronger than that of socialization, which simply means the process of inheriting norms, customs and ideologies.

Manifestations of social conditioning are vast, but they are generally categorized as social patterns and social structures including nationalism, education, employment, entertainment, popular culture, religion, spirituality and family life. The social structure in which an individual finds him or herself influences and can determine their social actions and responses. In our everyday life, we look at certain things but we don’t look back and ask why are things that way.

No one has never changed society without first asking why things are the way they are in society. From Wangari Maathai, to Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs and now Malala Yousafzai, they look(ed) at society and realized something wrong. The things we read, see and do, will fashion you by slowly conditioning your mind. Therefore, how does societal conditioning come about?

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Right from nursery, society conditions us to think in a certain way. We are trained to look at certain people in a certain way. We are trained to do things in a certain way. The problem is, we go on with this mentality until the day we advance to the spiritual world.

For instance, if you are born in Uganda, you are most likely to be a Christian. If you are born in China, you are most likely not to have a religion. If you are born in Egypt, you are most likely to be a Muslim. Do you see the first stage conditioning? Right from the environment where you are raised? So let me ask you something. If you had been born in a different area, raised in a different area, Would you still be a Christian? Even our religious beliefs are results of conditioning. Religious conditioning is perhaps the most powerful influence for solidifying beliefs and opinions because they are often based on a perceived notion of divine and moral piety and superiority. In practice, however, it is widely recognized that, on the basis of dogmatic self-righteousness, organized religions have created a fundamental cause for conflict and war.

Currently there seems to be a growing distinction between religion and spirituality. Whereas spirituality is a personal journey of realizing our own divinity, most religions seem to be more concerned with insuring that everybody believes the same story with the same terminology and to judge and condemn those who don’t. For example the Boko Haram in West Africa and the Al Shabab terrorizing East Africa. Some other scenario. What’s wrong with a woman having sex with any guy with whom she wants? Pretty much nothing wrong about it. But you know what most girls have been conditioned to do; “To hate sex, to deny their feelings of sex, to hide those feelings, to play hard to get.” Because why? Because apparently society judges a woman who has sex without any strings attached and even labels them as a whore. So you know what society wants? Pretend you love him, play hard to get, have sex with him after sometime and make sure it seems like you were in a relationship. Wow, the conditioning doesn’t get any better. We think as group not as individuals. We are conditioned to do what everyone else is doing. We are conditioned to wear clothes that everyone else is wearing. If someone goes the other way even by mistake or as a result of leaks, we bash them, we shame. You all know the price which  came when Cindy’s nudes leaked. If the society thinks in a certain way, every other person who comes afterwards will think the same way. We see people who think otherwise as crazy, as mad, as abnormal. Because Group thinking is the standard of normal. So you know what the society will say; “Buy a house, buy a car and then pile more stuff in the house, pile after stuff after stuff, buy stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have to prove a point to people who are actually also busy trying to prove a point.” So we are a scenario where people are not really happy and we are asking why? Because we are buying things we don’t actually want, but because we need to impress the group.

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Social conditioning is hitting you from all directions. From; the media, society, parents, work, friends, religion, movies, music, television, advertising, billboards, radio, magazines. I can tell you that almost everything you bought while going through school or when you got a job, were not things you really needed. They are things society said you needed. You are walking through a state of hypnosis. Now that’s the point when you awaken. I will give you a scenario. Three years back, I believed that gays deserved to be treated badly. That’s what the group think was. But when I sat down and thought for myself, I didn’t find anything wrong with someone choosing to love another person if he is not being forced. Passing a law that criminalize homosexuality in scenarios where a gay defiles a young boy is justifiable and to that, i believe a death sentence is not enough for him. So when I begun to think independently, I begun ridding myself of most of the conditioning. I realized that there was nothing wrong with sluts despite what society had told me right from childhood. Because sluts and whores are the only people who understand sex is simply an act and not something to trade with either a relationship or money. Sluts understand that sex is simply sex and not a commodity you give or take. So the solution to escaping the matrix is to begin exposing yourself to things you previously didn’t expose yourself to. Recently, I read the book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma.The best lessons i learned from it were two;

  • Master Your Mind and cultivate your mind – it will blossom beyond your expectations. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts in the inside and not the society. There are no mistakes – only lessons of which society can’t judge you.
  • The secret of happiness is simple: find out what you truly love to do as a person and then direct all of your energy towards doing it even if society sees it differently.

It is after questioning everything they tell you, that you will realise what you desire as a person not what the society thinks you should be. So begin by asking yourself why am even telling you all this.

*Drops Mic*

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Day 4 #UgBloggers7Days

Why I can’t celebrate Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize.

middle east revised

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this Friday to India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education. That is great news, and it might almost mean Nobel Peace Prize makes sense again, after being awarded to Barack Obama in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”, and to European Union in 2012 “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”.

Still, there is something that really troubles me. How come we (meaning the West) always recognize the “devils” of the East, the torments children like Malala had to and have to go through (in her case, with the Taliban), but always fail to recognize our own participation in creating those “devils”? How come we never…

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Literature, Love And Other Drugs

My Thoughts, Sentiments and Lamentations

To all men who love literature, their girlfriends and other drugs

By Owino Innocent
I have a girlfriend, she is beautiful and I trust my taste, if you think I am lying look at your girlfriend you will see what I am talking about. I knew I was in love with her when I couldn’t fall asleep because reality was finally better than my dreams. She knew everything about me including my love for books, current affairs, politics and everything with intellectual content before we fell in love but she still went ahead and loved me. I love her too BUT……………………….

Thought it has not taken her place, Literature somehow, somewhere still holds a special place in my heart, it happens to have been my first love,her and other drugs followed in that order. You see, Literature in all aspects gives life its breath and I think in  Jane Yolen

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