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).

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.


Day 7 #UgBloggers7Days


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