Do you ever wonder about the origin of things? How what started and why? I ask myself alot of questions mostly on my daily commute from home to work and vice versa. If you knew the city I have to go through, one would wonder how I manage that but I do!
I am proud to say that I am a member at the amazing lantern meet of poets. A group of young people who have chosen that they will change their world through thinking and speaking and doing. They will not be silenced! They challenge the way I think not just about poetry but about life. They are my kind of writer, social concious without losing that essence that makes poetry what it is, almost a language of it’s own. The other day, we were talking with a friend, Edgar Kangere, a man I’m honoured to know and the issue of fashion came up. So he asked if any of us ever wondered about the purpose of the shirt. Why a shirt was designed the way it was. To be honest, I had never. This got us talking about architecture and then the inevitable, school systems.
Sometime back, a group of people came to Africa and with open arms or not, we embraced everything they gave us. To this day, theirs is the standard most seem to go by. What is the mark of development? I wonder. Does development mean we forget everything that makes us uniquely us? Where do we strike the balance between embracing another’s opinion and preserving our own? who decided that ours isn’t good enough.
I believe, before we go about discarding and disregarding what is ours, we need to understand it. A friend of mine Eugene Kavuma, recently started on a journey of telling the stories of things through photography; his first projet being Kampala.
Kampala, a city I have the previlage of walking /struggling through on a daily basis. It is easy to see the crowds, boda bodas, ditches in the middle of the roads and garbage strewn on the walkways like christmas decorations and think that’s all there is. But Eugene, is choosing otherwise. He is saying “Kampala si bizimbe, Kampala bantu.” Kampala is not just buildings, it is the people of the place.
Just like Eugene, I believe, Africa is not what it lacks or how far back it seem s to have fallen compared to everyone else. Above all else,Africa is the people, the culture, the heritage. This is what should inform everything made for and by Africa; the people.
So by the grace of God, I choose to display Africa for who she is, in my words, pictures and all that I am. I am African and I embrace it with all that I am.