“When the Elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”

 “Kyambogo University to close indefinitely; everyone to graduate, whether 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th year…”

A friend posted this on his Facebook wall and I was for like a quarter of a second alarmed.  I once had a lecturer during my 4th year at University who at the beginning of the semester made us introduce ourselves; name and study history i.e. the schools attended. I remember laughing, along with the rest of the class, when a colleague remarked that he did not think that his primary school was still in existence. This is; I think a very popular joke in this country, Uganda. We tend to take pride in the schools we attend because of the notion that they in some way will determine our placement in society.

I joined Kyambogo University in August 2008, around the same time Professor Ndiege was joining the University, as Vice Chancellor. The University was recovering from a 2 month long shutdown due to a violent strike, the first of its kind in Kyambogo, which prior to that was a rather peaceful University. Needless to say, so many things were amiss, some students had reported while others were away for Internship, some were doing exams while the rest of us were counting a month and we still were yet to see even a single lecturer. First semester was hard; my marks are a reflection of that. However, as the years went on, I can say things only got better in Kyambogo. I saw things in 3rd year that were just dreams in2nd year. When we received our 1st year Faculty Allowance, the students ahead of us told us we were lucky because that, in past years was more like a myth. It took me a whole year to see my first semester 1st year results. In 4th year, I would get to see my results the next semester, without having to first hunt down for them.

The first time, last year the Kyambogo issues were presented in print, I was amazed but not shocked. We had heard rumors while still at campus of death threats made on the Professor’s life. The University was not perfect, granted, but it was in the process of moving towards better. If we are to speak in general terms, the students seemed to like this Vice Chancellor; the different members of staff, not so much; for reasons which are not very clear. Apparently his management/leadership style is manipulative among many other things as was reported by a media house yesterday. So, maybe all the rumors we heard while at Kyambogo were true. Rumors like:  the reason Faculty Allowance was a myth being that money was re-routed to specific other accounts.

 When we joined the students had staged a strike because the lecturers had not showed up to class for 2 months, why? They had not been paid for close to 4 months or so and some of these lecturers were not suitably qualified for their positions. This clearly explained the not so low number of teaching staff of foreign decent (read Korean) especially in the science and Engineering disciplines and the high number of teaching Assistants as the years went on. A restructuring had been done. Toes had been stepped on and clearly the professor made some enemies.

It is a sad thing that is happening. The more I read about it, the more it seems like this is a personal war. I did not follow the court proceedings to the detail, someone should help me out here, but the charges against the professor kept changing; his nationality and academic qualifications were questioned, the procedures followed to hire him investigated and so on and so forth. He was taken to court on corruption, fraud and embezzlement charges. Now, the lecturers are on strike because they do not agree with his management style? Our lecturers should be brought to account for wasting the Students’ time. The latest I read in the News is that the students are asking to be sent home until these adults, have sorted out their issues. Unfortunately, even that is not the most favourable option to all. Some people travel for miles to go to school, and going home mid-semester is never part of the plan.

I am left wondering if the staff’s issues aren’t petty, but about 98% are in agreement. Maybe Kyambogo needs a re-boot, if only it was that easy. Bottom line, I better pick up my transcript before a one size fits all graduation ceremony is announced. I actually earned my degree; 4 years? Give me my piece of paper!

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I quit writing for money

Well, Hello! It has been a minute since I was this side of the woods. I have had this particular tab open ready for me to write something here for about 5 hours now. My brain is tired, my brain has been tired for a while now. When my brain is tired, I can’t write because I have a process. It is not a very complicated process. It is that place where determination, meets perfect timing and little or no distractions because I write slowly. I enjoy writing. I agonise over my syntax and diction, erasing and re-arranging, proof reading every paragraph before I move on to the next then the piece as a whole and even after there is always something I think could have been better. It takes time; especially blogging. I am my own editor and I have these ideas, stories and musings that have been floating around in my head begging to be agonised over but ,I just simply couldn’t find the time; and not just any time, a few minutes here and there but the perfect time.

Life tends to be a drag sometimes, amidst all the busy-ness, it can all feel a little too much, or a little too little. I read a great article yesterday. You see, I lost a friend the other week. He was away from home when it happened and the whole thing took about a week from the moment I received the news to the funeral. That was one of the hardest weeks of my life yet. Grief is not an easy thing. Grief often leaves me questioning quite a number of things. He was young and yet he seemed to have done so much. What hurts me the most is the fact that I feel like I missed out on knowing him more because I was somewhere else doing other things. The whole thing left me asking “What am I waiting for?”

Like I was saying, I read a great article yesterday, great because it was one of those “it must have been written for me” kind of things. This article talks about how to get the funk back into your work; you know getting to enjoy it again. No.9, caught my attention most, because it also resonated with a song I have decided is my new anthem, Mizu by Pompi (who I would love to go out on a number of dates with). This song, talks about living with purpose and doing things with passion. Passion, wow, I miss that. Earlier on in my life, when I was about 5 or so, I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Yes, I did; I thought it was the same as treating my brother’s football injuries with tissue and vaseline. However, as time went on, I discovered stories and reading. I fell in love with reading so much, I was always creating a story in my head. Needless to say, I enjoyed my own company alot, still do.

As life would have it, I have studied a bunch of things, none of them writing related. I have had a few gigs, I actually started getting writing gigs, a bit before I left campus. For the first few years, I submitted just for the simple joy of seeing my name in print. I have given out alot of free content, this blog being proof of that. But you know how life is, food won’t buy itself and smiles don’t buy shoes apparently. I never really looked for a job, in my intermission, I got my first paid writing gig. That first pay, felt amazing. I could not believe someone was giving me money to do something that gave me so much joy. Delayed payments were not that big a deal because I was simply happy writing.

Earlier today, a good friend of mine Raymond , brilliant lawyer in the making, poet, performer, journalist,photographer and awesome blogger tweeted something about a media house that can not pay its writers sponsoring a battle between musicians. The irony! But it happens alot. Writing for money means, there is no such thing as perfect time for writing. I have read quite a number of quotes about writing, things like if you wait for inspiration, you will never write. Sometimes you just have to show up and write.  I guess that is true, depending on why you write.

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My reasons for writing are selfish. I write because I enjoy it. I write because writing stirs up passions in me I often forget exist. I write to heal. I write to connect. I write because the creator in me demands it. I write because I want to. It seems rather ridiculous and even childish not to take on writing gigs because I can write, I can push past the drought season, let purpose over ride passion, and bleed awesomeness onto paper or screen; that I have done, I know I can do.  I simply do not want to, not for the moment atleast. I do not want to discuss delayed payments with other writers,nor muse over the 1200 worded article which was amazing and would have fetched me quite a bit of money, if only I had been paid for it. I do not want to feel apprehensive about writing deadlines that tempt me to produce work without going through my ritual, silly as it may be, of agonising over my syntax and diction, reading and rephrasing paragraphs. At least not now. For now, I write because I enjoy it. I write to heal. I write because I want to.

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The Lantern Meet of Poets

The Reawakening

Posted on 4th October by Kyomuhendo A. AteenyiKunihira_n

My definition of Art has always been that which it is its sole objective to serve Society. Anything more; anything less; is a shameless imitation of the whole concept. Art is not Art because some conceited individuals and Newspapermen have superficially termed it so. Rather, Art is Art because it must religiously obey and unquestionably serve society. Society is thus its master; it’s guarantor; it’s benefactor; the foundation of its existence; and the very essence of its identity! Without Society, Art cannot exist. Yet Society can exist without Art as is the case where Art fails to live up to the collective needs of society, but, rather painfully, exalts the petty and selfish whims of individuals. For as long as Art remains its Master’s slave, it should in turn be obeyed, loved, lived or even venerated to the point…

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Introducing Peter Kagayi

#TheAWAKENING . It has been a tradition of mine since about this time last year to blog about a Lantern Meet Recital prior to the event. This time however, they are speaking for themselves.

The Lantern Meet of Poets

When I hear ‘the awakening’, it is not about what I understand, rather what I hear and then visualise. I am not sure I understand it. I hear the sounds of reckon, calling out to me to pay attention. And what I visualise is a silhouette of a man walking towards my door in the early hours. He looks different. Not from here. And he seems to be carrying the sun on his head. But my eyes fail me to make out his face. I do not understand why I see the things I see when I hear ‘the awakening’.

Peter Kagayi, Lantern Meet of Poets

by Anne Namuddu

If you know anyone that has tear provoking patriotism, or whose social consciousness is limping around in circles, or on broken crutches, please… wheel them to Uganda National theatre to meet the Lantern Meet psychotherapist, Peter Kagayi, this 4th and 5th…

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One Monday Morning

The benefits of passion, honesty and hard work

rdelyon

I normally work all night on Sundays(like i am now), so i can take Monday morning off. Cant think of a better way to start the week.

Last Monday was different though, i joined a good friend of mine Sidi as mentors at the Raise Program. It is an education and career guidance programs that runs during the holidays and selected days during the school term, teaching kids of all ages skills they wouldn’t otherwise learn in class. It exposes them to a lot that they will need to succeed and hopefully gives them the courage to go after their dreams aggressively.
I always think back to that afternoon Patrick Bitature came to Namilyango and shared about his past and the drive he had to get to where he is. Made a huge impact on me, and continues to do so in many ways. Not just him but so…

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Attraction

Often misunderstood by many.

Like a girl,longs to be taken at more than face value.

Attraction is a desire for recognition.

Attraction is a search for completion.

 

Not all like poles repel,some attract.

Because there is mutual ground,

something special,something that brings

an “us against the world quality”

to be understood without having to explain yourself,

to be seen for who you really are,

to be found.

 

Unlike poles do attract,

some more unlike than others.

To see something in another’s life,

something lacking in yours.

Wanting to be as close as possible thinking,

maybe just maybe it will rub off on me.

discovering that there are things about someone else

that are helping you understand yourself.

Being accepted where you are yet inspired onto greater.

 

Looking at someone & knowing you want them in your tomorrow.

Being set on fire not by the perception of the eyes

but your heart,your spirit…

attraction that comes from within

to things that are within still…