The Developed World

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.

The Origins of things

These things that we write with our flashlights; trying to borrow from the many movies where the hero and his passion stayed awake after lights out…

Our hero is usually the mis/un understood kid at boarding school or the inmate who isn’t just a crook, he has dreams too. Well, it is lights out for me as well. UMEME has pulled one on me. So, I use the flashlight on my phone; indeed I have got my money’s worth with this one.

So(another so?) many things running through my mind as my tongue runs across my teeth; not to clean them, no, to try and recapture the taste which was so real only moments ago. I know why Africa is not the origin of forks! We were originally hunters, as I’ve been told, then we discovered fire. I am not sure of the order but I’d hate to imagine the taste of raw elephant. But muchomo…now that is another story. Allow me tell this tale of heaven on earth. In science class, we were told that meat was smoked & salted as one of the many ways to preserve it.

However, what they neglected to tell us was that it is only the best way to eat meat! Yes, smoked, roasted, drawing out all its meatiness from its depth to the surface. The smoke serves to wet your appetite and a tease after to remind you of what once was.

There’s only one way to eat muchomo/roast, whatever! With your bare hands. Yes, both of them. It is even more delicious when you don’t have any of these modern things mbu tables. No, settle yourself on the ground, shut out the rest of the world and make love to your food. Cooked things are not always the best to go with chomos (yes, I am affectionate like that) simanya cassava and friends. The raw-er, the better. Fresh tomatoes, cabbages…those ones.

Life must have been awesome before this gender equality misunderstanding. I mean, the women pick the tomatoes, cabbages, the men bring the meat. Why would that marriage end?

It is totally acceptable to lick your fingers and make smacking noises as you do so. The occasional moan and groan as flesh meets tongue is to be expected. They were a happy bunch, these Africans. All that was required for dates was for you to show up and eat meat! I want to go back in time.

Luga-flow analogies

I have things on my mind that I have to put down. I love my country Uganda. I love rap and hip hop. I love poetry. I love words. Now, I believe some Ugandan musicians are quite talented the same way lil’Wayne is talented. Once you get past the tatoos and swear words, Lil’Wayne actually does have some serious rhymes. Back to my home boys and more recently girls and their music. There are many people who will argue that some of these songs lack lyrical content but of all the genres on the scene, hip-hop, according to me at the moment is the most authentic. There is this ‘luga-flow” rapping in one of our beautuiful languages, luganda. But poetry is poetry, poetry did not start with William Shakespeare and tragedies that made people conclude that it is only true love if you end up dead! Actually, poetry began with Adam, not Levine and not Lambert, Adam, of Adam and Eve, garden of Eden fame.

Recently I was listening to a new artiste and found that I like him ,a lot! Contrary to what you might be thinking, it has nothing to do with his literary prowess. I love his silliness,the ease with which he makes rhymes out of everyday things and they are funny. Actually, his lyrics are now major contributors to our slang dictionary. This just goes to show that people are listening! They are identifying and they are learning. I am not the biggest fan of our education system, I do believe we could use a lot of help but I am a big fan of learning. I did not offer literature as a subject but I have recently come into contact with a group of amazing poets from whom I learn. Our reading list has a lot of the writers who passed on before we were even a country and we use their work to teach ourselves how to write about ourselves. It is no wonder some people may fail to connect because they just do not see how William’s (Shakespeare) issues are their issues. Our system, if I’m to quote a friend whose work I am a fan of, is  “cram or get caned”. It does not encourage creativity,innovation or originality; then we have the audacity to complain about “chinese” products, at least they figured how to duplicate that!

Most luga-flow artistes have known the trick; rap about things everyday people understand like cheesy pick up lines, news headlines and trending fads. We get more lessons on creativity listening to these almost senseless songs than we most cases do seated in a classroom being told how to write like someone else. Dear Mr. whoever is in charge of our curriculum, I think you should take sometime off and listen to some of these flows; maybe then you will appreciate that we need to learn a lot more than integration of fractions and what on earth was modern physics about?

 

Hire me!!!!

I am an editor’s dream and this is a true story. I never run out of content; seeing as I live in a country where there is comedy from the President’s adress to stand up comedians not being funny. I have just finished school awaiting graduation and can’t take one more day doing nothing. Thus I will devote myself to looking for content that any editor anywhere would love to use. YES!!! I am going to stalk them editors until one or two of them or more…hires me. A girl needs money to go out!