It has been a five-year journey to relocate to Africa. There have been highs and lows, plenty of fears and sleepless nights. Alas the time has come and voila I am waking up in a strange bed but at least I am on the motherland Africa.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Gambian President Yahya Jammeh at the White House in Washington in August 2014. On Dec. 4, the White House issued a statement expressing dismay over rampant human rights violations and the persecution of LGBT people in Gambia. Amanda Lucidon / White House
It is election season in Africa and some remarkable results have emerged.
For Instance recently:
Two incumbent Presidents lost the elections.
Two Presidents conceded genuinely and then one of them said, there is need to recount the votes again.
That one President is from The Gambia.
To many African watchers his concession to Mr Adama Barrow the President elect took many of us by surprise. The question was how could President Yahya Jammeh really accept the electoral results. Most African leaders tend to ‘manoeuvre’ such results to their benefit. When President Jammeh said that he has accepted the results and called the opposition leader to wish him well, it was a first for many of us to witness. A strong man of Africa relinquishing power peacefully.
Then the shenanigans started. President Jammeh of The Gambia asked for and sought for a recount of the results. Much as we were surprised with his accepting the results now with the recount, we see the old man African style leadership back in full force. He has ruled The Gambia for 22 years. From what we gather his party is not happy and have lodged an appeal to The Gambia’s High Court.
This side of Africa is akin to what we call the norm. Africa’s strong men clinging to power regardless of what their citizens feel and say.
The other side of Africa, gregarious, magnanimous, enigmatic, exuberant, youthful and exquisiteness belies the strength and depth of what Africa is about. Change that we see. Change that represents the aspirations of this youthful exuberance. Change that exudes the hopes and fears of a young generation ready to handle their own affairs of business. Change that epitomizes the we shall overcome feel.
We only hope and pray that this new Africa does come to pass, happens and make the two Africa’s one and whole.
Sometimes in life there comes a point when one asks, don’t the leaders who are entrusted to lead us really study the history of the country they rule. It always, always leaves me perturbed.
This week in Uganda, right, we saw events that reminded me about an attack of a palace of the Kabaka(King) of Buganda in May 1966.
Fast forward 50 years and yet another King(Omusinga’s) palace is attacked leaving scores of people dead. What I find amazing is the lack of proper information as to why the palace had to be attacked in the first place. Omusinga is the King of the Bakonzo people who hail from the Mountains of the Moon – Rwenzori. They are sometimes referred to as Rwenzururu people.
Government acknowledges the King(Omusinga) was inciting terrorism. But coming from the fact about what happened 50 years ago, such information from government should be taken with a pinch of salt.
We may never really know the real story about that palace attack, we shall leave that to the historians. Having said that, bear with me, let me take you on a journey a brief history of Uganda.
A brief History
Before Uganda became the motherland Uganda on independence day in 1962, all the constituent tribes had their own leaders from Kings, to Queens to Chiefs. With the creation of the country Uganda a republic was formed. It had a ceremonial President, a Prime Minister together with a parliament and political parties to lead the country. The Kings, Queens and Chiefs remained very instrumental in the cohesiveness of their people and this made the tribes stronger. The cultural norms and heritage intact. That high office espoused the pride of belonging, rich in history and instrumental in the future of the people by the people. Naturally frictions occurred as the new norm being the new form of government, a republic vis a vie the tribal kingdoms was put on a test from time to time.
History most definitely is repeating itself in 2016.
What is so deafening, in this case, is the that there is little discourse about what happened in and around the mountains of the Moon, in the capital city of Kampala the seat of all power in Uganda. When there is such silence then all kinds of voices appear to fill the void. Social media is awash with all kinds of stories and photos. Hard to get any facts, clear picture about what really transpired and why. Maybe the authorities feel that this is a far away Kingdom and not too much fuss will be made about it. Personally I do not know.
This much we know.
The King(Omusinga) is in remand charged with treason and trial starts December 13th 2016.
The deposing of any King anywhere by use of force is a very traumatising experience for any group of people. In 1966 when it happened to the Baganda it led to consequences far foreseen by the leaders of that day. For one hatred brewed to anyone from the north of the country from the Baganda tribe. Why? The prime minister, Dr Obote, a northerner (of the Langi tribe) and the commander of the operation of the day was another northerner (Kakwa tribe), he went by the names of Idi Amin. Five years later he too led his own coup and overthrew Dr Obote.
The trauma of the Kabaka being attacked by the military was huge. So, huge. What many Baganda found perplexing was that the Kabaka, was a member of the British military and they refused to come to his aid. It is things like this that make one wonder 50 years hence, don’t our leaders learn anything from history.
You can marginalize a people for so long, but deposing their King(Omusinga) opens up a can of worms that in 2016 we cannot foresee.
May God uphold thee
We lay our future in thy hand
These are the first stanzas of our national anthem.
The Omusinga (King) bespectacled gentleman in the middle at Kasese Police Station
The question has come about from a little chat I had about salt to be added into cooking food.
Unfortunately, I have no money to buy salt, so I say. The lady looks forlorn and says nothing.
Cooks the food without salt. She doesn’t eat because she’ll not eat food without salt.
Then a discussion ensues. ‘You are a man you should have money at all times’ she says. I say ‘this is the one time I have no money’. She says ‘I don’t believe you.’
Then I ask, ‘why didn’t you buy the salt? I know you have the money.’ She responds ‘Mine is female money. You the man are supposed to bring and pay for everything at home.’
I am gobsmacked. The lady has money to buy salt but will not buy it because I have no money to buy salt.
Herein is the quandary. I am not at home neither am I obliged to buy the salt because this is not my residence. I am a visitor okay.
I wonder are such matters which seem minor in the scheme of things bring discordant in a home. Can the aspect of the man not having money to buy salt really make or break a home? Whatever happened to partnerships. Is it only give, give society that it has come down too?
It is heart wrenching if the foundation of any form of relationship is reduced to money and lack thereof.
Totally flabbergasted. Now I know what to do next time. Have my own salt in the drawer and she can cook saltless food. I’ll add into my food at my leisure. I will be visiting this place a lot more often therefore I will do the cub scout motto of be prepared.
Not very happy person at this point in time.
The dynamics of gender are not lost on me but I am finding them ever the more complex. How one wants to make a point in regards to gender roles about unspoken rules baffles me immensely. How then can the women be emancipated if they still think in a dependency format rather than the independent format? Do the women play the gender roles because society dictates or because family dictates?
All countries in the world have enormous issues, however, the place that the US of A holds, in the world as the only super power warrants that what happens in America does affect the rest of the world. Hence the adage when America sneezes the rest of the world gets a cold.
Let us hope that the perception that Mr Trump’s campaign has caused will be eased by the reality of governing the country and by default the world.
To the new administration wishing you all the best in healing the polarized world that is watching your every step.
Yes that musical brotherhood that encapsulates my childhood and wonderful memories are coming to Tawo.
So, Kool and the Gang are coming to Africa, specifically on November 12th 2016, they will be in Kampala, Uganda.
Under normal circumstances I would have gone to see them.
I made some errors of judgement vis a vie money. I lent several people money with a promise that I will get paid on 31st October 2016. It didn’t happen and they are not returning my calls. I feel very deflated and having been warned not to do it. I went on and did it. I went on and lent money.
So, I will miss Kool and the Gang.
I will not be around breathing the same air they are breathing.
I will not see and hear the sounds of my youth like
When I was in University, I got introduced to Volunteering. You see as an international student my background didn’t have any form of volunteering.
Therefore, I took it up with gusto and took up all kinds of activities from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) jailathon in the city of Honolulu and then the student activities as well.
What I found out, is that volunteerism has a steeped culture within the American society. And also one was not doing it to get paid but rather for the altruism of helping someone else. So when this other volunteer gig came along I was confronted with altruism of being paid.
The gig was for medical research and they needed a certain type of person, age group and social background to which all fit me. Well I was to be paid after all the medical trials are done.
I grappled with the idea of being paid but when I spoke with the medical staff I was informed that it is customary that any Pharmaceutical company that does any drug trials does reimburse the volunteers. So there is nothing to be worried about and also you are going to help many people world over from the results of the drug trials.
And so I took part. I made many friends in the process and also learned a number of things about myself most especially discipline.
One is not supposed to eat or drink after a certain time.
One week were supposed to be in-house at the drug trial facility
On other times we had to be at the drug trial facility only on weekends (That meant bye-bye to dating and hanging out with friends).
Was it worth it? Yes, it was both financially and also finding out more of myself with what I can do and also not do.
To Volunteer or not to volunteer turned out to be the most rewarding moment in my university life.
The other aspect of dating that threw me off guard totally is tipping.
The simple gesture of gratitude for services rendered, tipping in other words, is loaded with mine field repercussions in Kampala city.
Yes, I use tipping as a form of litmus test for the ladies I date. If they are for it then she’s my type. If they are against it then I am going to move on and avoid future clashes of opinion about yes, you got it tipping.
In establishments that are well known brand names tipping is not a must nor is it one the service bill(receipt) you can tip according to the way you feel after the service, However, in the local establishments tipping means totally a different proposition.
My rule of thumb to tip it is 10% of the bill. Now most establishments in Kampala do not add that service charge on the bill(receipt).
When my friends sat me down to explain the pros and cons of tipping in Kampala City I was left in shock. I am made to understand that if I tip any waitress that is not working within the brand name establishments, places like Sheraton, Hilton or Serena Hotels then chances are that the waitress that has received my tip will feel obliged to return the favour on my ‘investment’. It is the way that many men use this method of investment to get sexual favours. When I heard this I couldn’t believe that such a gesture could be construed too mean loads of other things you know.
Honestly, dating in Kampala is an expensive affair but it is loaded with mine fields of innuendos that one needs to understand before going out. I would not want to end up in the jail-house or at the end of a barrage of fists because of innocent actions taken by me without really understanding that they can cause some serious repercussions.
Dating in Kampala has its adventurous side of things as well. I found myself on the road on this high speed Boda Boda whizzing me from one place to the next with babe I am dating sitting in front of me and the Boda Boda guy in front of her. Making that three of us on this Boda Boda. The wind that was blowing in my face and hair really brought it back to me. I am on a date with this babe on a Boda Boda. I do not have to worry about the tipping or not to tip issues I am enjoying myself and the babe is leaning back into me. The warmth I got from such an innocent but real act of her leaning into me made the ride all the much better. What a way to enjoy the closeness of another person without it being lewd in a sense but very wholesome.
In Ug, love is equated with how much you spend on a girl. The more you spend on her the more she feels and knows that you care for her and love her. This is what I was told by the second girl I went out on a date.
This is a very new concept to me. As a returnee that wants to make sure that each dime lasts I find dating an extremely expensive affair that is only one way. By this I mean me spending, spending with nothing to show for it but a terrible bank balance. Welcome to Africa I have been told many a time. I seriously need to find a solution around this issue.
Having said that, the ratio of women to men in Uganda is high. They are extremely beautiful. The word ugly doesn’t exist in the lexicon vis a vie Ugandan women.
They look good and carry themselves with aplomb and stature.
Everywhere you look you see beauty in abundance. With this beauty comes caution, namely be careful these beautiful ladies a number of them are HIV positive and the ARV’s are making them look good.
These women don’t want you they want your money. Once it is gone you are gone too.
These beauties have many more men you are like one in 10 that she’s seeing.
I am yet to hear something positive. It is as if the women folk are a different specie to us men folk. There’s nothing that they do right except look a whole lot hot and beautiful.
It took me awhile to realize that my friend was referring to me. You see I had been advised that as a returnee and looking around for a partner I need to be aware of the following.
Just keep the correct company and you will be fine. Remember that you are a hot cake.
Be very cautious with our young ladies. Everything is about money here and we are talking big bucks. Also a golden man (meaning one in his fifties) is going to watch out what generation you target for a wife!
But there are some older not married ladies in our circles who would make good wives and give you peace of mind. By the time I got this advice I had already dated two ladies and I had spent some money on them. Their demands of what they needed from me varied from a new Smart phone, to a new wardrobe of clothes, to starting a new business a chain of Pharmacies, transport to and from work and the clincher I love you we can start a family together.
To me I took this as aggressive marketing right. However, when I was describing this to a friend I was reliably informed that it is desperation and returnees are seen as the glimmer of hope that will ease their predicament.
How then can one avoid such ladies?
The kind that milk you dry and professing to love you
I am told that it is the passage of time and that one has to go through such ladies in the dating game before you find the one.
The one, not the one to marry or be your partner, rather the one that will swipe you clean, professing her love for you, promising you a baby and then you would have evolved into a true returnee. I didn’t like what I was hearing and I made my views known. I had to short change this process immediately and I didn’t know how but I sure wasn’t going to be wiped clean. I couldn’t afford it financially nor could I afford it sanity wise.
The thing returnees have to undergo in the process of being immersed in the host country culture can be intimidating to say the least.
The more I paid more attention to the women folk the scarier I got.
Advice given was scary.
The caution given was scary.
Even fellow women spoke about their fellow ladies in such a way that I was left more petrified to say the least.
How then can one avoid such ladies?
I don’t know. But this much I know. I am not going to fall victim of them ladies that milk me dry.
To Be Continued….
The pitfalls and insights
My topic of reference being a returnee back to the motherland, the pitfalls, the insights of what one should do before returning and as we all know if you do not plan then it means you plan to fail. Too many managerial clichés. Right.