Uganda’s Class of Uncle Ruckuses

An American statue doing maalo with some brilliant Ugandans

I have discovered a great new way to get blog ideas. Just wait for someone to say something I disagree with — but not disagree with enough for me to take seriously, something offensive that is stupid, rather than harmful– and then boom! Type out seven hundred words of snark.

This has actually been the staple of many decorated humourists. Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee… all of them get their material from watching Trump and waiting for him to say something dumb and boom, they have material for the next show.

Now, like Juliana copied J-Lo, I copy Trevor Noah, by performing mockery.

Today we are going to talk about the slimy pond scum that festers atop the putrid swamps of corporatistan, steaming smug and self-righteous vapours into the social media.

So the Mengo SS debate team made a trip to the World Debate Championships in Harvard. It is alleged, reported, claimed in some circles that they won matches against American schools. Specifically, they made it to the pre-finals. Of the WORLD championships. In the process beating various other competitors, including some American ones.

The members of the group of professionals who inspired this post (I imagine they had their branded polo shirts tucked into their chinos and were wearing spotless Adidas running shoes, had dyed the grey bits out of their hair and wore genuine ray-bans on their foreheads. That is the kind of person I imagine. And yes, that tone of judgement you suspected is very much real. And yes, this includes the women. This parenthesis is too long. Let me get out of it.) heard this and said no, they will not kowtow. They poo-hoo’d the notion.

Now you know what that means.

“How”, “since when”, “that what”, and “of where” were the general assessments that rose from the throng. Africans to beat Americans at Harvard? Shyaaa.

Let me tell you the difference between people and pathologically ignorant people. People know they are ignorant. People know everyone is ignorant about something. Everyone has information they lack. No one knows how much they don’t know.

But for pathologically ignorant people, among the things they don’t know is that they don’t know a lot of things. They really believe that what they have in their kokonots is all they need, all that is, and all there ever will be. They are not conscious of the possibility of data outside their hair.

It’s not empty. It’s full of light.

And it gets worse. They think they are the normal ones. They think everyone is like them. And so everyone who disagrees with them is below normal. Is actually stupid. Give them new information and the hollow bone on their neck will say it does not exist. They can’t conceive of it, therefore it is not conceivable. They don’t know it already therefore it is a lie.

And the way they do it is impressive in a way you don’t want it to be. You will be awed and you will feel the urge to admire it; you will not want to but a feat like this is one that you will admit is not a mundane one.

They will look at the fact, there in their face: Absolute, evident, present indisputable, certain and existent.

And still say no.

African cannot beat American.

You know how it ended.

Now our first impulse will be to dispute this logically by showing examples of how Africans surpassed western Caucasians in their own fields of endeavour. Academics, science, the arts, university debates, etc.

But there you are also being kind of dumb yourself, because you are neglecting one inescapable problem with reason and logic. Namely how hard it is to prove the obvious. How do you demonstrate wetness to a fish?

A guy looks at one of the many People Uganda is full of who came back from the best schools abroad with stellar degrees. Looking at a human Ugandan who went to LSE and did a series of examinations and did not end up being the bottom of the class in each one of them. Meaning that they did better than at least a few native white bazungu in London.

And yet the gufish is still blinking at them saying, water? There is no such thing.

What? Nara!

It is as if they have an organ inside, I will call it the dumblongatta, that acts as a firewall to facts. 404.


Worst is the air of smugness with which such things are said. The speaker assumes his or her philosopher pose as if about to utter a rare and unique revelation that only those privileged to be as  brave and astute can are aware of. Everyone else, these gormless fools beneath their level are so naive.

It’s because someone told them that it is more clever to be cynical than to be optimistic. They tried to be clever but failed and now the only vestige of cleverness they can grasp is the cynicism. But look. They are cynical against realism as well.

They insist that Africans ain’t no good. That photos of Kampala with streetlights and electricity must be photoshopped. That Ugandan hard work and enterprise can not possibly yield such a thing as a rising GDP, that no one can cut her treated hair off and opt for a look that feels and looks more comfortable and rewarding unless all the pains involved in this decision are undertaken with the sole purpose of impressing them.

The luck thing for us all is that cynics are useless. They can’t do anything to stop us. Let them grunt. The rest of us will carry on. Doing what we do.

Congratulations to The Mengo SSS debate team.