Jumia isn’t African? Then what is?

There is a website (or, depending on how much you care, a mobile app) in Africa… or not exactly in Africa… let me start again. There is a lot of ambiguity about the subject.

There is an electronic entity that can be accessed by internet connection devices within Africa that is called Jumia.

It took me eight drafts to settle on that.

What Jumia does is many things. Among them, it communicates, through metaphysical agents in the ether called “cookies”, with the spirits of our forefathers. When the ancestors hear you saying something like, “I feel like the beach this weekend” they report immediately to the cookie on duty, which then slaps an advert for a bikini into your facebook feed. It happens to me every single time.

Another thing Jumia has done is hire the most tedious, slow witted, dumbmule ever, one with not only a dry mango seed instead of a medulla but also a PTSD-level phobia of reason to act as a customer service representative at their call center.

But these are incidental to their main purpose. What Jumia mainly does is connect Ugandan merchants to Uganda customers through means of website or app (If you have the time and MBs to download and keep an app for buying a desk lamp. Nobody should have that time).

I have complained once or twice about Jumia, but to be fair, I use their services a lot; frequently enough to be regularly satisfied, to rely on them and to instinctively find myself thinking of Jumia before I even think of physical shopping.

Jumia operates like that in various countries most, if not all of them, African. So you have all these shillings, francs, kobos, naira, kwacha, cedis and mitwaalo swooshing up and down its veins and arteries. But, in spite of all its lifeblood being official African legal tender, it isn’t African.

One of the Jumia capos said it was during an interview about its listing for the Grand Altar of Western Capitalism– the NYSE, but a few of us quickly spotted discrepancies in the utterance, such as: its founders are French, it is incorporated in Germany, a significant aspect of its day-to-day computer maintenance is situated in Portugal and a few other offshore attributes were brought up to contest the claim that Jumia is African.
It apparently isn’t.

I am not here to argue about that. I am here because I am scared now. The implications of this. The ramifications. The permutations! If Jumia isn’t African, what is?

Let me tell you the story of Bridget Namuli.
I can’t forget the day I first saw her. She was at the boda stage calling each of them a different cattle disease and singling out the last one on the left for that ailment where the rectum collapses inwards. She was both threatening and preparing to throw some bricks at their stupid faces, and the prolapsed rectum was frantically reaching for his helmet. Street harassment, boda bodas need to learn, is a game of Russian roulette. With Bridget Namuli it is played with Vladimir Putin’s very own ssassi limu.

I said to my heart, “Dude, Don’t. Don’t.”
But it was too late. Heart was already through the three states: Paltipates, accelerate and syncopate. It was over. Brain just gave up and instructed mouth to sigh wanly. I was looking at my next few years of therapy. I was looking at my next nervous breakdown. I was looking at my future baggage.

After the bodas had apologised and she allowed them to get off their knees, we got to talking and chatting and I began the rapid descent into love with her.

Bridget was awesome. I thought I was the Tony Stark of kitchens, but she cooked better than I did. She had mastered luwombo, kalo, malakwang, …
I thought I had a forked tongue, but Bridget could curse a nigg at considerable length and with sufficient impact in eight different languages: Runyankore, Langi, Lubara, Luganda, Lusoga, English, and Kikamba.

Kikamba because,in spite of the fact that Bridget operated entirely in Uganda, she was actually incorporated in Kenya.

Her dad was one Mike Mutua, a roving loser with unruly testicles who knocked up a Ganda girl, one Janet Namuddu, while loitering through Uganda. He tried to do the right thing and take her to Nairobi with him to and raise the family but he was still a loser and had to be ditched and dumped. ‘Twas ever thus with trash. By the time Bridget was four years old she was back in Kampala being raised strong by her single mum.
Bridget was so Ugandan that she knew the lyrics to every Radio and Weasel song. And she knew what they meant. All the double entendres.

She has bribed LDUs, drank kwete, spent a night in Dangala, fired an AK47…she is way more Ugandan than a lot of us.

I on the other hand, grew up in Kenya. I was there from age two to adulthood. All the processes: the germination, the opening of the cotyledons, the first bud and leaf, the processes that lead to the emanation of the roots that a person will dig into the land beneath him or her happened to me when I was on Kenyan soil.

The thing that makes the love of home did not come to me in Uganda.

Now I have been in Uganda for as long as I lived in Kenya, I feel I am a part of Uganda, but not in the same way. Home is a part of you as much as you are a part of it. And that part of me is elsewhere.

I am part of Uganda in the way that I am a part of the enterprise that is Uganda, I am a part of the mass endeavour to draw this thing to success. I have a strong commitment to making it work. I want Ug to win because then I will be part of a winning country. So I pay my taxes, I abide by the law, I complain about government and I buy Uganda build Uganda.

But that raw, deep down, love you have right at the centre of your spine where the roots begin, that love that connects and lights up the whole self when the skin of the feet touches the earth of the land? I don’t have that. Not in Uganda. I have not felt it for 20 years.

So, how Ugandan am I? I am not even actually incorporated here either. NIRA sent my forms back twice because I fill in forms like a trained journalist: that is, I answer the question asked with the immediately available fact, not whatever you had prepared yourself to hear.

And I can’t get my passport renewed until I get that national ID, so I don’t have one of those either. I have no documentation establishing my Ugandanness.

Which means, if the minister who seems to have said it wasn’t just belching that when they withhold citizens’ rights from those who don’t hold the magic cards, I will be as good as a German, Djiboutian, or Wakandan.

There is also the fact that I am bailing on you guys.

Look, I’ve been here for 20 years and I have tried my best, but it’s come to the point where I just have to admit it. You are doomed. Uganda is set on an exponentially steepening incline sliding irreversibly into the darkness of Stalingrad at midnight. By the time I am celebrating the first anniversary of my escape you guys here will be surrounded by Stazi, Gestapo, the SS, KGB, Bureau of State Security, state informants, youth brigades and will have to greet each other saying “Long Live Our Dear Leader.”

Social Media clampdowns, press stress, party militia, and then ID cards? ID cards? Smells like Stalingrad, walks like Stalingrad, quacks like Stalingrad.

But I will be in Germany at the time, running a blog/podcast/video African dissident web platform from a flat in Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin.
We will broadcast under VPN to whoever has balls that haven’t been ripped off by torture. There will be an entire collective of us. Tanzanians, Burudinands, Egyptians, Sudanese, Zimbabweans, Algerians..

Radio Free Africa. Incorporated, staffed, and funded (from our salaries as fast food workers) in Germany. Will we be African?


Get fat, get old, get a nice suit

Turning 40 is the most significant change since turning 20. You’re not just chasing a horizon, you are crossing a border. New freedoms open up.

Twenty meant I could drink, drive, default on tax, renege on contracts and it was no longer illegal to let you have sex with me.

30 was a tepid non-event.

Turning 40 was more momentous. I woke up to realise that I was just better. The protracted activity of growing up was at a palpable culmination at last. Yup. Bodas call me muzeeyi now.

I put on weight, for starters. For all my adult life I have been lean as a snake– 70kg and 32 waist, and those were my proportions and vital statistics. Until the 40s arrived and I got a paunch.

I could finally wear a suit like a boss

You don’t understand how important this is.

A slim man in a suit can look good.

A slender man in a suit can look good.

A svelte gentleman can look dashing in a tailored ensemble outfit, but without a significant, well-earned well-nurtured and properly-cultivated roll of belly fat that is all you get: a pretty boy.

A portly man in a suit, though, looks impressive. He won’t fight you, he will have his lawyers file a lawsuit against you. He won’t pick your pocket and steal your phone, he will embezzle your ministry’s millions. He won’t get fired. He will be asked to resign.

And I am almost there. There is just one problem…

If you have lived right then, compared to your twenties, by your 40s you should have more money, more power, more you, more other people, more skills, sense, direction, clarity; all the important things an intelligent human needs.

But there’s this: you become an adult at twenty. Up until that point you are in development. Larvae is infancy, pupae is adolescence; you think you are old just because you have been alive for 20 years, but they don’t count. The first ten you were a child. The second ten you were a teenager. Now, at 20, you are out. Product launch. Brand new. Adulthood. You have just started now now.

However, for the next bunch of years you are going to abuse, poison, neglect maintenance, and wreck that body and mind of yours with bad sleep, poor diet, insufficient exercise, drugs and alcohol and, from what I gather from these statistics among millennials, repeated infections of multiple STIs.

Plus your body isn’t bouncing back as fast as it did when it was still in building stage. Now it’s accumulating the damage. That stuff is building up. You are getting weaker. Then when you are 40 is when it starts to show.

I used to do four weekly columns for Vision when I was younger, including Bad Idea. That requires a lot of cortisol, so four or five times a day I would scoop a fisftul of ninja-black coffee grounds and dump it onto the biggest kasengejja I could find. But then, given the amount of sugar I would have in the cup, I couldn’t fit much water into the concoction. In the end I was imbibing noxious black syrup all day.

The smell was so strong that the sub-editors would call me all the way to their bullpen when I had just brewed a cup. I thought it was because they loved me and my charming ways but they would send me away as soon as (Name withheld) also left. I later found out that they were using the smell of my coffee to mask the smell of his kavubs.

I think that is why I have IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It means you can’t digest certain foods, so you get bloated when you eat them and get this massive buildup of gas. It can leave a man looking pregnant.

I can’t socialise after nine thirty because that time is reserved for flatulence.

It’s the only reason I am not Forty-fat yet. Because I can’t eat as much beef or drink as much beer as is necessary, but still…

I’m in my 40s, and I still have the other benefits. Like you are aware of more. By which I don’t just mean you know more– A lot of the things that make us wiser than kids are things they already should know. They have been evident, right in your faces, and will be for the next two decades. It’s just that youth can be so narcissistic, so self-obsessed it never looks beyond itself long enough to see them.

But reality doesn’t need your acknowledgement. It will wield its fist regardless. You will bear its impact. You will feel its blows. And if you are smart then by the time you are 40 you will have learned its lessons.

You can not just see but understand and become aware of what you are, what things are.

Youth thinks people who act different are weird. When in your 40s you see people acting different and ask, “What does he/she know that I don’t?”

You learn that love is a lottery and the odds are against you, so you stop feeling entitled to it. The best you can do is make yourself someone who can be loved, then love yourself, love others, and if the angels’ blessing falls, hope you are ready not to screw it up.

Another boon of turning into your 40s is having left the last rat’s ass I had to give on the last day of my 39th year. In your 40s you not only don’t care what people think as much, but you actually relish the look on  20-year-old’s faces when they see you dare do something sensible instead of something conventional.

You realise that money is a confidence trick which only works as long as you believe it. Value has nothing to do with price and wealth is not about what you buy, it’s about what you have left after what you buy.

This article has been illustrated by photos of stuff I got from my new health food providers called Kwenu. This is the link to their facebook.

It’s the moral of the story kids. Take care of your body, take care of your mind, take care of your heart. Drink thunderstorms of water, take in the evening walks, read and learn, open your mind and eat your vegetables.


What Kwibuka Means To Us. All of Us

I was a kid when it happened but already old enough to understand too well that this sort of thing isn’t an African or a Rwandan or a Hutu or a Tutsi thing.

I had just been watching it on CNN, nearly every day there was an update on how far along Bosnia was in murdering itself. Plus I was an inquisitive kid, always reading things that should have been kept beyond my reach, so I knew about Stalin’s Gulags, China’s genocides, Americans wiping out native peoples, Amin’s purges of Acholi and Langi in the army. And I was to see it again and again. Both LRA purges and Anti-LRA purges, then Kenya was set on fire…

It was clear that this thing was not ethnic or tribal or racial. It was a human thing. That is what we were like. It is always easy for us to decide to kill each other.

I grew up anxious because I knew it was always there somewhere, a flammable undercurrent beneath us just waiting for a spark.

Like an ugly thing floating at our back calling us names. You see it and hear it too. You just can’t call its name…

The thing that can so easily one day turn into a machete at your neck.

And we could be going for anyone, because anyone human can be dehumanised and “othered”. The poor. The NRM government staff. Muslims. Balokolole. The rich. Indians. Mixed tribe kids. Residents of Kulambiro. Another tribe.

And you want to think that when this happens you will hide and stay out of harm’s way. You could be one of those who runs and hides. Refugees. Fleeing the crossfire. About suffering they are never wrong, the old masters. Most of us will just want out.

But this sort of thing could easily find you in spite of yourself. A small mob barges into your house and puts a knife in your hand and says those words that underscore the acts of tyrants and warmongers and demagogues all throughout history: “Either you are with us or against us.”

So you have to protect your life. Or your family. They will threaten your family. They usually do that sort of thing.

You can’t talk them out of it, you can’t appeal to their reason. You’re asking for what? Mercy? Compassion? Goodness? These guys are not being fueled by evil that can be convinced to convert to goodness. The worst evils are done by people who believe with an unshakable passion that what they are doing isgood. In their eyes, you’re the evil one for asking them to stop.

We can all love our people enough to die for them. But loving them enough to kill for them? That person you are trying to plead with already proven to himself that, in his estimation, he is better than you. You are the evil one, the traitor, the coward, the turncoat.

But it’s not as uncomplicated as good people and bad people. It’s as complicated as genocide.

That’s why Kwibuka means so much to me. It means that while we are at peace we can grow our kindness towards each other. We can love and share across the superficial differences. Eat together, dance, give hugs, miss one another, laugh and exchange the joy in each other’s hearts not in spite of our differences but in full, certain, absolute, knowledge of our sameness, that stuff that runs along the heart and is felt in the blood. Our abiding, eternal sameness.

And if the madness comes and burns? This is what Kwibuka means to me: It means that it ends. And the ashes settle, and we remember ourselves and we return to ourselves and we sit at our table and 25 years later, we don’t forget or pretend it never happened, but we can be kind to one another, see ourselves in each others eyes, and avenge those fallen by doing what should have been done instead: sharing.


Fresh Kid vs Ministry Wollocks

Hip hop music is a controversial thing. If it isn’t the guns, drugs, misogyny and violence, then it is the dude trying to convince us that our years of optical instincts are lying and that discoloured teeth, larval-stage dreadlocks, eyes half-cocked from prescription drug abuse and a series of tattooes indistinguishable from a network of scabies scars makes for a really handsome fellow.

But hip hop music is also controversial within itself with fans of different subgenres always hissing poisonously at each other across twitter horizons. Fans of trap music regard fans of old school gangsta rap with the derision of a jackal crossing paths with a hyena. Fans of 90s hardcore see Drake and Logic as an abomination that should be stricken off the earth. Fans of east coast underground would rather eat a snake’s placenta than shake hands with a fan of conscious rap. Fans of Old Kanye just need a dark room and the assurance of no witnesses to stab fans of New Kanye four times in each kidney.
And nobody likes jazz-rap fusion.

I particularly detest Miggles. And not in a mature way, like a seasoned music lover who, after leaving their teens, muddling through their twenties, and growing through their thirties learns that any generation’s diss of a particular music or song is a shot in their own foot because there is always an equivalent to that exact same clown in their own past. You hate Iggy Azalea? You had Vanilla Ice. You hate Jonas Brothers, you had N’Sync. You hate Little Urinal Ooze, Cardiac Be, 21 Sewage and the like? You had Juvenile, Master P and No Limit Soldiers.

When it comes down to it, you, as an individual, are not the standard gauge for music quality. If some one enjoys the music, then whether you feel the same way or not, it is, by definition enjoyable music. You shouldn’t judge.

You should not, but I do. I can’t help it, but play Miggles and my ears just vomit it back out. And I am not even sure it is Miggles himself. It could be any one of them. They all sound the same to me. New niggas is just new niggas.

Which brings us to Fresh Kid.

He is a lugaflow artist in the vein of Fik Fameika, Feffe Bussi and, if they have an ilk, all its constituents. A pneumatic little potato prancing across youtube screens. His songs struck me as so un-unique, so un-exceptional, so typical that, even though they are massively popular and are always playing in someone’s kafunda, or the radio your taxify or your askari’s ka-bluetooth speaker, I had no idea what he even sounded like: he just blurred into the rest of the noise.

Until the best publicity a Ugandan musician can get was visited upon him.

If Justin Smollet was Ugandan artist, instead of performing the worst casting, directing and cinematography production this side of the Venom movie, he would have done this instead: just have a minister ban him.

No one even knew who Panadol W’aBasajja was, (and we have mostly forgotten what, if anything, she still is) except during the 15 minutes when Mr Lokodo unwittingly conferred upon her those tens of thousands of extra views.

I love Bobi Wine music, but Kyarenga is the first Bobi Wine song I have stopped to listen to in years, as if he doesn’t release a new single every thirty hours. Then they banned the concerts. Now, I love that song. For two weeks I started every morning shower singing, “Eyalama doi doi!”

Fresh Kid is a seven year old rapper. Seven years old.

I can’t not picture him toddling onto stage in a onesie squeaking, “Fwech kijji in ja houch!! Chwoy you henj in ja ayaaa! Yike you juch don cayya!” Then breaking out in tears, “Mummmmy, jach one ij not chwowing!”

He performed at some ill-timed event recently– YKee Benda’s concert, my research staff tells me– ill timed because it took place at the moment when when the Minister In Charge Of Youth Affairs did not at the particular moment have anything too rigorous to minister over, and had time to check out some dope rhymes and phat beats.

She had nothing pressing on her table, nothing to concentrate fully on, nothing deeply absorbing, like for example the conundrum of Uganda’s teen pregnancy rate (24 percent in general, rising as high as 34 in rural areas) vis-a-vis young people’s access to safe sex education and protection (Of those 24 percent, half are unplanned and 88 percent happened because of lack of access to effective birth control) and the question of why our policy is so stubbornly “We shall only protect the obedient children from the potentially life-crushing consequences of early sex, but as for those kids who we brand as naughty or stubborn because they are just children, children who don’t know any better because they are just children, children who make mistakes because they are just children, children who need to be protected from themselves the most because they are just children, when it comes to those, our policy is we shall let them get HIV/AIDS, STIs, unwanted pregnancies, abuse and assault and go to hell; thus hath the government of Uganda spoken. May God Uphold only those of thee we like..”

No, she had time to check out the latest hits.

Which I can’t say I understand exactly, this notion of a minister with time for rap. I am barely employed right now; I’m just a freelance writer and upcoming screenwriter. I am not really that busy, but I still haven’t found time to listen to Middle Child.

So Minister Florence Nakiwala (Minister Flow would be a dope rap name) managed to catch a few bars of Fresh Kid.

You know how when you don’t like a rapper you just tweet some shade and that’s that? If you are a cabinet minister of Uganda, you do things differently. Like when you want a chicken rolla, you don’t just jump on a safeboda to the trading centre, you get three cars and a dozen armed cops to come with to some fancy hotel that serves them at 34,000 each.

So the minister made a statement on national TV in which she clarified the problem, i.e. that Fresh Kid was a kid, and since, ministerially speaking, money should not be earned by those under 18 — Children should not rap; they should be in school, to the best of her knowledge — she therefore recommended that Fresh Kid stop rapping and go to jail.

Ooops. Or go to jail Sorry. Autocorrect.

Now, at this point I need to make something clear: Fresh Kid can spit, his rhymes are fire, dude has bars, and other statements like that which all mean he is very good at rapping.

He is good at cliche brags about how popular, how admirable and how worthy of your envy he is. That’s what rappers do. The point is to do it well, which he does.

But even more than this, he is capable of articulating a relatable and incisive point about the struggle we all go through to better ourselves in a nation where the odds are against our success, odds which include our own government.

That’s what he did in this song, his response to Minister Flo-Rinse.

I won’t commit myself to calling him a keen writer, but whoever wrote those verses that Fresh Kid spit….

So we should be coming to the point of all this by now, but, I began to suspect around the eighth paragraph that there really wouldn’t be one.

I don’t even think the minister meant what she said. She must have been — What do they call it when a minister talks without thinking first? “Misinformed”.

Patrick “Fresh Kid” Senyonjo is properly fully currently enrolled in an educational schooling institute serving at this time at a Primary Two level. Also worth mentioning is that the law does not demand that people below the age of 18 starve to death– it actually is legally permissible for them to earn a living.

These are obvious things. No one assumed Baby Gloria wasn’t in school, or threatened to arrest her for being paid by Movit or whoever.

The problem is not The Miggles. The problem is that we take these ministers too seriously. Or that we take them seriously at all. We assume that just because someone in a formal outfit spoke into a microphone in a setting designated for utterances of importance, that they know what they are talking about or, even worse, that they mean what they say, yet, often times they just dislodge their jaw, unclench their tongue and, with neither us nor them having any hint of what is going to happen next, cry havoc and let loose the dogs of bullshit.

Then these mouth-farts become headline news and trending topics and the perpetrator has to run with it. They can’t back away, they have no choice but to convince themselves to believe it.

Nilepost reported here that Fresh had to miss the large part of a school day this week to go to the Minister’s office and show how weekends work.

“Infant rapper Patrick Ssenyonjo alias Fresh Kid, yesterday skipped the bigger part of his school day to meet with Minister of State for Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi.Fresh Kid together with his parents Paul Mutabazi and Madrine Namata and manager, arrived at the Minister’s office in Kampala…

It says she “cleared” him to proceed with his little career, as if it is up to her to decide who gets to sing on Saturdays.

I loved the intro of the report — it started with teeth dug deep into the meat of the matter — but I think we still could do better. We should have ignored Nakiwala completely in the first place. If we just stop wasting our time on ministers who talk out of the wrong end, maybe they will stop wasting their time doing so.

Until Nakiwala has something to about providing for impoverished dropouts who have to sell blackening mangoes in traffic to support their families, let’s just tune in to some dope music instead. Like Taki Taki.

Since you are here, can I link to my weekly Nilepost column House of Falament? Read it also. Every Wednesday we go up. Verre funneh.

NEW COLUMN: House of Falament members believe Uganda Airlines can be a flying success


You Think You Have Seen Heat?

Because it was so much hotter than typical reason could justify, rumours and speculation ran rife. It couldn’t just be the sun, we reasoned; something else, something more spiteful must have been involved.

Some said it was because of Cindy and Sheebah. Some said it was typical NRM. Some said the gods of the Nile don’t like the new bridge. They found it too showy, too derivative, copyish and cliche. “Now all those lights for who? Is it Christmas bridge? Just being so extra,” was, allegedly, the comment from one particularly offended lubaale.

Then there are those that say it was the equinox at play.

Mbu equinox. Africans already have enough problems without the perpetuation of barbaric beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery like equinoxes. Let’s be rational, scientific. Yes, we had an equinox but that was not the culprit.

And yes, the Nile demigods do feel the bridge is a fugly stick, but that is not the culprit.

In Kyebando, where the most popular rolex stands are found close to the wetlands, people get typhoid after being bitten by a mosquito. It doesn’t mean the mosquito gave them typhoid, does it?

What I’m saying is, equinox notwithstanding, the heat wave had another, more significant contributor: Global Climate Change. Your buveera, deforestation and support of the US and China economies which are so prolific at earth-destroying that they essentially make pollutants out of pollutants is what did it.

The heat is gone and it is raining now, probably as you read this. Maybe you are under the shade of a bus stop, sniggering at the oversimplification I just made of China’s ecological impact, muttering, “Bazanye, is so shallow! Must be a Makerere product!” and maybe you are a pretty lady with a very attractive eighthead.

If that is the case and a dikuula sidles up to you like he think he smoove and starts asking a Mr Google for your number, don’t panic. Google does has an astonishing amount of your personal data, but the query doesn’t work unless you say “OK google”. You’re safe. Secondly, do this.

The heat is gone, and it is raining now… Well, I say rain, but really it’s just mean little drizzles, about 20 drops that flutter down for like a quarter of an hour then vanish. Most of it evaporates before it hits the ground. Useless.

But this apparent change in the weather is no change at all, I am afraid to say. This is the same pattern as the heat wave. It’s the same GCC. The sequel to the franchise, the spinoff to the series. This is not showers of blessings, this is not a rain of mercy. Climate change rain is doomsday rain, slouching towards Bethlehem. We are using the waters of armageddon to fill our water tanks, letting the waters of the apocalypse flow down our taps.

Don’t get comfortable, Bwaise. The rain will increase to flooding. It is not yet too late to learn your lesson and leave. God has already forsaken your hood, who are you to stay?

I consulted a reputable meteorologist and can confidently say the city has eight years left (the confidence comes because the words “reputable meteorologist” contradict each other). Eight more years and Kampala will no longer be habitable.

Then I re-consulted, this time with a reputable urban sociologist and got slapped. That snap-out-of-it, get-a-grip-on-yourself slap we see on TV that we now believe is acceptable first aid treatment for crazy talk.

“Kampala is already uninhabitable,” I was told and now translate from Luyaye. “It is a shambles that daily adds more confusion to itself, piling disorder onto disarray. Compounding confusion to chaos on a constant basis.

“We don’t live in Kampala, we survive  it. We don’t live in Kampala, we just make it through Kampala. We don’t live in Kampala, we just manage not to get killed by it for another day.”

But eight years is a fair estimate to my future as the Communications Advisor of the Water Chief of Mutte Fiefdom, which is now a poor neighbourhood of Masaka, but which will rise to power and prominence with a regime so brutal it will make you daydream of oppression just to escape reality.

This is what will happen. The Water Chief, master of the only stream with clear water, will be a millennial, but his top adviser will be a generation X guy– possibly me. The chief will be weak-willed and pliable, charged with hubris, addicted to praise, easily manipulated by flattery, absolutely ignorant of his/her ignorance and therefore the perfect puppet for a Gen-X cynic who saw the Soviet Union, apartheid, Kony, Amin, Mobutu, and Moi, not to mention Puff Daddy, Suge Knight, Agent Smith and Doctor Robotnik… and has distilled every single lesson of power abuse in the twentieth century from all of these sources.

Museveni will, of course, still be president of Uganda. But due to the series of secessions, the economic collapse, the breakdown of communication when traditional social media is usurped by small pirate echo-chambres, all that will be left of Uganda will be a few square kilometres around the Hoima oil fields. It will be the most impoverished of all the destitute states around it because of how worthless petroleum will have become.
What do you want oil for? Cars? Cars don’t exist anymore. Neither do roads. Neither do destinations to drive to.

Now, some say that climate change is still reversible. I believe scientists. But…

Picture the three-car convoy of some high-level government official. A chap who was bullied as a child but learned as a teen that to kiss the right bums not only gives one security but also that the stench of a stronger person’s effluence can give one the courage to do some bullying of one’s own. So he drives everywhere in a Land Rover with two police trucks fully loaded with the kind of thug who doesn’t know which lives matter.

Picture the kind of convoy that assumes that if we can’t climb onto the pavements to give way because so much of Kampala doesn’t have pavements, we should climb our cars onto each other to make way for him.

Yes, the cars that make these convoys have full gear transmission systems. They can reverse.

But just because reversal is within their capacity doesn’t mean it is going to happen.  

Anyway, enough about me. How have you been?


Why We Wear These Clothes

Your shoes, hair, hat, boxer shorts if you have on low slung jeans while astride your boda, and the rest of your clothes in general always say something about you. Even the most robustly unfashionable among us, (that’s me) is aware of that.

Your apparel is in constant chatter with the crowd around you, collaborating in a joint statement about what, who and why the heck you are.

As innocent an act as draping yourself in fabric is all it takes, and off they go. They will be screaming slanders about you all day. You sit at your desk, naively thinking that by being quiet you are being silent, but no. As long as you are visible and clad, something is screeching wolokoso about you at everyone.

I am short sighted. Short Sighted but still perceptive. So I know that what I wear has some impression it makes. That’s why, at least once in a while, I do make an effort to curate the statement issued. I will probably to draft a release like, “Don’t be frightened. I am merely eccentric; that’s the harmless form of crazy.” with a plain blue button-down shirt and black khakis.

Most days however, I won’t try so hard or, honestly, at all, so the message sent will just basically be, “Leave me alone; go exercise your presumptuous, pretentious, faux-psychic, quack-sherlockian, hack-mentalist kamanyiiro on someone else. Don’t waste the misapprehension that you have the right to an opinion on me because I will not acknowledge it with anything but the most curt dismissal: basic jeans and a tee. Go to instagram and judge a Kardashian there. That will satisfy you better.”

You know, I keep it simple

I have the same general view on my choice of frames for my glasses. They were always thin, black and as unspectacular as possible (You see what I did there? I am showing off. And I’m not yet done) because I recently began to see things in a new light. You could say my eyes were opened. I had never envisioned this, but it appears I was being myopic, not taking the full scene into view.

Lately I have changed and now realise that some items of attire look good. So now I care a little, a relatively, but significant little, a minute but measurable karittro more about these things. Like, instead of just t shirts, now I wear nice t shirts. Some of them kind of fly, too. What can I say? I had taste all along.

This time I most def had a message. Link here

I am not going all host of NBS Catch Up with a K or The Oozy Vertical, nothing so flamboyant, but sometimes, maybe a modest little flourish here, a wink and a grin sparking out of an otherwise unremarkable ensemble. It gives me a mild dopamine kick.

Besides, I am told dressing better helps provide confidence. When you interact with people, confidence helps and clothing can provide that.

But I am not an introvert. I am a misanthrope. I don’t require confidence to interact with people, I require patience and dressing a certain way helps expedite certain interactions that would have otherwise been more tedious. Like the collars, jacket and tie combo that we learned during our hustling days is essential when you go to get your cheque.

If you are still youth and don’t know this yet, always go for your payment in business attire. Jacket, tie and/or high heels. It’s like walking in with thunder and lightning swirling around you, and a dragon barking that Rihanna song. You know the one.

I have two pairs of glasses now. Got both from House of Penda.

Here is an example of This House of Penda I am talking about

The ones in the collage below, are my Clark Kent pair. Black, conservative, serious.

I think they will be very effective in coming months when I am sitting across a desk, a pensive look darkening my face as I absently remove the glasses and twirl them in one hand by the stem, just for a moment, and then, emitting a “hmmmm” in a tone of mystery, a tone that leaves the listener wondering whether I hmmmmed in Luganda or English, lip-bite the tip of the stem for a second, before I slowly, with both hands, in a single, deliberate motion, as certain and yet as smooth as a Messi free kick, lift them back to the bridge of my nose, then lean backwards, temple my fingers together, and, just as the bead of sweat that has been forming on my victim’s temple begins to become too heavy to hold, utter the words, “Okay. We have a deal.”

I may even practice doing it in the voice of Cottonmouth from Luke Cage.

Check out HouseofPenda on the socials. They have a great selection of frames. Twitter here, facebook here, and instagram here.

And now, a word from our sponsors. No, House of Penda are not our sponsors. I just like their glasses and mentioned them so that you know where to get some if you also like. Here is our sponsors:


Nasser Road, the duodenum of Kampala

I had business on Nasser Road juzi, which is such a dubious thing to say. It sounds like I am planning to stand for youth woman MP of a constituency whose latitude and longitude indicate that it is at the bottom of Lake Kyoga and that to show that I qualify for elections I require a certificate saying I hold an MA masters fiscal astrology or something.

I had business on Nasser Road juzi is, furthermore, not something we should be saying in 2019. Why does Nasser Road still exist? Why has it not been condensed into a 13 MB app by  now? Why do I still have to physically lift ass onto boda, don helmet and actually geographically move out of the conditioned air to go to Nasser Road? Juzi or otherwise?

I have not been in the CBD, or Central Business District, or Gotham, for so long that it feels as if I have never even been there. I mastered impeccable avoidance strategies that have kept me out of downtown, Jinja-Kampala-Bombo Road, Luwum, Wilson, Dastur and the whole morass for so long I literally can’t remember the last time I was there. All I have is nightmarish memories, and my mind pictures the place with the most extreme, most bigoted, most virulent, most hateful opposite of fondness

Like this writhing coil of pulsing, sliming species so devolved from human beings, so reduced to essential disgust that you, and me and all of us should not call them humans.

We should call them eugh-mans.

Pause for rimshot. Yeah. That joke has been submitted to the African Museum of Anthropological Research.

Jinja to Bombo Road is one long duodenum and everything on its surface is either proceeding toward defecation or expectoration. I’m sorry to be so gross about this, and I know I could have simply said “I don’t like the place because it is too crowded”, but if I did, what kind of man would I be? African needs Africans who are ready to say what is on their mind with clarity and courage.

I can’t believe I had to go to Nasser road.

Four elements compose Nasser Road. Stone (which makes the buildings and road), paper (which feeds the business as well as the inevitable thousands of rats) people (who, obviously, also feed the rats) and a suspicious smell I can’t describe.

I can’t describe it because I can’t actually smell it, which only makes it more suspicious. But I am certain there is one. The fact that I can’t detect it means it must be hiding itself, which just makes it more nefarious.

Nasser road is famous as a hub for printing businesses: book legers, receipt documents, file folios and the like.

It is famous for  printing, it is notorious for forgery.

I thought the  latter would be the only reason I would ever have to descend to that particular circle of the inferno –I don’t know where this feeling comes from, but I believe a forgery will one day be necessary, at some point in my life. Maybe it will be a fake marriage certificate. Maybe a fake divorce one.

Instead of either, though, it was a routine business matter that took me to Nasser Road. The agent of someone I work with needed me to meet him there to sign a contract.

Which brings us to the lesson for Uganda as a whole. Look, if we will not let the internet streamline and modernise business practices because we keep putting up taxes and laws to restrict its efficiency, at least let us allow the courier departments of the boda boda industry to do it. As if you can’t just send the contract on a bike, I sign it, and neither one of us has to hurt anyone’s feelings.


Behind The Scenes of #NotRadio

Due to circumstances well within my control, such as the steering wheel of my Spacio, I found myself at Blue Flamingo’s studios last Friday afternoon, there to witness with my very own eyes and ears, indeed with both of each organ, the performance and recording of #NotRadio

#NotRadio, as you have learned since you crawled out from underneath that rock (Nga tusanyuse! Eladde! Ab’e Olduvai Gorge mwabalese bali batya?) is Uganda’s first certified hit podcast.

Yes, we have had podcasts before. We still have them. A lot of them are quite good. Mine (now a defunct casualty of my attention dysfunction) was, I dare say, a significant fraction above mediocre in fact. But we have never yet had a certifiable hit, a blockbuster Michael Bay Disney Avengers Sequel featuring Drake and Kanye West plus Stan Lee cameo style hit.

#NotRadio (It’s written like that, with the hashtag. Don’t panic. Just allow) features the line up of Siima Sabiti, Rudende Nkurunziza and Karim Katuramu. Notable personages each.

Siima has the demeanour of one who would have solved a lot of problems if she had been in Seeta at the right time. I am certain that she could have said, “Let’s all calm down and relax, have a cup of tea and talk this through,” and both Seargent Namaganda and the brigadier’s bodyguards would have taken seats. Not least because you sense of a glint of machete metal in her eye, a warning that Siima may well have expert level capacity in applying chokeholds.

Rudende the evil genius is a man of capacious intelligence, conversant on the randomest of topics. It is as if he knows something about everything. In most cases something related to flatulence about everything.


KK is like a ricocheting bullet; his wit is fast, unpredictable, wild and lethal. I once thought of starting social media beef with KK. I knew that losing to him would boost my twitter numbers. But the problem is that he rarely tweets. Which is quite selfish, in my opinion. 

This trio first earned notoriety seven years ago as XAM, the morning show on XFM, 94.8.

Since then water has flowed under the bridge, down the trough, out the cistern and into the wetland. Rudy, Siima and KK do not present shows on radio any more.

But chemistry is chemistry, if you paid attention during Mrs Nsangyi’s class. The combination of certain elements will always explode the same way even if you combine them  years later.


#NotRadio is the reconstitution of these titans without the hindrance of R.Kelly music breaks. It is just the raw uncut, the bare bums, the nyarsh without the knickers, the pedal to the metal. I am positive without a doubt to taint my faith, that this is how God wanted it to be. No R. Kelly breaks.

I arrived just before the trio entered the studio and even though I should not have been surprised by this I nevertheless was shocked to see that each had a pen and paper in front of them. As if they plan and prepare and organise and schedule. As if this madness has a method to it.

Phil Jackson, legendary coach of the championship Michael Jordan and the championship Kobe Bryant once told me, via a documentary of course, that you need a lot of practice to make your art seem effortless. And if it doesn’t seem effortless you have not practiced enough.”


Obviously veterans, with their level of experience and expertise know how to do prep. But it didn’t feel like falling into Mrs Nsangyi’s study group. They kept segueing into conspiracy theories involving testicles and had a few enlightening and encouraging revelations to share with each other about something called the friendzone nut.

Yes, it apparently exists.

Then it was Showtime. And what Coach Phil said was true. Triangle offence. Powerpuff girls, Siima’s erudite exposition of the Michael Coheh deposition, Rudey’s sudden and abrupt … wait. I can’t tell you any more without spoilers. Let me leave the link here and you listen. After you are done, pick your butt up off the floor where it will be lying, having been laughed off.