So fruck out

Okay, this right here...

                                                                                        …is fucking creepy.

It is called an “uncontacted tribe”, the politically correct term for people who have been living in the deepest isolation from the rest of the world, and I am completely fruck out by it.

They exist. Little pockets of them.

I always wince when I hear someone refer to members of a different ethnic or racial group as “them” but this time it came so naturally.

They are not us, they are them.

Little pockets of ‘em (which is even more detached than “them”) exist, apparently, around Asia, South America and Brazil, living their simple, uncomplicated lives as hunter-gatherers.

These ends we are haharing over whether to take DSTv’s latest price offer and finally install a satellite dish in time to watch the NBA finals, haharing over my next blog post, haharing over getting my StanChart Visa Debit Card reactivated, then suddenly this is thrust into my face; that in this world of mine, which I think is so vast and complicated and bewildering, there are hunter gatherers, living in populations of just around 100, who DO NOT EVEN KNOW THAT THE REST OF THE WORLD EXISTS.

You have no idea how much this is freaking me out.

Just the other day I was bellyaching about how one of the problems with the modern Ugandan is how landlocked he is, mentally. (Dudes never think beyond their immediate experience, you know, and it makes them narrow-minded and shallow, you get, eh? And they don’t even realise how superficial they are because they have never ventured far enough into the world’s sea of information to even countenance that further depth is possible. You know? I swear. It is tragic. Anywhoo.)

No, I don’t really say “Anywhoo.” I just put it there to lighten the tone of the paragraph. Come on. I don’t say “Anywhoo.”

I do NOT say Anywhoo. And anyone who tells you they have ever heard me say Anywhoo in their lives is a despicable liar and a traitor and a bag of smouldering, perfidious evil on legs!

(Deeeeeeeep breath.)

We were talking about the Uncontacted Tribes.

I was saying, this is the real out-freaking part: It is not just that they exist, it is that the people who found them…

… are going to leave them alone.

This is completely freaking me out.

I mean, look at this: these people living short, ragged lives, constricted and myopic, and not even knowing how much more is possible? How much more  you can do, how much more you can be as a human being, as a society. Isn’t there any one of them, maybe the one in the corner there—that one– who sometimes goes off alone to think, to dream, and then sighs when the sun goes down because he figures that he ought to abandon such fanciful notions because they are vain and useless and he needs to get back to what he thinks at least is the “real world”?

I swear.

Culminating in a plea

All you fans of literature with a capital L will be pleased to have learnt that this year’s Caine Prize shortlist was been released. (If you are particularly astute fans of the written word, you may suspect that this writer attempted to re-tense that sentence after suddenly discovering that the release of the shortlist occured weeks ago. So this was not news any more. He didn’t want to let go of the story, though, so he just switched some tenses and proceeded.)

The shortlist is massively exciting news and you should all be clutching your chests, but some of you can barely raise your drooping eyelids. Philistines! Well, if you need help understanding what the big deal is, try thinking of it this way: if there was a competition for best Afrian p*rn, and the judges released a shortlist of the best flicks, it would be similar to this news, except with the blood in the wrong end.

Tell mummy the Caine Prize is here


An Aside

Speaking of p*rn (you can’t write the word in full otherwise you attract sp*m) we are still going through the necessary formalities before R. Kelly’s inevitable conviction, as you know. There was extra drama outside the trial, Thursday. A 48-year-old mother of three was arrested on contempt charges after yelling “Free R.Kelly” at jurors on that morning. As she was led away she may or may not have recited: “It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  (Geddit?)

A hint

f Blogs really were better than newspapers, as some have claimed, we would have a Kirk Franklin concert review online by now.

A kick to a dead horse

Say there was a hypothetical bar conversation where in which an imaginary, fictional, legally non-actionable chap spoke of a president (similarly fictional, hypothetical, imaginary and non-actionable) was flying in his helicopter to some remote part of his developing country. The president saw a sprawling building below and asked what factory it was.  He prided himself in being a hands-on pres and thought he would know about any new factory being built in his land.
He was told that it wasn’t a factory. It was the country home of one of his ministers, (who would later be charged with corruption).

If such a thing happened in Uganda, (as opposed to in this fictional country) you would only hear of it in rumours in bars. The most egregious crimes of corruption cannot be reported in the papers; I mean, how do they prove that it even took place? Kirunda should relax. The press is not “out of control”. We are very well-restrained. Sigh. One day I will run into Angelo Izama  again and ask him. He knows.

A plea

There was a series of commercials that ran on CNN back in the day, where they had eminent actors (John Gielgud, Patrick Stewart, Ian Mckellen and others) reading some speeches. They read from Tennyson’s Ulysses, from Shakespeare, they read Invictus and they read others. I know they are on Youtube somewhere, but I can’t remember the name of the bank or any other details I can use to construct a viable search query. Can you help me? If you do, I promise not to link to the picture of why you should not go bungee jumping when your girlfriend is around



The ravelled sleeve of care

Back in the day, long long ago, prehistoric eons of time past, in days hidden in the mists of history, I was a showbiz reporter. You, know, kind of like that Ivan Musoke guy.

I used to go to highly-billed entertainment events, swan around the premises, watch people get drunk and hit on each others miniskirts, count the number of times My Love Is Your Love is played and then after that, write an article about it.

I was very good, by the way. Don’t be there thinking that just because I am a crotchety old fuddy-duddy in the present that I have never been a happening dude. I used to rock.

One night the assignment was to cover a Silk anniversary bash. They used to be a big deal.

We now take a break to address those in other countries and in regions outside Kampala. Guten Tag, Klaus. Silk is a popular Kampala city nightclub that used to make a huge deal out of its annual anniversaries. Ja. Ist sehr gut!

I didn’t drink on the job, you should know, because that was just a terrible idea. Once I got high at a party and found myself talking to Sagara about the two of us writing the story up together. Imagine. The things you do when you are blazed!

Well, a couple of Guinness, but that was it. Never more than two.

Now, as we all know, Silk and the offices of my employer, the New Vision, are on the same street in Industrial Area, Kampala. It may not make a lot of sense to Klaus, or to Nicolette and Rene for that matter, who have planned cities with zones designated for different activities, but in this random mess called Kampala, where whatever is scattered wherever, we have our nightclubs next door to our newspaper offices.

This meant that, after covering the Club Silk anniversary, I could easily walk right into the office and type out the story. Cool.

I was among the last to leave the party that night, though it wasn’t by plan. I was actually quite shocked to discover that it was 5:30 when I walked out. It made no sense to travel all the way to my home in Kyebando for a nap then return to office to type out my article.

This was long long ago before the days when people could send their stories in by email the way Ivan does when he doesn’t feel like riding all the way to Industrial Area on his jet-black Kawasaki Ninja. (He says email is cheaper than fuel).

Not that there was no email—email had been invented, it just hadn’t proliferated to the suburbs. If you wanted to get online in those dark ages, you had to take a lot of money to Commercial Plaza and book a seat at The Dome CyberSpace. Five K for half an hour what about.

So, I thought to myself, self, just trot the few feet to your office and write the story mulundi gummu.

(That means “once and for all”, Klaus)

Self: “Good idea, son. Let’s go.”

The New Vision askari didn’t think it was such a great plan, though. He insisted that the office is off limits until opening time, which is seven. I tried to bargain a bit, but he was adamant and it was six by the time I realised that he wasn’t going to budge. This option then presented itself: Just sit over there on the steps outside the office for an hour, then you can go in, type your story, and go home.

Self: “Good idea son. Let’s do it.”

When Joyce Namutebi woke me up the reception behind me was full of people. I asked what the time was and she said, smiling as brightly as the sun in my face, that it was almost nine.

No, I wasn’t embarrassed that half the staff of the corporation had walked past me sleeping in the doorway. I have no shame, what about. I went in, wrote the story and went home. It’s called being “dry”, Klaus.

Look. A cunning trap

Let us call him Jonah, because Jonah is a name that is fun to type. Jonah is a man living in rural Uganda.

He lives in Ggaba, that is to say.

Don’t be mad, Munyonyo, Muyenga and Ggaba residents. All of Uganda is rural. You are all villagers, you just don’t know it. 

  ggaba malls

Okay, okay. I know. Only showing the poverty and never showing the other side of Africa. Kale. This is where Jonah lives:

posh house in Ggaba


Anyway, back to the topic. Jonah has a son. Who is called Jonah Junior, because a name like Jonah is good enough to be used twice.

I shall change tenses now, if you don’t mind. Thank you for your gracious permission.

Jonah Junior was undergoing a Ugandan education, the poor fellow. But you know what they say: The only thing worse than an education is no education.

He met his father at home after school on the day after all the people on the radio and in the letters pages had not only won the fight to keep Christian religious education on the school syllabus, but had engineered the syllabus to include all denominations, as a compromise to appease those who argued that religion should not be taught because, well, Protestants didn’t want their kids learning about Mary.

“What did you learn in school today, progeny?” asked the elder Jonah.

The younger Jonah replied as such: “We learnt that the Catholic Church, under the infallible Pope, is the true church of Jesus Christ. We learnt about the exalted place of Holy Mother Mary, and how she intercedes between us sinners and her son, the Lord Jesus. Can I have some money to buy sabs and kabs from the man down the street?”

“Wash your filthy hands first,” said the father to his son. 

The next day, the setting was the same, but the dialogue different.

“What did you learn in school today, my issue?”

The younger Jonah replied: “We studied Evangelical Christianity today, so we learnt that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon and that all her traditions are modified pagan rituals. Can I have some money for sabs and kabs?”

“I gave you a thousand shillings yesterday!”

“Yeah. I spent it. Duh.”

“You ate a thousand shillings worth of sabulenya and kabalagala. I won’t even punish you for saying’Duh’ to your father. What your stomach is going to do to you in a few hours will be punishment enough.”

Then Jonah broke the fourth wall, because it is something I have always wanted one of my fictional characters to do. He looked at the readers and said, “Guys, my son is going to have a running stomach. It takes a while for the oils to build up to potency after one has overeaten sabulenya and kabalagala, which are deep fried fish and banana snacks, but eventually they achieve critical mass and boom. But even if they didn’t, is it a good idea to teach all these different religions in the same classroom?

“I know, we like to say that Christianity is basically the same, (and sometimes apply the ideal to all religions) but the fact is, even though we may all believe in the same God, we don’t all believe the same things about Him. Only casual Christians think the differences between denominations are superficial and insignificant.The truly devout know that they are far from that — they are the difference between heaven and hell. Apostasy and heresy are grave sins. Look at this son of mine. Tomorrow he is going to learn about Jehovah’s Witnesses, who will dispute everything he has been told about Evangelical Christianity. Sigh.”

I think I am very clever, the way I snuck a speechy-preachy soapbox post through like that, making you guys think I was just writing about fried food. Heh heh.

Let me make ammends by presenting this photo of an attractive R&B singer wearing a bikini.

attractive r&b singer

I told my very dear friend Tumwi (whose own post on the issue I haven’t read, for fear of being intimidated by how erudite and well-researched it is going to be) that I will blog about a Human Rights issue—specifically freedom of worship and how separation of church and state is vital for the protection of free worship, so let me yell the following words at you as you run away.

It is the nature of Governments to abuse power, so to be safe we must allow them as little power as possible. We certainly must not allow them to have religious power, because religious power is incontrovertible. If you disagree with your religious leader you are not a dissident, you are a heretic, and a sinner. You be there.

Also, a picture of Angela Angwenyi.

 Angela \"Ang Ang\" Angwenyi

Sabulenya, for example, is deep-fried Nile Perch, coated in dough. It is delicious if eaten straight out of the pan. Vubi remembers how we used to swallow those things like mood-altering drugs back in the day.

When religion has political power, it expresses this by treating sins as crimes. It starts with small things, like making MPs swear on the bible, then it moves on to stuff like locking adulterers in jail. It goes on to give life sentences to homosexuals.

Next thing you know we are all eating sabs all of Friday. No burgers.

Have you ever heard of the Spanish Inquisition? Johan Junior will probably learn about it in Gaba PS soon.

That’s the weekend. Now, let’s go and read Tumwijuke.


No Love Lost

Before we get into this week’s festivities, we have an announcement. The announcement goes as follows: “Vubi!! Dude, is that you? Eh! Guy, hit me up on the email! I’m at! I swear! Imagine!”

End of announcement. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. Presenting, the next episode of Fictional Office I Swear Fictional.


Stressed Out Reporter: IT, the computer isn’t working
IT “Worker”: What is wrong?
SOR: If I could tell, I wouldn’t be on this end of the line, would I?
IT “W”: Could you describe the problem?
SOR: Okay, the thingy that is supposed to do in the nanakani has gone kaput. Dude, I am  not the technician in this conversation, I don’t know what the problem is. How about you come here and find out? The computer isn’t working.
IT “W”: You mean it has frozen?
SOR: Once more for the cheap seats: If I was conversant in the technical terminology, I would not be working in editorial department. I would be in IT doing whatever it is you guys do in lieu of work. Perhaps coming up with new ways to put up restrictions and barriers and passwords and permissions to make everybody’s life more and more difficult. But enough of this gay banter. How about you come over and fix my computer?


Sensitive Colleague: Man, Are you okay? I never see you like this.
SOR: Like what?
SC: So rude. Talking on the phone like that. Why do you treat IT that way?
SOR:  Aate how should I treat them?
SC: I don’t know. Like human beings, perhaps?
SOR: They are not human beings. They are trolls. Like the ones in fairy tales which eat children.
SC: That’s harsh.
SOR: Believe me, the contempt is mutual. I think they are insufferable and smug and on their part, they think we are all idiots. There is no love between us to lose.
SC: I think you are being too judgemental. You are stressed out. Maybe it is something you did to the computer that caused the problem in the first place.
SOR: Even if it is, the principle remains. I am a reporter. My job is to write stories. If the stories are not written, I take the responsibility. IT’s job is to make sure the computers are working. If the computers are not working, I have to take the blame for that, too? Even if I am the one who messed up the computer, it is still their job to come and fix it. Where are they anyway?

In comes Level-Headed Colleague.
LHC: Here, give me the phone.
Picks up phone and dials IT.
LHC: Hello, IT? There is someone here surfing Facebook.
IT “W”: WHAT?? Facebook?? I’ll be right there!!

IT “W” arrives 40 seconds later.