The lying in wireless

I went to Simba Telecom at Lugogo Mall on Friday to purchase a bluetooth adapter. That is a little gizmo that would perform two life-saving tasks at a go: The first would be to enable  my shitty bomboclart virtually useless Nokia 5000 to communicate with my computer and be less useless in the process. The second would be saving me the bother of buying a new phone. 

Those are not actually two tasks, come to think of it; it is one task in parts. Like a burger. 

In the shop the tall, helpful Indian man with the greying temples stretched his long arm out towards a display case and extracted a box. The packaging said it contained a Linksys Wireless-G USB Adapter. The tall helpful man said it was what I was looking for.

One of them lied. And it was not the packaging. I discovered later that evening when I tried to use the Linksys Wireless-G USB Adapter that it had no idea where my phone was. 

Does everyone in the class know what bluetooth, is by the way? I may be getting ahead of you. I do that sometimes. Hazzard of intelligence. 

Let me explain, just in case you are not with me. 

You see sometimes a phone has pictures on it. Pictures taken with the phone camera. The user of this phone may want to post these pictures on the internet, perhaps to his blog. Usually the user sticks one end of a wire into his phone and then inserts the other end into his computer and then shakes the phone a little bit. The pictures then slide down the wire (which is called a USB connector cable) and soon land inside the computer.

But if he has a bastard crap piece of nonsense phone like the Nokia 5000, he cannot use any wire at all. The only way he can get the pictures to the computer is through a fancy sort of telephone teleptathy called Bluetooth.

Now the phone knows how to speak in  bluetooth. But the computer has to be literate in this ethereal language too, so as to receive these thoughts.

In short, when a bluetooth-enabled device speaks, only another bluetooth-enabled device can understand. It’s like how women communicate. 

Hah hah! Little joke there. Trying to lighten the tone a bit. Yes. Umm. Well… moving on. 

You can attach a bluetooth gizmo to your computer to make it bluetooth-enabled (I am not going to say it’s like hormone therapy or anything like that, because I don’t want to continue with the gender stereotyping joke. Really, gender stereotyping is not my thing. It’s only women who can make sexist jokes and expect to get away with it. (Hah! Got you! You didn’t see that coming, didja! Two nil!)

So the computer, with the new gizmo from Simba Telecom sticking out of its side, could not hear the phone. I had been given the wrong device, I discovered. This was confirmed by my geek friends over the weekend.

So I have to dash over to Simba Telecom and get a replacement. I shall do that today. If I am successful I shall be able to put the nice picture I have on my (very very bollocks, stupid and lousy) Nokia 5000 phone up on this blog. Which was the point of the whole story.

Don’t you ever get that feeling?


I want a new phone.

Okay, I don’t want a new phone. I want to want a new phone.

It’s quite schizo, actually. You might want to stand back. And get some protective covering. Hazmat suit.


There is a certain feeling that one gets from a new phone—the way it curves in your hands, its weight, its shape, its texture, the way it lights up to offers you its hidden delights, the way the whole world feels new and exciting again when you have a new phone.

I want that.

The problem is the only way it will work is if I actually wanted a new phone. Then the new phone feeling will have soothed a nagging itch, answered a persistent desire. It doesn’t work if you don’t actually want a new phone.



The current phones are, admittedly, very boring. The Katoorchi doesn’t pretend to be interesting, but the  Nokia 5000 is surprisingly very much more bollocks than you would expect. But that is no reason to ditch it and get a new one. There is only ever one good reason to get a new phone and that reason is that the new phone is awesome.



You have to lust after it. It has to call your name in the middle of the night. It has to insinuate itself into every thought. It has to make your girlfriend jealous and your boss suspicious. It’s not enough to just not want your old phone. You must want your new one.

And I can’t find a new one I like. 

You understand, don’t you? You know what it’s like, don’t you? I can’t be the only one.

Ah Donwannabeyanithin Otherthan Mey

Rock star Gavin Degraw was in Uganda recently on a charity mission. He was here to help distribute mosquito nets. Insert reaction.

Tumwi speaks on   and Reuters reports.

You may have said, “What a nice man Rock Star Gavin Degraw is.” Or, if you know who Gavin Degraw is, you might have said, “OmgomgomgGavindegrawomg!!!!1111one!!”

Some people would have felt a twitching in the back left corner of their cheek. A slight sense of discomfort. And then wondered why this sort of thing would make them feel uneasy.

This may be what Tumwi referred to in her post on the subject. I know Tumwi well enough to never take it for granted that I fully understand what she is thinking, so please, I am not speaking to Tumwi here. I mostly speaking to myself, actually, because I also felt that unease when I saw American celebrities do this type of thing in Africa.

We do know that there is a huge problem. Malaria, refugee camps and poverty are words that spring out of the Reuters story and buzz around your poor head like, well, a swarm of mosquitoes. We do know that something needs to be done. Certainly, by someone. But who and what? Him and This? A popstar And a People Magazine photo op?

It cheapens it somehow, don’t you think? It mocks the massive suffering of thousands of human beings when it is converted into a gold star on the shirt of a practitioner of the most trivial, most superficial, most hollow artform of the modern age—pop music.

And you could be offended by that—the idea that refugees are being used to boost a pop star’s ego.

Of course that kind of depends on who Gavin Degraw is. If he is a self-centred egomaniac whose publicist tricked him into doing this, and he was shocked to find out that he was not going to be living in a Marriot suite in Nakivale, and he swears when he gets back into the States he is going to throttle that publicist, then some outrage might be justified.

But I have heard the songs Gavin Degraw has written, however, and I am inclined to think otherwise. I think Gavin Degraw is a person like everyone else, who on hearing that there were people in need of help, was glad to do whatever he could. He is a regular guy who had the time, money and opportunity to lend a hand, and so he did what any of us would do.

So I can’t be mad at Degraw. Or the UNHCR. The rationale behind their act is unimpeachable. 4,000 kids in this camp are treated for malaria every month. And in refugee camps malaria is different. It doesn’t just mean a couple of days off work. People die from it. If only they had enough nets in the camps. Can you imagine? A net costs like ten dollars. Do you know how many Americans just blow ten dollars every day on junk? They just live their lives, buying cokes and big macs, watching MTV and adoring pop stars and never giving a thought to the kids in Nakivale mu nsili.

Now, if we could turn their attention from the pop stars to the camps for just a bit, they would know that for just ten bucks… wait. What if we ask Gavin to come to the camps. He could… he could RAISE AWARENESS.

It’s like a cunning trick to dupe American teenagers out of their cash.

But if it works, then why not do it? 

Is that feeling still there? Yes it is. Because what happens after the star goes to the camps is not a sudden awareness of the profound suffering of the people there followed by a corresponding commitment to do something, even if it is just posting ten bucks to Nothing But Nets.  What follows is a sickening spectacle.

Salma Hayek visited a maternity project in Sierra Leone, where she found a lady who could not breastfeed her own child. Hayek asked if she could take over, given the fact that she, Hayek, was still lactating herself.

The point of the programme was to make Hayek’s fans aware of the plight of Sierra Leone mothers. Instead the news hullabaloo that resulted spoke of Hayek’s boob, Hayek’s motherliness, Hayek’s grandparents in Mexico who also breastfed other people’s babies, the gall of Hayek to just take someone else’s baby just like that. And in all that noise I couldn’t even find a mention of the baby’s name, let alone the mother’s. 

Now, once again, I chose to believe Hayek did it for the same reason I believe DeGraw did it—the same reason you and I would—to help. But I can understand if when scenes of your people’s suffering are turned into a footnote in a celebrity trivia story it bothers you. 

Is that it? Is that the feeling? It’s  the tabloids, the silliness of the whole concept of the entertainer as a hero, the whole notion of celebrity. Blame TMZ and Perez Hilton, but hey, Degraw brought nets, so big ups to him, right?

But there is something else. 

Degraw is the one who brought the nets. A bunch of Americans connived with Degraw to seduce his fans to part with ten dollars each and the nets arrived.

Degraw fans in Uganda were not consulted. Utterly ignored. It’s as if they didn’t even know we existed. Could it be that we feel slighted? Or that we feel guilty that 4,000 kids got malaria last month when we were blowing our ten dollar bills at Effendy’s drinking Alvaros while listening to I Don’t Wanna Be over the speakers, and we didn’t even know.  There is something wrong with this system. It’s our own country right here. We should not need American pop stars to help our awareness of the refugees in our own country rise; we should know about it already. Sympathy, education, patriotism, reading the news should be enough to get us informed. 

Maybe we are offended that Nothing But Nets didn’t call us, or maybe we are guilty that we sat here waiting to be called. But there is something there that doesn’t feel good. 

I don’t know what conclusions to draw here. I’ll just echo Tumwi. Something doesn’t feel right.

Uganda Vs Nigeria

A while ago I wrote an amusing blog post which contained the following passage: 

Have you, my dear readers, ever met a Nigerian? One thing about them is that they hate the generalisation (and I do realise that I just generalised). The idea that Nigerians are thieves must be as offensive as, well, being instantly associated with Idi Amin once you identify yourself as a Ugandan.


That wasn’t the amusing part. The amusing part was in the rest of the blog which you may read (for your amusement, possibly) here.

This post is consistently one of the most-visited on this blog if the WordPress statistics page is not only saying nice things to get me into bed and I wonder who these people are that visit that one post daily?

One of them left a comment the other day.

Ho Ho Ho. Merry Merry … Mr Bazanye, didnt my country give you people some handouts, i dont know where your from but i guess it o.k since i am talking from ignorance… i cant be charged for any crimes. Wether you like it or not Nigeria is the most powerful oops … influential countries in AFRiCA.. no body drills black gold like us ..No 4 on the list .. we have trillions to spend, while your people starve mine get up and fight to survive, yes my system is bad.. am sure ur’s is worse.

WHat right do you have to make such generalisations.. dont be a fool, many have spoken ill of Naija bt it dont stop… we are mutherfucking filthy rich even in U.S wether our cash is legal or not … we go it…


Normally I don’t respond to this sort of comment, but I really need a new blog post so here we go. Plumbing the depths.

I don’t even know where to start.

This man is offended that I made fun of a Nigerian criminal, he somehow feels that this is the same thing as insulting all Nigerians. He feels compelled to defend his nation’s reputation and this is the best he can come up with?


Nigeria is the nation that gave Africa Soyinka and Achebe, the nation that gave Africa Icarus Girl and Purple Hibiscus, the nation that gave Africa 2 Face and P-Square, the nation that gave Africa Femi and Fela, the nation that gave us Nnaji and Noah, the nation that gave us the Super Eagles for crying out loud. And when in his misguided way he feels that this nation’s reputation is under attack. this is what he presents as defense? “we are mutherfucking filthy rich even in U.S wether our cash is legal or not.”

There are few things more damaging to a nation than ignorant patriotism. For starters, Nigerians are actually poorer than Ugandans– with 70 percent of their population below the poverty line, compared to 33% in Uganda, and Uganda ranks two places higher with our HDI: 0.505.

Of course this doesn’t prove that either country is better than the other. When it comes to it every country has its bad sides and its good. Every country has its  criminals and its heroes. Every country has its rich and its poor. Every country has it bloggers who get emails from Nigerian thieves too, but, unfortunately, Nigeria is the only country which has this fellow.





Thankfully, there are more sensible forces at work to clean up Naija’s reputation. According to the Evil Western Media Conspiracy, (BBC)  The Nigerian government Tuesday “unveiled a new slogan “Nigeria: Good people, great country”, and a logo to go with a campaign called Rebrand Nigeria.

“Information Minister Dora Akunyili, who made her name as a fierce campaigner against fake drugs, said the country’s reputation was unfair.

“We must shed this toga that says we are untrustworthy, unreliable and ungovernable,” she said.

She admitted that the country did have real problems with poverty, corruption and infrastructure, but that wouldn’t stop them trying.

“Some people say: ‘Why rebrand now?’ Nigeria cannot wait until its solved all its problems before addressing its image.”


The event was marred, however, when as the EWMC continues to report: 

Thieves stole a mobile phone belonging to a member of a new team campaigning to improve Nigeria’s image as a country riddled by crime and chaos.

Isawa Elaigwu told the launch of the “rebrand Nigeria” campaign he noticed the phone was gone minutes before he was due to address the event.

“As I was entering the gates of the conference centre I noticed I had been pick-pocketed,” he said.


Eh. Banange.