Monday, August 20, 2012

Care

To still care. That is what mattered. No matter what prisons we thought we were held in. To still care. To believe change was possible. To be the change agents. 

Rwizi Arch lamp. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Now what you think you want?/So baby no moon and sky, got a beautiful sun..."



"I know we could have had it all
I wasn’t ready to go steady no not at all
Smoke and mirrors clouded my vision we hit a wall
Couldn’t see the moon and the sky behind the fog
Pregnant pause
Damn your baby tall, what you been up to
I don’t blame you my doll
Yeah, we kinda stalled
As God as my witness, timin’ was my mistress
I guess it’s in the stars for me to love you from a distance
Uh, our ship sail, uh, the wind blows
The door’s always open but our window was closed..."


                                                             The Moon and the Sky by Sade feat Jay-Z

Yes, it's for you.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Museveni Messiah or Megalomaniac?


 This profile of Uganda's President Museveni ran in a 1998 edition of Focus on Africa. 14 years later, it makes very revealing reading.

"Despite this it is hard to dislike Museveni, who has great personal charm. He is not threatened by dissenting views. He holds frequent press conferences and yawns widely if the questions are dull. He is a gifted public speaker and always willing to learn: he rings up businessmen and journalists to find out more about issues that interest him. He does not kowtow to foreign dignitaries.



It is easy to see how Museveni, who is a talented diplomat, has managed to glide across the diplomatic stage. He is funny without being frivolous, human without being intimate. He has a soft spot for women, and in particular for those whom he can assume a paternalistic role. During President Bill Clinton’s recent visit he tipped his head coyly and smiled at ‘his daughter’, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Susan Rice, who beamed back appreciatively. 

The president has simple tastes; he does not drink or smoke and takes tea from a flask. When he travels up-country, he carries with him photos of his children and also his cows. Pictures of both are interspersed in his photo album: a sad bovine face stares out of one page next to a photograph of his mother. He enjoys listening to praise songs to his cattle, played by a group from his ranch, and always available on a battered cassette-player to lull him to sleep. 

Museveni’s achievements, confidence and charisma explain the hold he has over much of the population-including the army, who adore him. But it has also helped to create a feeling that without Museveni to whip the government into line, the system would collapse. 

Museveni’s critics claim he has encouraged this view by refusing to give real power to his ministers and by stifling political opponents. He is rarely challenged partly because under the Movement system, political parties spend all their time struggling for survival rather than building alternative policies. The president laughs this off, claiming there are many Ugandans who could take his place when he eventually retires to tend to his cows...." 

Anna Borzello report(ed)s for the BBC from Kampala (Focus on Africa, July-September 1998.)  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My cheetah print notebook, brown coffee stained.


We did not have chairs. We did not have a table. We did not even have cups or real plates. The bed was bare, but for a mattress and I had continued to put off buying “real” bed sheets or a blanket. I only used a light duvet. It was a room I did not expect to spend much time in and did not, until you. 

I have never loved anyone like I loved you in that room. 

I remember everything that happened in that room. From the first time you came to visit with your friend, your ever so discreet friend who retreated to the compound so we could talk. To the time you came to sleep over, then stay. 

The first time thoughtless, not daring to ask you to come and see my room until you asked, “Where do you sleep?” Me clueless that my preferred sparseness of furnishing had even an aesthetic name (minimalism) hesitant, until you alarmed me, “Maybe you have a girl you’re hiding there?” 

I had thought you’d snort derisively when you saw it and when you had said, “I like it. I love the space. I love the airiness. This is so wonderful.” I had turned to look at you, studying your face for the suppressed pity smile. 

I did not expect you to squeal with delight, racing to the window, “Oh my God, your window looks into the forest!” I thought girls were supposed to be terrified of snakes, caterpillars and other crawlies that dropped from trees into my room. No, you were into animals more than I ever was, armed with details like sports fans with their statistics, “The more you know, the less you have to fear. Fear is ignorance.” 

I thought it beyond ridiculous how excited you were about my cheetah print notebook present, “That’s my favourite, favourite animal! How did you know?”
Were you real? 

I kept looking for your flaws, hugging your softness into my embrace, kissing your melting lips, drinking together straight from that White Horse bottle (I began to tell myself, ‘This girl could be dangerous.’) You know, I’ve not forgotten one bit of our love making. How could I? There are worlds and truths I’m still trying to reclaim you gave me arched back shattering glimpses of, known then lost. 

I now know why I lost them. I know why I lost you. I know finally. 

I knew when a cheetah print backed notebook spilled into my lap from the envelope left for me at the reception at my office. I knew, at last, I had lost you. 

You once asked me, back to me, in my arms by the window, “What do you really think of me?” 

I’m answering.  


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Charming Life


We wake. Or rather, I wake, and find you looking at me. 

I ask, “What are you looking at?” 

You say, shifting off your elbow, to lie back again, “I was not looking. I thought there was a mosquito,” 

Smile. 

It is morning and the house is still quiet. I want to lean in until my breath is tickling your ear and I can see myself in your eyes. 

My stomach tightens as I feel your fingers stroking tufts of my hair and I try not to sigh. 

You say, “Lie still.” 

I ask, “Would you?” 

“You never listen,” you complain, as you try to squirm my chin off your shoulder. 

I ask, “Do you want me to?” looking for your lips. 

“I’ll crush them,” you laugh, and I can’t see the sunlight trying to make its way through the curtains. Only you. 

“What are you looking at?” You ask.  

“I’m trying to watch the TV,” I say. 

“The TV is not on,” you’re laughing again. The juice foams noisily in the jar as you shake it. 

“It must be very cold,” I say, “I’m surprised there’s electricity today. Someone must have forgotten to switch off.” 

“There’s even some ice,” you say, filling four glasses, “What should we do today?” 

“We should go to the gardens,” I propose. The corners of your lips crinkle into a smile, “The real gardens,” I add, “Or walk.” 

Mark and Ian are playing balloon volleyball in the road, “Ian twirls like a dancer,” you laugh, lunging forward , to punch back into the air, the balloon floating towards us. 

Mark screams, “Mummy! Here!” 

“I should take a picture of you,” you say, but don’t move. Mark is asleep in the crook of my arm and Ian is insisting on trying to find room in my lap too with his Strawberry yoghurt can he will not place down for a moment. 

“You could help me,” I frown, sitting up a dozing Ian in the tub, as I scrub his armpits, but you don’t put the camcorder down. 

I’m turning out the lights, when I find you, in the blue glow of the silent TV, curled where I sit, smiling.

                             ~~~This Charming Life-Joan Armatrading ~~~
                                                           


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jay-Z, Beyonce baby Blue Ivy Carter is here


From Jay-Z website

" ...False alarms and false starts
All made better by the sound of your heart
All the pain of the last time
I prayed so hard it was the last time
Your mama said you danced for her
Did you wiggle your hands for her?
Glory, Glory, Glory...."
                 -----Glory (Jay-Z, 2012) 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

February Surprise, Umeme, Uganda, Promises


What’s really surprised me this year so far? 

There are people who are actually waiting for February to get midway and then the electricityproblem Uganda faces will magically be no more. We will have electricity 24/7. There will be no more loadshedding. We will be able to name-check events in our calendars not according to the UMEME loadshedding timetable anymore but according the significance of certain dates in our lives. 

There are people who firmly believe when the Bujagali hydropower dam begins humming into life a few extra MW, life in Uganda is going to be so much better. This switching on of extra turbines will be the harbinger of hit refresh button in Ugandan life. 

There not just still a few believers in the promises of the Ugandan government. It came to me, clean shaving my head, that the believers are the majority. It surprised me. It left me bald in surprise.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

'Remembering Okot p Bitek' Anthology: Call for Submissions

In celebration of Okot p Bitek’s life and achievements, we are inviting outstanding essays, reviews, scholarly articles, poems, short fiction and interviews directly and indirectly centering on Okot p Bitek's works and life. We are looking at the impact of Okot p Bitek at a personal level, socially, in literature, academically, historically, politically, culturally and how he was influenced in those ways.

This year on 20th, July, 2012 marks thirty years since Okot left us to the land of his ancestors. We are compiling this anthology to be published in July on the said theme of “Remembering Okot p Bitek”.

Word count: 500 - 3000 words (less for poetry where necessary)

Format: An attached Word doc/docx, times new roman, 12 point, double spaced.

Submissions: By email only to: okotpbitek2012@gmail.com
Deadline: April, 1st, 2012

 
As we continue to work on the project, we will keep in mind that the success of the project will be driven by both the quantity and quality of submissions. Tentatively, the anthology will be published by Kushinda in eBook format and distributed through Amazon’s Kindle format. We hope to publish the anthology in print later.

We will engage professional editors to review the submissions and give thumbs-up for the final selection for publication. As of now, the team putting together this project, in case of any communication, comprises of;

1. David Tumusiime – Lead coordinator and
2. Brian Bwesigye.

 
All ideas and volunteers are welcome in the spirit of celebrating Okot p Bitek, the man, his life and his work.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Life Goes On-2012

Hey you,


It’s been a while. More than a while. This is my public love note for you. Not sure if you are going to get it. I do still care. But I’m putting out here because this is my best chance you will see it. Not drunk-writing this. Or high on some caffeine high you always tu-tu’d-working your way away from.

I admired that. Though I never told you. I learned that from you. Working, doggedly, toward what you wanted. Through the window gazing tears watching him walk away, it seemed like with your heart, holding onto your principle, your dreams, your goals. He was not walking far, because he would open his car door & you would remember the ‘select music’ CD in his play system he had made for you and how you would never get to hear it again. Even through the trembling fingers iTunes recreations you would attempt-it would never quite be like the 4 hour afternoon ‘random’ selection he had come up with for you. The tucked away surprises therein his flawless music system would bring to the surface, like the musician sighing before the next verse…

Yet you never lost it. Would never lose it. Running. Running. I used to wonder what that was about. Now I get it. There were demons to get away from & you & you were running. Those morning jogs iPod plugged in-your exercise songs. I used to wonder about some of the songs-so determinedly cheerful, pumpy, blazing. My steaming cup of coffee, at the table, waiting for you to come on-after the run-disheveled and thinking it, wow, I must be a sight.

 
When would that chat icon light up? Briefly…’Hold on…I got to go invisible….’ Dim…then we begin…

Huh.

I miss that.

Would you again, same Gospel, tirelessly preach as if the first time each time, “I’m going to teach you to be happy…” 

That audacity used to me laugh, chuckle. I had tried that, I thought.

But you changed. I’ve changed.

But somewhere, when we do talk sometimes, you are still there, I’m still here.
Now work swallows you up, like it used to swallow me up even then. I no longer ask for new photo albums, more photos, come on-and you do not wonder if my photo remains the same, for weeks and weeks.

Even the music recommends are more infrequent.

But today, today, I heard a song ‘Life Goes On’ by Gym Class Heroes-and it was YOU-This was US-this is what we used to talk about-yeah, Life Goes On-and never let go of what is important to you-never...

“Lately it seems the good dreams are few and far between/ Nightmares are putting fires out with gasoline (damn)/ And I'm just tryna stay righteous/ Sometimes I see my own face in Christ's likeness/ And apart from my life's vices, fifteen years young had my first mid-life crisis/ But it's tough to stay upright and pious when people you hold highest be the ones that most biased…” 

Remember? I do. I know you remember too. A part of you does. And I’m working my way back. I will be there.

“Is it really that hard to smile?”