Imagine Uganda

If money was no object, what would you be doing with your life? If you did not have to worry about how your hypothetical future children would eat, or what your Aunty would say, or how you were going to pay the rent, what would be your reason to get up in the morning? If failure was not a possibility, how would you expend your passion? If there were no limits, what would you do with your life?

When my little sister was a kid, she wanted to be a marine biologist, hairdresser and makeup artist, all AT THE SAME TIME. Today she is about to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and we are all very proud of her. At the same time I kind of miss the naïveté and optimism that would allow a little African girl, living in a landlocked country to want to be a marine biologist. When you are a kid, anything is possible. Never mind that you hate science, never mind that you have only ever seen dolphins in books and on TV, the world is your fucking oyster!

My very first ambition in life was to be a dancer for Madonna. We had a little blue tape, a pirated copy of her album “Like a Virgin” that Dad would play in the car and I knew all the words, (though not what “virgin” meant). Now I look back and I am like damn, I could have done that! Madonna is 50-something years old but she is still dancing! Instead of touring the world and popping Cristal in the club, I sit in my little office typing proposals and reports like a trained monkey.

What happens as you grow up? I ask, but I know, I know because it happened to me. You tell someone on the playground you want to be Madonna’s dancer and they laugh in your face. You ask your mom for chocolate at the supermarket and she tells you “do you know how hard I work for this money? It doesn’t grow on trees you know.”

You tell your parents you want to study art as one of your A levels, instead of biology, which you are failing anyway and are told “you’re not going to spend my school fees finger painting with your hippy drug addict teacher, you will study Biology, and you will do it well!”

You decide you’re going to break free, live your dreams and study photography and they hold an intervention on your behalf. (On TV interventions the nice mzungu family sit you down and read you letters of how much they love you, in Africa they lock you in a room and beat you until you come to your senses).

How many of us ended up studying law, accounting, business, engineering RATHER than our passion? How many of us get a little buzz in our down-belows when we read torts or write proposals?

As a working man, you finally get fed up kissing your boss’ ass and hoping to get in a car accident every weekday morning. You decide that you’re going to do it now, quit your job, go into business and selling sand to the Arabs. You write an award-winning business plan, make an appointment with the bank for a loan, and hit up all your benevolent relatives for support. Then your girlfriend misses her period and your dream flies out the window.

Chris Devers flickr

I have heard it suggested that imagination and creativity a privilege; that when you are worrying about your next meal you don’t have time to create the next Mona Lisa.

I say, screw that.

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Why Mubarak should (have) stay(ed)

Why Mubarak Should Stay…for now….

First allow me to start with the usually concluding disclaimer that the views in this piece do not reflect the thoughts of Vuga, hell in a week they might not even reflect the views of the author. But for now, they do. So let us begin.

Hosni Mubarak should stay NOT for the sake of stability (he and his state police are the reason for instability in the first place), I’m not one of those stability over democracy because really I’m worried about national interest’s folks. No, Mubarak should stay, for now, for the sake of history not repeating itself. As the world watches the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura and as of a few hours
ago Suez; Obama, Netanyahu, Peres, and Mubarak are doing what keepers of the establishment do best. Figuring out a way of making little to no change at all, look like leaps and bounds for society.

If the current rumors of Mubarak stepping down are realized now it looks like Suleiman (who was appointed Vice President literally a week ago in a pathetic an attempt to appease protesters) will replace him. With his training in US Intelligence, and running of torture
programs on behalf of the Bush and now Obama administrations, the military man does not look like much change at all. Oh and to top it off, Israel likes him, so you can expect Egypt to continue to stand by and even encourage the Israel military’s extermination of Arabs more specifically Palestinians.

But I digress….

So if not Suleiman what options do the Egyptian people have at the moment? It’s either him, the Google guy on behalf of the youth someone from the unions and the Muslim Brotherhood. We already know the US and Israel are not letting the ‘brotherhood anywhere near a position of power (and frankly it doesn’t seem like the people would either). In a testimony of a protester a man described how “the longer Mubarak stays the stronger and more creative we become”. In places like Tahrir Square it’s a great time to have political discussions about what the future could look like, and less about how grim the past has been. After the Google exec, who was detained’s interview, (very emotional stuff) protesters gained momentum, and it led to the biggest protests in Cairo and to the most recent strikes in Suez. So it’s obvious Mubarak doesn’t control the country anymore. His power and I’d like to hope the violence along with it has ‘left the building’. But if he officially left and that void was created who or what would fill it, either in the meantime or permanently? The military? They get a billion a year in allowance from the US, how long can they be trusted?

Maybe it’s not possible, maybe the capacity of the Egyptian people to conceive the future is subject to a clean ‘official’ break from the past, but I feel it’s in their best interest to use the energy they are expending on chants in a street, to evolve into some sort of transition committee for whoever is picked to succeed him.

I’ve never even been to Egypt, and most the stuff I know about the country is during a time it was called Kemet, so really what DO I know? I know as much as I hate consolidation of power the protesters need to find a leader, or he (or possibly but probably not, ‘she’) will be picked for them; and what better time then now?

This post was submitted by Ignorant American. He will probably be lurking in the comments if you have any questions for him

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People in this city have a lot of nerve! I was busy ‘facebooking’ one evening in a taxi, at a window seat when I felt some forceful hand grab at me, right around the wrist. I turned to see what the perpetrator of such a brave attempt on theft looked like, but all I could see was the back of his head. He was nearly crushed between two taxis in the process, both of them with those intimidating bush guards at the front. As the fellow scampered to safety, I couldn’t help but notice the bemused took on the passengers’ faces, those that were next to me. They’re the ones that had an idea of what had almost just happened.

That guy must have followed our taxi thinking he was in for some easy fix. Had he known that I’d sat at the right-hand-side back window, with it barely open, was intentional, he would have thought twice.

Had he known that I was aware that it was common for passengers in that seat to have their phones grabbed from them, he might have thought twice.

Had he known that I’d purposely lifted my right knee and held the phone in my right hand resting on my left thigh, he would have known that my phone was well out of reach.
I knew the risk of browsing the net in the city centre, in a taxi leaving the park, so I had taken simple measures to ensure its safety while I was at it. I must thank God he didn’t rob me. I also thank God I had the presence of mind to ensure my safety before embarking on such a perilous quest. Facebook would have cost me much had things gone according to the crook’s plan. The only regret I have is that I didn’t get the chance to hold his hand while he tried to grab the phone, otherwise I would have had the taxi drag him a good distance before I let go, just to teach him. But thank God I didn’t.

This post was submitted by Safyre

You can find more of his musings here

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Our Women

Our Women

Our women became the men they wished to marry.
Out in the land of desperation where the promise had been so bright,
Where the sun rose every day without ceasing, and our skin glistened a dark, luminous color in the sun,
There where Idi forced men to do things unspeakable, there where women saw untold horrors!
And there was great weeping in that land.

Twenty seven guns later

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I went to Zambia recently, meaning about six months ago and was amazed at how African music has exploded. All kinds of African musicians are getting play all over the continent and like youngafrican pointed out

music is crossing cultural barriers and that Zambians are listening to Ugandan music and Ugandans are listening to Naija music and Nigerians are playing Zambian music as their ringtones!

I have a problem with it which is based on the fact that Afro-pop is kind of stagnant and lacks a genuine artistic identity.

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