Last week, Uganda bloggers descended on Mateo's bar in Kampala for the second Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour. In addition to catching up with friends and discussing the main challenges facing the nation, the group made nominations for the first Uganda Best of Blog Awards. In a way, 2006 was the year that the Ugandan blogosphere woke up, with a massive increase in quality of writing and the addressing of public issues. The Best of Blog Awards, the brain child of Jackfruity, is an excellent way of recognizing both communal improvement as well as specific blogs and their content.
For Global Voices readers who haven't been following the Ugandan blogosphere closely, below you will find a brief review of the 8 nominees for ‘Uganda Blog of the Year.’ Think of this as akin to those slick video montages at major award ceremonies. This quick review is intended to show the incredible diversity of writing style, topics and personalities in the Ugandan blogosphere.
Building the Nation has been blogging irreverently since June 2005. He writes about his nightmares, traveling by bus in Uganda and how his grandmother can tell from him stirring a cup of coffee whether or not he has added milk. He is linked up with what I call the Makerere School, a group of students and former students who went to Makerere University and usually write about their daily adventures in Uganda.
Dear Mr. McCourt, which has recently changed titles to ‘Once Upon Ish,’ is a blog by Inktus, a Ugandan student studying in New Delhi, India. She writes reflections on life in the form of letters to her favorite writer, Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes. Inktus writes about conversations with Mexicans in India, participating in Gulu Walk India, and calling up strangers and offering to buy them coffee.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place is Uganda's most controversial blog. Author and provocateur Dennis Matanda, who works in the banking industry in Kampala, has published intense critiques of Ugandan character, the practices of politicians and the economics of dependency. His posts are some of the most challenging blog posts to come out of Africa.
Ernest Bazanye is perhaps the funniest man in Uganda. He is an author and journalist, who writes a weekly column for The New Vision, one of Uganda's two daily English language newspapers. He describes himself as an ‘incorrigbly fractious young man; not the least nettlesome of his countrymen.’ He writes about modern artists, using the word ‘fuscia’ in a sentence and the perils of Kampala's nightlife.
I've Left Copenhagen for Uganda is the blog of Pernille, a 35 year old Danish aid worker who has been in Uganda since June 2005. Pernille lives in the West Nile region of northern Uganda and travels throughout the region, making her remarks on the Sudanese border, visiting Internally Displaces Persons (IDP) camps and going shopping for groceries in small Ugandan towns.
Ivan Presents (200 Coin Has Fish) is another blog nominated from the Makerere School. Ivan writes about what its like to live in city facing constant power cuts, and ranting and ravings about friends and family.
Twisted Nation is a blog by Mr. Magoo, a self proclaimed O-level (high school) dropout turned movie producer. Also nominated for best design for his ‘all seeing eye’ design, Mr. Magoo writes about the movies he helps produce, reflections on global entertainment industry and finding his friend in a You Tube music video linked off the US Military HIV Research website.
Velvet Ink is the blog of Zack and Joshi. Joshi is a Ugandan living in the UK who is somewhat of a pundit, leaving comments all over the Ugandan blogosphere. The pair write about Ugandan personalities they would love to see blogging, having dreams about meeting other Ugandan bloggers, and what the government should really do to stop the spread of HIV among Ugandan youth.
Check out the links above and vote for Best Ugandan Blog here. On the same site you can vote for best design, best post, best writing and best photography.