Ugandan bloggers reminisce

Growing up in Uganda

For the blogren, this has been the week to remember their childhoods. Their posts — touching, witty, inspiring — give insight into the diversity of Ugandan youth.

27th Comrade writes about his family members’ reactions to losing, and then finding again, their dog Klipi:

And Ma was getting impatient. Bethwell's kindergarten was a bit far from home, so she was getting hysterical. `Hurry up, get your uniforms back on! This is not the first or last time he's getting lost and found. It's no big deal—dogs are lost and found every day!’ And Bethwell saw that she needed some re-education.

‘No, Mummy, no!’ he explained, in that slow lisp of a five-year-old, words thick with importance he had not yet discovered words for, his fat cheeks shaping the sounds delicately. `Klipi was not lost. He was dead, and now he is back!’

Ma, looking at her chubby baby educating her about the importance of the reunion, this funeral of death, couldn't stop the tears. ‘Okay, boys. No school today.’

Frustrated with the stereotypes she encounters as a young African women, Pea draws upon her upbringing to explain the complexities of her character:

I grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, with a mother who lived in New York, and a father who insisted on the entire family making the 8-hour drive up-country at least once a year to visit with our grandfather. Like many of my girlfriends, I have the contrasting experiences of working with a jiko/sigiri, and using a microwave oven. I have hand-washed my clothes, and I can work a washing machine. I have sat at my grandma’s feet in the village, and I have listened to Wangari Maathai and Maya Angelou. Many young African women will give you homogenous accounts of their experiences in their youth and even to this day.

Because the rest of the world finds us hard to understand, it tries to push us to the sidelines, to stifle our voices, to step on us as we fight for survival. It seems like when we are not being ignored, we are getting negative attention. And I believe it is because we are misunderstood that the stereotypes are able to flourish like they do.

Finally, y.z. discusses what happens when her mother gets rid of the family television:

Moving was her chance. She sold the t.v. off and when we got here decided not to buy a new one. The worst part is she is winning. Like, really, winning. My sisters are actually opening books and wait for it…..reading them…no thats not it, keep waiting…beyond the first three chapters! As if that's not enough, when my sisters and I talk to each other, the conversation no longer dissolves into an argument, muttered curses, tears after two minutes. We now talk and, even this blows my mind, enjoy each other's company. And I, have started walking. Yes, it is to walk to my aunt/friend/grandmother ‘s house to watch t.v. but as far as the madre is concerned, one small step for me, one giant step for healthy living.

Ugandans continue to react to the country's first GLBT press conference

Two weeks ago I wrote about blogger reactions to Uganda's first ever gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex press conference. The fervor has not yet abated, and even more bloggers have thrown their opinions into the fray.

Manueri writes:

i personally think this debate has dragged on for unnecessarily long and i should say i was quite comfortable with the previous status quo where every one knew that we had gays in society but it remained just that; an open secret. what really baffles me is a group of individuals who are sure what they are doing is not right (otherwise, why would they address press conferences with masks and use initials) going out of their way to fight for recognition.

A number of bloggers, including Nevender, see homosexuality as a Western problem and blame the West for supporting GLBTI groups in Uganda:

I am so perplexed that when Uganda as a country decided to make a stand against homosexuality, we were labelled as homophobic! My goodness!!! Surely the world has lost it!…. Europe and all your friends, we do not want your bad manners in this land, keep them. We are blessed already!

Much of the discussion revolved around the suspension of Capital Radio presenter Gaetano Kaggwa, who featured Ugandan lesbian activist Julie Victor Mukasa on his radio show last month. Country Boyi posted the show's transcript on his blog, prompting a number of comments:

Seems to me like Gae was just a scapegoat. First you have 3 presenters on a show and Gae says the least offensive stuff of the three and it's him who gets the boot?

Gaetano thinks that, since the MPs studied abroad, they should be `smarter’ and be more-open to allowing homosexuality. That shows that the acceptance of homosexuality can only be taught to one outside here. And that is the problem.
(27th Comrade)

I think Gaetano will learn from that. When it comes to homosexuality there is no Human right talk in Uganda.

Kelly responds to the transcript on her own blog:

Quite bland I think though I am really happy to see what a pro-gay rights stance Gae took, he is such a role model to Ugandan men that I think it is great that he went out on a limb.

Finally, Uganda's Scarlett Lion rounds up the best and worst of the comments she received on an earlier post on the issue, including “most logical comment,” “most interesting accusation,” and “most likely to pray for the 27th Comrade.”


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