On Racism and Foolish Cows

I woke up this morning to an article online about a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi that does not admit Africans after 5pm. Their excuse is that this is a security measure because apparently you can’t be sure who is Al Shabab and who isn’t. However Africans accompanied by Chinese, Indian or European customers are admitted after 5pm as well as ‘loyal’ Africans which means one who has spent 20,000 Kenya shillings (the equivalent of about 215 US Dollars). Just this weekend, I spent my Saturday afternoon on twitter ranting about a bar in Kampala that I used to frequent while back home that evicted a group of African patrons after a certain hour but left the ‘bazungu’ (whites) undisturbed. A few months ago there was another story about a bar in Kampala that doesn’t admit any Africans, particularly African womyn, on certain days unless accompanied by a mzungu. These are just three cases of racism taking place in predominantly African countries, I could go on and on but I need to make a point.
First of all, what these businesses are doing is illegal. Uganda’s constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of race and I’m sure Kenya’s does as well. The authorities should be involved and these businesses should be closed down for being run in a manner that is contrary to the laws of the countries in which they are operating. The people who have been treated poorly by these businesses also have the option of banding together and bringing an action against these business owners for damages for the violation of their constitutional rights. They should be made to pay for their stupidity.
My question is how can you come into a country that is 90 percent black people and start discriminating against black people? How? This is the height of kamanyiro!
I have been studying in the USA for about 6 months now, and the one thing that has kept me going is knowing that I am going back home, to a place where I am normal and can do anything and go anywhere that I want without having to worry about the colour of my skin being a problem. Reading these stories pissed me off because they showed me the lie that I have been telling myself. Anti black racism is not an American problem, it is a global problem. We thought we had rid ourselves of it, or at least the overt everyday aspects of it, when the British colonialists left but globalization has brought it back to our door. Everyday more Europeans and Chinese and other non black people are migrating into our countries and bringing with them these ideas and forcing us to face the anti blackness that the white supremacist colonial masters planted. We must deal with it.
So why are we sitting back and doing nothing about this? In a country of 90% Africans, what business is going to survive if they only serve bazungu? None! We control a large portion of the money circulating in the market and yet we continue to spend our money at places that treat us badly in our own country. Stop giving your money to these businesses. There are many businesses owned by sensible Ugandans and Kenyans that serve great food and even cheaper alcohol (yes I know how Ugandans are about their alcohol), support those businesses and let these racist businesses starve. They will have no option but to change their stupid policies. More importantly, let these businesses know that their policies are unacceptable and unwelcome and that we will not stand for them! Tweet, post on Facebook, send emails and make sure that your displeasure is heard loud and clear. Nobody should make you uncomfortable in your home and not face any consequences.
Of course there is always that small group of Africans who feel somehow validated by being the only black person admitted as a ‘loyal’ customer into a place that discriminates against other black people. Wake up! The only thing I have for you is this proverb, “it is only a foolish cow that rejoices at the prospect of being taken to a beautiful abattoir.” You are the foolish cow!
Bob Marley said “Stand up for your rights,” this is the time to stand up not only for your rights but for the rights of black people everywhere to own our spaces and to inhabit any space that we want to freely. Tukoye sausage!

Betrayal in The Kitchen!

I am GREAT at most things that I do. This is not me bragging or anything; it’s just a fact. I’ve grown used to this state of things. I usually only have to try something once and then I’ll be able to do it well. This, however, has not been the case with cooking. I am a terrible cook! So because I am not used to being bad at things, I don’t handle this failure too well. I therefore hate cooking primarily because I’m so bad at it. Kitchens make me uncomfortable and I basically fall apart whenever I get into one intending to cook.  Cooking is actually my mother’s favourite topic whenever we get into the “if you carry on like this, no man is going to want to marry you” conversation. This is the other reason why I absolutely hate cooking. The idea that I should be good at and love cooking simply  because I am a womyn irritates me because…do I really need to give a reason? I am a feminist, this is a feminist blog, lets not flog the very dead horse. The one thing (two things?) I can cook very well, however, is beans and rice. I love beans and rice and could live on just that every day of my life, so naturally I figured out how to make this one thing and make it well. The only time I walk into a kitchen confidently and with my head held high is when I am going to cook beans and rice.

I know this is starting to sound like an anti-cooking rant, but bear with me, this very long introduction has a point.

Susie and I recently arrived at Harvard Law School to pursue our LLMs. It’s a new country, new faces, new food, new everything. Naturally, Chipotle became our favourite restaurant because they have beans and rice. We’ve been eating there all week while we try to settle in and find a more pocket friendly way of eating on a student budget. Yesterday we went to H Mart and stocked up on cooking supplies basing on the great advise we received from former LLMs that it’s cheaper to cook than to eat out all the time. H Mart is an Asian supermarket so we figured the food would be close to what we are used to at home, plus it’s not too expensive. We picked up some rice, black beans, and chicken. The chicken was for Susie of course because she doesn’t share my love for beans. However, because it’s an Asian supermarket, most of the foods are labelled in different languages that we cannot read.

Today we got into the kitchen on a mission to have our first home cooked meal at Harvard. I put my beans on fire and started chopping up the onions and tomatoes as I waited for them to get ready. Susie defrosted her chicken and within 30 minutes it was fried and ready for eating. My beans were still on fire, hard as rocks. I didn’t think anything was wrong because dry beans usually take longer to get ready than the fresh ones. I gave it 30 more minutes, and then 30 more. Two hours later, nothing had changed. The beans were still hard as rocks and by now I had figured out that something was up. I tasted the beans and they tasted like nothing I have ever eaten before. That’s when I looked at the bag in which they came. Most of the words were in Korean (as my classmate helpfully informed me) but the few English words stated that they were some kind of beans that prevent Alzheimer’s disease, kidney failure and many other diseases and one serving suggestion was to soak them over night in rice wine(?) and then pour them and drink the wine. What? There was no suggestion (none that I could read anyway) on how to cook and eat the beans in the way I am used to. But I persisted. I let it boil for 30 more minutes. Susie finally tasted them and insisted that they were soft and I should go ahead and fry them. They were indeed softer than they had been 4 hours earlier so I went ahead and fried them. Finally they smelt like the beans I’m used to. I cautiously served myself a small portion of rice and beans and sat down to eat. I took one mouth full and very painfully swallowed it because at this point there were two more people in the kitchen and I thought I would look weird running and spitting in the bin. We waited for them to go before I poured all the beans in the trash and rinsed my mouth thoroughly. The food was REVOLTING!! The beans can fight Alzheimer’s but clearly do nothing to resolve a girl’s kitchen issues.

Me, eating beans and rice at Chipotle in happier times.

Me, eating beans and rice at Chipotle in happier times.

I feel betrayed. The one thing I knew I could cook well turned out to be terrible. I know this has nothing to do with my cooking and everything to do with the fact that I can’t read Korean but still, beans are supposed to be my thing. Yet here I am writing about a terrible meal of beans and rice that I prepared and had to dump in the trash. So I ended up walking to Chipotle for a bowl of real beans and rice and on my way back it started to rain. Even the heavens are weeping in recognition of my betrayal.

So, I Received a letter! Here’s my Reply :)

Dear Rwamuguma,

I read your letter to me with very little surprise.  It addressed issues we have discussed over and over.  You made some points in that letter, however, which I would like to respond to as follows:

You mentioned the historical matriarchal societies in Africa and how racism cannot be separated from the feminist struggle.  I totally agree and would like to inform you that African feminists have long acknowledged that patriarchy as practised in Africa today is largely an import of colonialism.  This is not to say that patriarchy did not exist in Africa before, but merely that the complete and total disregard of womynhood we see today was not part and parcel of African culture and has been fuelled by the religions (mainly Christianity and Islam) that Africans adopted, as well as European and American culture which we are slowly adopting.  With that said, your very nostalgic reference to matriarchal societies in the past does not change anything for womyn today.  We are living in a completely different world today and our feminism cannot be fashioned off memories of past glory and respect.  We fight the enemy as it presents itself now!

What she said!

What she said!

You made a swipe at my choice to spell the word ‘womyn’ the way I do, stating that “Removing the ‘a’ in WOMAN to make WOMYN won’t take that underage girl who has been married off.”  I completely agree. However, my use of the word ‘womyn’ is a personal choice not to be influenced by your opinions on how it affects other womyn and girls.  Much as the feminist movement is a collective one, each womyn’s feminism is also a very personal thing.  I don’t only reject and oppose the oppression of womyn in general; I oppose my own oppression as a womyn everyday.  The ways I choose to confront my oppression may not resonate with all womyn (that includes men) but that is not my concern.  Bob Marley said “non but our self can free our minds” and this is me, freeing my mind so that I can help others free theirs.

You also suggested in your letter that we should “make feminism simple so that even a drunk in Kisoro can understand it.”  I ask you Roland, what is simpler than, ‘girls and boys are both human beings and so both should go to school’?  How much more should we break down womyn’s humanity for it to make sense to your friend the drunk?  I would like to hear your suggestions on that front.

Finally, you generally alluded to the inclusion of men in the feminist struggle instead of ‘just’ making it about gender and mentioned that men fear to be feminists because they are told “they are part of the problem.”  Well, if you walk into a meeting of womyn discussing issues that affect them and try to dominate that discussion then yes, you are part of the problem!  Men’s voices are always priviledged over womyn’s and so I understand why some womyn take issue with men coming in to ‘speak for us’ because; first of all, no one can articulate a problem better than one who faces it, and secondly, it reinforces the stereotype that womyn are not capable and therefore need men to lead and strengthen our movement.

With that said, I must add that any man who wishes to join the feminist movement and identify as a feminist is more than welcome, BUT, do not expect any womyn to sit down and educate you about feminism.  Audre Lorde had this to say about just this scenario:

“Whenever the need for some pretence of communication arises, those who profit from our oppression call upon us to share our knowledge with them.  In other words, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to teach the oppressors their mistakes.  I am responsible for educating teachers who dismiss my children’s culture in school. Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity.  Women are expected to educate men.  Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world.  The oppressors maintain their position and evade responsibility for their own actions.  There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”

 

Read Me!

Read Me!

 

If you want to be a feminist read a book!  There are lots of books on feminist theory and politics, I can recommend a few by Audre Lorde and Bell Hooks for a start (instead of all that negative propaganda you’ve been consuming!)  Don’t sit down like the stereotypical chief beneficiary of patriarchy and expect womyn to explain our humanity to you and justify our struggle just because you have expressed some interest in identifying with us.

And after you’ve read those books and papers and articles, share them with your brothers, because as feminist social research has proven, men listen to fellow men more than they listen to womyn.

 

 

Godiva 🙂

 

 

I’M NOT A FEMINIST BUT…

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been in a space having a discussion about issues that concern womyn and girls when one womyn prefaces her speech with that line, I would be a Zimbabwean billionaire. I have never liked that some people want to do that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand it.
I had a very long conversation with two friends about feminism in general and the Ugandan feminist movement in particular and a lot of things were said. My best friend Rizzy who is an agnostic feminist (yes I just co-opted a word) which is the clearest way I can find to describe the fact that sometimes she thinks she’s a feminist and sometimes she doesn’t, brought it to my attention that the Ugandan feminist movement has been swallowed up by stereotypes and propaganda. The average Ugandan’s idea of a feminist is a successful professional (most likely a lawyer) earning a salary who works in an NGO (because corporate womyn are just independent womyn, not feminists) and has to be extremely loud and aggressive about womyn’s issues.
In addition to this, it seems that some womyn (that includes men of course) assume that there is a certain checklist of behaviours and ideas that you must perform and articulate before you can be a feminist properly so called! I can’t say I was ignorant of this stereotype before the conversation we had this morning but I was definitely shocked and saddened (like blaming my watery eyes on cigarette smoke saddened) that my best friend who fits every definition I’ve ever heard of a feminist does not consider herself one sometimes because of said checklist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is no checklist (we do have standards you know), what I’m saying is that the checklist is not nearly as exact and non-inclusive as some people presume.
So being the social researcher that I am (not), I quickly turned to my friends on Facebook to tell me what their definition of feminism (including the propaganda and stereotypes) is and these are some of the answers that I received:
Kunihira Winnie: One who knows her worth, does not settle for less.”
Susan Mirembe: “My definition of a feminist (in no formal terms) is someone who is conscious of the general inequality between men and womyn and who takes steps to address that gap through any means available to them whether consciously or by default.
Mulerwa Kaguliro: To me a feminist is anyone who acknowledges that we live in a patriarchal world biased towards the success and general happiness of men and consciously rejects that status quo as unfair in their thoughts and actions. That said,in popular Ugandan culture a feminist is simply a loud mouthed quarrelsome woman, usually a lawyer who will probably never get married.lol
Arnauld Kwesiga: A feminist in the Ugandan sense is normally attributed to be a woman who has come to acknowledge the existence of gender and sex inequalities in all sectors private and public and takes it upon herself to fight this and also educate other women on it and to stand againt it. It is easily misconstrued due to the manner these women go about their awareness raising which mostly is misconceived to border on hatred for men. But in the true meaning of the word, l am a feminist.
Charlotte Thereza Mudoola: advocates for social and legal rights for women…but would add they advocate for humanity too.
Pepe Julian Onziema: A feminist is you, me consciously addressing issues arising from inequalities (social, economic, sexual etc) based on gender and/or sex.
I will not even elaborate on these answers because I think they are amazing just the way they are…thank you Bruno Mars. It is clear to me that many people understand what feminism is about and they know that there are certain stereotypes which are not a true representation of all feminists. So all of you who thought you had to jump through a multitude of hoops and swallow a sword to be a feminist, I have good news, you might have been a feminist all along and just didn’t know it. Now you know!
What I have to say to the womyn who inspired the title of this blog post is this: I understand that to adopt the word feminist as part of your identity comes with a lot of negative consequences and that the patriarchy has been smart enough to characterize feminists as ‘bad womyn’ to scare womyn from joining or identifying with the movement. Some of you don’t want to be associated with the loud mouthed bad mannered womyn who are either unmarried, divorced or on their way to a divorce! But here’s a news flash, if you fit any of the definitions above, people already consider you a feminist so you might as well just roll with it.
We need more womyn like you to join us so that we can get the job done faster. You don’t have to call yourself a feminist to do the work, but you definitely do not have to call yourself a non-feminist either. In any case, people will not take you any more seriously because you have distanced yourself from feminism with that one statement and the mere fact that you choose to add it draws attention to the fact that you are in fact expressing a feminist idea (so many ‘facts in that sentence yo!)

common goal

Amen!

There’s enough negative propaganda floating around feminists without womyn who share our ideas adding to the pile. Feel free to articulate your opinions in public and private spaces without prefacing them with the statement “I am not a feminist but…” FEMINIST is not a bad word!

*My bestfriend Rizzy has insisted on this Addendum: Despite her misgivings, Rizzy has NEVER prefaced any statement she makes, be it in public or private, with the statement “I am not a feminist. But…” The conversation we had just triggered memories of some people who always say it! *_*

What Do they Know ?

I watched NTV Men yesterday! Its a show with 4 men seated at a fancy hotel giving their view on various issues affecting men. Now I never watch this show, ever, because as one feminist friend of mine put it “I got a gag reflex the 1st &only time I watched it!” But yesterday, my lecturer and a womyn I respect alot was on the show. So when I found out about it on twitter, I immediately tuned in. Never have I been so irritated in my life.

The topic of the night was “Divorced womyn getting a second chance: should they get into another relationship”…or something along those lines.

Now the first thought that went through my head was, why are four men discussing what divorced womyn should and shouldn’t do with their lives? (lets not forget the one divorced womyn they invited to chip in once in a while ofcourse)! What do four men know about divorced (or any)womyn’s reality that warrants them sitting down and having a 40minute discussion on national tv about? I really wonder.

The thirty minutes I watched were basically 4 patriarchs once again telling womyn what we should and shouldnt do with ourselves inorder to be good enough to get a man after being divorced (they used the word dumped and abandoned alot, but let me not even go into that at this time…) and at some point one of the guys goes into this lamentation about womyn not loving ourselves enough etc…I was about to explode I tell you.

And then the tone of the show, which is usually upbeat and jovial, was so sombre, almost like a funeral…maybe because they were so busy feeling sorry for the one womyn there who had the horrible luck of being divorced! How so very sad hat she has to go through life without a big and strong man by her side to defend and protect her! And the tone of voice in which they spoke to her!! oh God, i didnt realise being divorced earned one so many pityful and sober nods!

Also, considering that the show was about divorced womyn, you would expect that the one divorced womyn there would take centre stage in the discussion, but no, the four guys got to say as much as they could(they used the word damaged goods alot aswel by the way) and she was only invited into the conversation once in a while to give her perspective. At some point Maria made a comment about how after her divorce she realised that she was not perfect and was not therefore looking for a perfect man, then one of the guys gave her this patriarchal-pat-on-the-back disguised as a compliment, I hear “I love listening to a grown womyn speak”!! Grown womyn? as opposed to what? the other ‘childish’ womyn you have met whose ideas you do not quite approve of? Who expect more from you than you are willing to give? And what about the divorced womyn out there who are still looking for the perfect man? what qualifies a womyn to be refered to as a ‘grown womyn?’ All these things were flying through my mind at once and created a feeling of absolute discomfort and irritation.

All in all, the show came off as awfully paternalistic and condescending to me. I’m not saying that men should not have an opinion on issues affecting womyn (okay,maybe I am a little bit), but I don’t think they should be devoting an entire show on national tv to four men discussing how they imagine divorced womyn feel and how they should conduct themselves, and whether they should get into another relationship or not! Divorced womyn would be the best people to articulate these issues and share their experiences, in my opinion. The show is dedicated to men, maybe they should have discussed male divorcees?? I’m just saying. The topic was completely misplaced!

Scared Shitless, Shouting Still!

Rape!!

So much has been said about the topic, particularly since the death of Jyoti Singh Pandey, the Indian medical student who was gang raped on a bus and died a few days later from her injuries!

The response is more or less as expected, womyn are shocked and grief stricken…so we protest on the streets, on social networks, at breakfast meetings and at dinner plot with friends.

Some men and society’s reaction (but we all know who controls society don’t we) is the same as always… “womyn should not move alone at night” “womyn should not dress up a certain way” “womyn should not talk or walk a certain way” if they want to avoid being raped! We are supposed to AVOID being raped.  Nobody (or atleast very few people) says anything about the men who rape womyn.

The man who grabs a womyn against her will, slaps her around, ignores her protests and fighting, ignores her begging and pleading with him not to do it, and forces his penis into her vagina, repeatedly! And then leaves her there, in pain, ashamed, BROKEN!… nobody says anything about him! Because well, the masculine is so sanctified and blameless that he could have only RAPED a womyn upon being provoked by her. Either she was dressed ‘suggestively” (this includes exposing your eyeballs in some places so we can never really win against this one), or was walking alone at night when she shouldn’t have been or dared to refuse an advance from him…or maybe she just climbed a bus with a friend!

And when we protest against such abuse of womyn and society’s condonation of it (yes, that’s what its called when you blame the victim and excuse the perpetrator), we are labeled “angry feminists”, bitter womyn, “man haters”.                                                                                       No, we are not man haters and anger is not the primary emotion we are feeling.

We are SCARED! WE ARE SCARED SHITLESS. For ourselves, our mothers, our sisters, our friends, our daughters! We are scared because we know we could be next.  We are even more scared because we know, no one will believe us, and even though they do, they will find a reason to blame us. We are scared because we see how the people who will defend us will be brushed off as ‘angry feminists’, ‘man haters’! We are scared of you, our brothers, friends, boyfriends, husbands, sons… and every ignorant word you utter frightens us even more. Can we trust you not to hurt us? And even if we can, can we trust you to defend us and stand by us when someone else does?

If the things some of you say/ are saying are anything to go by, I don’t think you will defend me and that scares the shit out of me.

But I won’t stop speaking just because am scared, Lorde help me, I will shout myself hoarse because at least one person will hear it!

Society isn’t designed for womyn’s well being, but we have managed to survive and even thrive for centuries! It’s not been by sitting down and waiting for things to be handed to us. The fight against rape will continue, whether we are called angry feminists, bitter womyn or whatever else.                                                                                                                 Rape is one of the most heinious of crimes, and blaming the victims is not helping! Teach men NOT to rape instead of asking us not to get raped. Womyn will not shut up!

#                                    #                                 #

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.” Audre Lorde – A Litany for Survival

Hairy Transition :D

I shaved my head! The statement doesn’t sound as dramatic as I thought it would, considering all the grief I’ve received for doing this one simple thing. This has convinced me beyond all doubt that that “the personal is political” as Audre Lorde put it.

I shaved my straightened hair and went natural for many reasons:

1. I hate salons and that nagging feeling I always got that the salonists were gossiping about me right in my face once they realised I don’t know luganda.

2. Going to the salon every other week is tedious and expensive! I was spending about 100,000 shillings every month on salon appointments and hair product alone on my broke student budget. Plus those hair straightening chemicals burn like (a bad word)!

3. Most important for me, I was finally ready to embrace and be the real me, the me that doesn’t cost a hundred thousand shillings a month, a burnt scalp and 30minutes in front of the mirror every morning to create. I didn’t (still don’t) see why I had to adhere to a standard of beauty- straight and shiny hair- that I had no part in setting, and that clearly isn’t natural to me. As if I am ugly and all these hair straightening chemicals and sheen sprays somehow made me prettier!

So I shaved my head! And the apocalypes began!

“Why would you do such a thing?” “treated hair just looks nicer!” “You look like a villager!” “Why are you trying to misrepresent your age?” “You don’t look presentable!” “you don’t look like a womyn anymore!” and finally, the cherry on the cake, “so are you a lesbian now?”

These are all things that have been said to me and questions I have been asked by grown-ass people, most of them womyn, because of my natural hair. It says alot about what we think of our natural African hair doesn’t it? we’ve been convinced (I don’t even know by whom) that our natural hair is ugly, a symbol of poverty and un-tidyness, and worst of all, that it is not feminine enough! Oh, and of course beware ladies, having natural hair will turn you into a lesbian…sausage* just!

Now, am not saying all womyn should go natural, after all we all have a right to decide what we think is good for us and our bodies and appearance (and not many of us can withstand the shitty questions and comments); am just saying that going natural is the best choice I have made for me! And we seriously need to interrogate why we hold on so tightly to certain ideals of beauty for ourselves and others that we are willing to bully and even try to shame others into adhering to them.

What I do with my hair is my business and what you think about it is yours, so please lets stay out of each other’s business while I express my joy at finally being able to walk in the rain without worrying about my new hairdo, finally being able to be  completely naked in the shower and in bed (no shower caps or hair nets needed), being able to go swimming whenever I feel like it and not just the day before my hair appointment, and finally being able to play with and touch my hair anytime I want without worrying about messing it up or getting obscene amounts of oil on my fingers 🙂 .

Its also great to finally own all of me- I always felt that my hair belonged to the salonist, especially on those particularly bad hair days when I’d walk into the salon and she goes “what did you do to it this time?” as if I owed her an apology for ruining my head of her perfect hair, ha!

I especially love the feeling that am making a political statement every morning when I roll my eyes and say “yes mummy, I just combed” and then proceed to take my nappy-headed-village-lesbian-looking head to work,… every time I walk by that girl with the horrible weave who frowns at my hair, or the old lady who always advices me to “at least relax it to make it easier to comb”, or the silly boy who now calls me gangstalicious. To all these people I just smile and say, this is what African hair looks like and the fact that you have such a problem with it should be what bothers you, not what I choose to do to my hair.

Image

Isn’t she lovely….

Plus, I feel and look as beautiful as ever 🙂

*sausage- generic term for all things that irritate me 🙂

Lokodo/ homophobia (couldn’t think of a better title)

Am back, and my topics of choice-  homophobia and racism once again.

So the health minister for Northern Ireland went and said “gay people and people who may have had sex with an African should not be allowed to donate blood.” Stupid man! Thats all I can say in response because anything else would be me taking him seriously.

Father Lokodo strikes again! The ex- priest (sounds alot like ex-gay doesn’t it, no offence to my fellow catholics) raided a work shop in Najjera organised to train members of  the East African LGBTI community(Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda) in Monitoring, Documentation and Reporting the very obvious human rights abuses that they face at the hands of Bigots like him! His excuse? same as last time, “they are promoting an immoral practise! So he was put in the hot seat and tasked with mentioning one person he knows that has been recruited into homosexuality in Uganda and ofcourse he could not.

Now, father Lokodo, falls in the same category as idiotic Irish potato up there, the difference is, he is closer home, so what he says and does actually affects me directly!

Uganda has been in free fall for the last two decades or so: corruption is on the rise, domestic violence got so bad that our dozing legislators thought it needed a special law, our roads, hospitals, schools and work places are in appalling condition, and now our children in northern Uganda are suffering from nodding disease! Not to mention that Karamoja, where Lokodo comes from is still the subject of ridiculous refrains like “we cannot wait for Karamoja to develop”! Amidst all this, what does Lokodo decide to launch an attack on… innocent Ugandans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex! Tax- paying, nation building Ugandans who’s only crime is defending their human rights and those of others!

Lokodo is the minister for Ethics and Integrity which my dictionary defines thus: ethics; the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or how an activity is conducted, and integrity; the quality of being honest and morally upright! All the people I asked do not know what the mandate of his ministry is or where he seats, which probably explains his own confusion. What is the purpose of a ministry of ethics and integrity in a nation of human beings who cannot be policed and have their morals/ morality monitored at all times? your guess is as good as mine.

He has no mandate, and his search for one landed him on LGBTI Ugandans, an easy target considering all the ground work that Ssempa (that man) and crew had already done. Unlucky for him, LGBTI ugandans aren’t taking things lying down anymore bali bakowu and they dragged his sorry butt to court. My guess is that this week’s raid is a scare tactic to try to get people to back off the court case which is being heard on Monday 25th June, but its not going to work! Enough is Enough!

Of course a good number of Ugandans support him and what he is doing for various reasons; which is exactly why the constitution of Uganda set aside some fundamental human rights which are not subject to public opinion, but inhere on all of us by virtue of being human! Human dignity, Freedom of expression, assembly and association are some of those that Lokodo has violated and he has been duly ‘served’.

I leave you with a link https://plus.google.com/u/0/100922427936160115524/posts/4K5fT5QbPbQ to a video of my friend Pepe (yes, am a name dropper like that) reacting to the raid of the workshop and calling Lokodo the idle dwanzie that he is. Enjoy and see you all in court on Monday 🙂

Is Black Beautiful???

I am a dark skinned Black womyn. Its no big deal really, unless you live in a world that has been told for centuries that there is something wrong with being black, which I do.

I had an argument with a classmate in primary school once, I was only 10 but even then, my skills in an argument were unbeatable and so you can all guess who was winning. Well, that was until she threw the punch line and game winner when she realised that all else had failed…”no wonder you’re your so black” she said , and that was that. she had won by mentioning a fact that was clear for all to see, but in saying it she managed to lower me to something so much less than her, so worthless in fact, that she need not continue arguing with me. We were only 10 years old but we already understood, too well perhaps, the politics of skin colour.

For centuries, the world has given us hints, very loud ones at that, that there was something wrong with being black. The fact that black people are less human was used as a justification for the colonisation of the ‘Dark continent’, slave trade and so many other attrocities committed against black people. Apartheid in Souh Africa was justified with Bible verses to the effect that Africans are the cursed descendants of Abraham’s son Ham and so its totally fine to treat them like shit…and some churches like the Mormons only recently stopped preaching that Africans are a cursed race.

All this negative re-inforcement had to affect us somehow ofcourse, Eventually black people started to run away from being associated with their skin colour. This legacy of slavery or colonization, where lighter-skinned or white people were given visible privileges over hundreds of years has resulted in societies where the lighter you are, the higher your status socially and economically. The market for bleaching creams in Africa is alarming, ask any dark skinned African womyn. I was on holiday in Dar es Salaam last year and everyday people on the a street asked me why I was so dark, couldn’t I afford the cheap bleaching creams. The dark colour of my skin made me less beautiful than the lighter skinned women (most of them bleached), and on that odd occasion, someone (usually an old lady or a university professor) complimented me on maintaining my beautiful skin colour. 

I know alot of womyn and girls who have and are still bleaching, and I used to resent them for it, but how can I blame them for trying to make their life easier in this anti- black world, where my skin colour is an insult, something to be changed at all costs, even though it means disfiguring and destroying it?

Black womyn everyday are now fond of repeating the phrase “Am black and beautiful” or “black is beautiful”, however you say it, it is intended to reinforce our belief in our beauty. But the existence of this statement alone is testament to the world’s determination to convince us that we are ugly, I mean, you don’t hear any white womyn walking around chanting ‘White is beautiful’ do you?? Well thats because all white women are beautiful by default, hehe try manufacturing and selling a skin blackening cream and tell me how well that goes for you…

So whats the point am trying to make with all this? Well its time we black people, dark skinned and light skinned ( just splitting hairs really with that distinction aren’t I) reclaimed our beauty. Every time you buy a bleaching cream and put it on your skin, not only are you destroying your skin, you are telling yourself that you are ugly, that there is something wrong with you that must be fixed, which is not true! 

If you can’t wear your own skin with confidence, can you wear anything else confidently? (Don’t answer that)

All this black is not right crap is a result of propaganda,.. some one long ago needed to justify his oppression of a certain group of people, and his preferred justification was our skin colour, thats all there is to it really. Its not rocket science, but the effect it has had is alarming! This is why our mothers taught us not to lie, because lies destroy lives and people’s confidence in you and themselves, I mean, look how much damage this white lie(pun intended) has caused in just a few centuries!

All womyn are beautiful, regardless of skin colour and thats the gods’ honest truth. Black, white, yellow, purple…we are all beautiful! And when you judge anyone (including yourself) by their skin colour or tone, there’s something wrong with you, not with their skin.

And yeah, Black is beautiful 🙂