Voices of Abantu
E D I TO R I A L
WHER YOU G WHEN ESCAP C
Voices of Abantu was born out of the pessimism as a back-bone. We believe th youth in unemployable Uganda today. The tion take you through alternatives youth h us may not deem as worthy to be categ versations we are having with ourselve
In this edition, you will be treated to snippe
baArts Festival. Feast your eyes to poetry, diaspora. VOA aspires to create a space f and grow. We hope that you enjoy this a hope these inspire you to have conversat
RE DO GO TO N YOU PE? K
need to escape. Escaping a reality with hat there is a lot more to the narrative of e stories from our contributors in this edihave created for themselves that many of gorized as â€œemploymentâ€?. These are cones that reflect where our generation is.
ets of festivals such as Tokosa and the Laseamlessly crafted by a young poet in the for voices to speak, shout, cry, rejoice, rant as much as we did putting it together. We tions, speak out and hopefully, contribute.
The freedom in getting lost
Pose for a picture please
The Romper: Unpacking toxic masculinity
The heart beat drum circle
At the foodie table
Growing up, I went through a list of possible career choices that changed according to the mood and where I was in my life. At about 9 years of age, I was convinced that I would make music. I later considered being an air hostess because they looked gorgeous in their uniforms and travelled the world. When I noticed I was argumentative and constantly defending lost causes, I figured I was destined for a career in law. Somehow, none of these came to pass. Instead I studied journalism and I am now involved in development. I can’t count the number of times I have been asked (in different forms) “Why are you doing charity work? Isn’t it for rich people?” Like many who ask me this question, I thought philanthropic work was something billionaires engaged in after making a fortune. As a teenager, I was convinced Oprah Winfrey was a superhero. I would work towards becoming as wealthy as her and then give back to the less fortunate. Good plan, right? God’s timing was ultimately different. Instead, I got involved in charity work when I was 24 and nowhere near rich, except maybe rich in hope and dreams.
I started 40 days over 40 smiles Foundation (40-40) cause I love children. I realised that during the lent chose to fast meat, or perhaps alcohol, but after 40 da of these individuals put aside some money saved from to make the Easter weekend a little brighter for childr was a simple, executable dream. I opened a Faceboo we would work with at least 40 children. That Easte
NG PURPOSE K
Fast forward to 2017. Last month we celebrated our 5 year anniversary. We have successfully worked with over 400 youth volunteers to raise over Ugx 300 million from Ugandans in Uganda and in the diaspora. These funds have improved the lives of over 2,000 children and our audacious dream ) as a way to give back to the society but also be- is to work with 20,000 more in the next 5 years. t season, Christians did not sacrifice ‘enough.’ Some ays, they would go on a binge. I thought that if a few I never fully understood the phrase ‘purm their lunch or social engagements, it could be used pose driven life’ until I started my work ren who did not have families to enjoy a feast with. It with 40-40. I am thoroughly convinced that ok group called ’40 days over 40 smiles’ hoping that this is what I was destined to do and cannot er weekend, we fed and celebrated with 150 children. wait for what the future holds.
Voices Of Abantu
THE FREEDOM IN GETTI ESTHER NSHAKIRA So this one is a bit of a rant. A rant for the many like me with thousands of dreams but only one life. The ones that tend to lose their footing, and because of society’s ridiculously high standards of success, will wallow where they have fallen. All through high school I was 110% sure that I wanted to be a lawyer. TV shows like Boston Legal probably had a lot to do with it but I also figured that with my incessant need to win whatever argument I got into, and the inability to keep my mouth shut whenever I saw injustice, I figured it was a brilliant choice. Somewhere halfway through my second year at university, I realized the law really wouldn’t be my ultimate fulfilment. A lot of it bored me. I realized I was studying it only because I wanted good grades. I crammed so much, that a week after exams, a lot of the specifics would have floated out of my mind.
What did interest me though was writing. Writing on current social political issues, or even just scribbling down a poem. Along with that I uncovered a love for events management. Somewhere in that mix also was an interest in public relations and social media management and marketing. Basically, I am interested in so many things but the law Making this realization was a bit unnerving for me. I was the first born in my family, the one “supposed to have it all together.” The lawyer. Shame sometimes overwhelms me when I tell people, that even if my degree is in law, it is not my career. Explaining has started draining me, especially given our African traditional society where nothing is really deemed ‘your business’. Everyone wants to have a say. Awhile ago, over lunch with a cousin of mine, we spoke about the freedom of getting lost.
As we talked I realized that the pressure to have it all figured out is one I have bought into for most of my life. I have always been so afraid of what I perceived was failure. Of not following what I thought was the “typical life path.” I am overwhelmed by the thought of being 30 and single. This thought scares me so much I break into sweats, yet 30 is only but 10 years away from now. My experience with school and life in general has made me reconsider my stance on ‘the typical life path’.. You see, not everyone will obtain a degree in 3 years, get that 9-5, marry at 26 and have 3 kids by the time they’re 40. It seems all perfect, very American-Dream like for lack of a better reference, but sadly (or maybe not so sadly) that isn’t always reality. Sometimes you will pick the wrong course or even the wrong career and have to backpedal a bit. You might have several different dreams and decide to pursue them one at a time.
I have learnt that it’s okay to not be sure. It’s okay to not know. It is also okay to think you are absolutely sure one minute and then change your mind the next. It’s okay to figure it out as you’re going along. What matters is that at some point you do figure it out. I think for a lot of people, losing yourself is just as much an important part of the journey as finding yourself is.
Voices Of Abantu
POSE FOR A PICTURE, PLEASE Sunset Melaku To the sounds of broken rainbows and tattered clouds, Beats the drums of shy emotions, screaming within, bleeding pain, Torrid and destitute, ashamed, slandered of speech and control, Burdened, heavy as the stormy clouds, waging wars from the depths of molecular tissue, When the blood races, the heart stops its beating, But the mind, The mind keeps the body alive, in rage and anger, in retribution and soiled compassion, The heart is silenced. Quiet, as death. Empty, as death. Grim, as death. A silence so loud, it shatters all thought and care, it destroys loveâ€™s yoke to bear, An emptiness so strong, so purposeful and yet calm. The beauty of despair, Dour, pure and alive, alive as the arrested heartbeat of this body, Each piece slung, onto the nextthe string breaking away, Lifeâ€™s highway at crossroads but with no choices, The executioner summons unwillingly, The body has been dead a long time.
It rains, it pours and it shines, Each season a definition, a sign and symbol, A step into the future, a frozen moment, and then a step back into the past, Monumental transitions, red, orange and green of traffic lights, Or the red on silent lips. Photographic pauses, clicks of time and place, Each click, like the tick-tock of my heartbeatâ€™s clock, Faces and sides, cubic images, still and refrained, indifferent to change, The clouds are toned, the sun sleeps, and it pours. Again. It starts, it continues, it never ends, A winding road, gravel, sand, stone, grass, and then gravel, sand, stone and grass again, Changing routines and shooting stars, the sun rises and sets, In the same direction, the minute hand revolts. Clockwise and anti-clockwise, It neverends. Transfigurations of space, time is forever, The body is frozen in a memory long shed, blown away with spring leaves, To nowhere- it never ends. The battles of the mind, tragic and blue, hot and cold, Desires of reflections, conflicted hearts, When the love has been tested, an induced feeling once gone, Reincarnate. And the words spoken, the fury felt and the anger wounds fresh, Stillness engulfs the body, and the desire for pain and lovethey remain the same, All feeling lost, and as the rains wash the streets grey, It starts all over again.
Voices Of Abantu
Hosted by Lulu
Meet Gerald Malinga a self-published author, poet and play wright walking door to door selling his books to make ends meet. Listen to his story of perseverance and dancing saucepans.
Voices Of Abantu
The Romper: Unpacki Edna Ninsiima Gr e e t i n g s fa s hi o n for ward brot her s!
Rompers for men or “romphims” *rolling eyes* have arrived so that you may partake. To be honest I am excited for the trend; firstly, because any fashion trend is an art to behold (yes, men’s leg day is now a thing). Second and perhaps more importantly; because day by day, one fashion trend at a time, we unmask patriarchy’s harmful socially constructed roles for the male gender.
First it was the skinny jeans. Before it was widely acceptable, several men sat down for drinks and contemptuously regarded their confident and fashion forward counterparts who had embraced the trend. They came up with all sorts of excuses; “my balls can’t fit in those things,” or “they’re too tight.” Of course the homophobes lamented, “If you’re a man who wears skinny jeans, you’re gay!” Such comments though driven by their conditioned hate for homosexuality, also revealed that deep down, they were green with envy that some of their “own” were brave enough to free themselves from that conditioning; something they were too afraid to do.
So for several months they wore their large, disgustingly ill-fitting bell bottoms while the confident men rocked their form-fitted skinny jeans. Fast forward to today, many of them, yes many, I can name about 4 men you might know some too) have become wary of that particular burden of toxic masculinity and freed themselves. They strut the streets, bars and work corridors on dress down Fridays rocking skinny jeans. Years before the skinny jeans, it was the dreadlocks and piercings which many hated so much and later embraced, but I digress. The romper: for years, the attached two piece blouse and little shorts onesie was reserved for
ing toxic masculinity children and women to wear. In fact, a quick Google search of the romper history will teach you that it first surfaced in the early 90s as a comfortable clothing for babies until the mid 90s when women started wearing it. By 2006, several designers were makingand displaying them on the runways- for women. Earlier this month, the internet was awash with the romper trend for men. A piece that has been renamed “romphim,” either by designers for supposed distinction, or by a few individuals whose dependence on the chains of masculinity as the alpha and omega of their very existence doesn’t permit them to be comfortable with the nomenclature considering the clothing has been widely worn by women.
This cultural sensation has some men embracing it; some have described it in contempt as the “feminization of young men,” a statement which says a ton about how our society views femininity.
men wear shorts the size of regularly wear overalls and/or often enjoy watching a game of rugby where highly masculine men wear shorts the size of my crochet highwaist bikini bottom.
Many others are just having a field day with internet jokes and memes for the sake of it. Make no mistake, the romphim shall be worn, in khaki, cotton, silk, even Ankara. Still, jokes shall be made, drunk-in-masculinity men will condemn it as “feminization” and like the case with skinny jeans, homophobes will attempt to shame men who wear it- many of whom even regularly wear overalls and/or often enjoy watching a game of rugby where highly masculine
Only time will tell whether those who are fashion forward will finally free themselves of the deeply internalised fragile masculinity and explore the fashion trend. For now, go forth with pride ye all fashion forward men and rock the romper, sorry, romphim; who knows, soon we might collectively find a solution to catcalling since many women have sworn to do it to men in rompers. For now, change is happening, and it is influenced by the place where we all love to bethe internet.
Voices Of Abantu
The HeartBeat Zone Drum Circle Br ian
One of the more interesting and interactive installations, at the 11th Edition Of The LaBa! Arts Festival. â€œThis was started by two friends; Ejuku Mark & Liz Kamugisha, with the aim of creating a space for people to meet regularly for therapeutic group drumming. The Drum Circles are an all-inclusive space where everyone is welcome to express themselves through drumming, connect with others, and get involved in collaborative and spontaneous creation of music. It goes deeper than just a family friendly jam session however, it also offers a drug free method to deal with difficult traumatic emotions and stress relief through hand drumming.
Voices Of Abantu
They sell dreams by the milligram here. The dealers lurk on the street corners and a was perpetually bright and beautiful. Even when the sun went down the city remaine sion for happiness. But beneath each smile was an empty desperate soul looking for
She had stumbled there by mistake, searching for clarity. At least thatâ€™s what she told she knew it was only an escape from the despondency that crowded every second of
It was bliss initially, everything she had ever imagined. The liberty, the pseud tra. And for the first time, she experienced what she thought magic was of judgement and prejudice. This was who she was supposed to be. She could Before she realized, she lost herself floating aloof through the dreamy beauty that wa got what she was running from, who she was supposed to be. Day time merged with shadow that seemed to hover over her in the little moments when she regained her s
The delirium never left and she slowly started to grow weary of it. The bitter sweet escape reality that was her life. It was slowly drawing her closer to the edge. She knew she was g that feeds her dreams she knows she will never achieve. Sheâ€™s lost inside, waiting to die
alleys with bags of pills and potions. The city is littered with them. On the outside it ed ablaze with flashing lights and the promise of a good time. It was the perfect illutheir next hit of that delirious bliss. Escape from the disappointment that reality was.
d herself. It was supposed to be a journey of self discovery but at the core of her soul f her existence. Besides, how are you supposed to find yourself in a city of lost souls?
do-freedom, it was exhilarating. Intoxicating. â€œNo more rulesâ€?, was the mans supposed to feel like. Every turn she took was a new beginning, free do everything she wanted to do. She could finally be all that she wanted to be. as a seemingly endless montage of pure happiness. Exhilarating joy. Ecstasy. She forthe night as her world withered. There was no more sunshine, only a dark menacing sense of self. Stealing the light right out of her eyes. Ripping the joy out of her heart.
e of unrealized dreams she nearly overdosed on proved a finite escape from the depressing getting overwhelmed. Now she finds herself searching for clarity in the thin hollow metal e alone bleeding out slowly by the side of the road waiting for help that will never come.
Voices Of Abantu
At the Foodie Table Isabella Namanda The Tokosa food festival was back for its third installment on 20th May 2017 at Legends rugby grounds. Vivo Energy Uganda, under the shell gas brand, gave Kampala a day in the sun with food and drink in partnership with Tusker Lite, Coca-Cola and DSTV.
Food lovers, friends and families were out this year sampling and tasting from stalls serving Ugandan cuisine, Asian fusion, BBQ, specialty juices, sweets and ice cream. Participating food outlets did their best with presentation but those that had some sort of seating arrangement with shade had a full house all afternoon. Even children were catered for with a dedicated play area equipped with an allday cinema powered by DSTV
(the singalongs to Frozen were epic!). The adults who dared were pitted against each other in an obstacle course that turned out more entertaining than the local artists’ performances. Let’s be honest who doesn’t enjoy watching someone talk to an egg on a spoon with their eyes?
share a few cooking tips with real-time demos.
What I loved most about the Tokosa Food Festival was the motive behind it all. Living up to the Shell Gas brand essence, igniting love every day, the Bless a Child Foundation (NPO providing treatment Besides the yearly cook-offs, we had the and care for children living with cancer) chance to see top chefs- Hannat Nabadda will get a Kitchen makeover from Shell (The Food Library), Kavitha Sserunkuma Gas and the #Tokosa17 partners as well as 10% of the gate collections. It was a fun(Kampala Food Network/Healthy Bites filled day for a great cause, looking forKampala) and Mehmet Demirogullari ward to a bigger better festival next year! (Sheraton Kampala Hotel)
Voices Of Abantu
Uganda Through The Lens Andrew Pacutho
Andrew in one statement is - what you see is what you get. Straightforward and up for a new challenge and experience. Free spirit but not too free, love and let live, opinionated and sometimes unapologetic. But a very gentle lover of life, photographer, writer and journalist.
Voices Of Abantu
P H OTO G R ISAIAH
K R E AT I V
DA I SY
EDI T CAROL
R A PHER S cover
L AYO U T ASABA
TO R KAGEZI
Voices Of Abantu
Published on Jul 21, 2017
Voices of Abantu was born out of the need to escape. Escaping a reality with pessimism as a back-bone. We believe that there is a lot more t...