To The Best Thing That Happened To Me…..That’s you Pumpkin:)

 

 

Hi love,

I know, I know but

I promise this is the last time I’m writing before you get back….

So I finally changed my hair again, cut the side off

and added the yellow in it- that sexy look you wanted,

Lost my job yesterday because of it but like you always say, fuck that!

As long as it makes me more of the woman you want me to be.

 

Sally (remember my nagging conscience) of course doesn’t agree,

Doesn’t seem to agree with anything where you’re concerned

She has become a real bitch

Just like after you asked me to ditch my leeching so called friends

And after you asked me to change my slutty wardrobe…

Keeps saying I’m making a fool of myself. But I like the longer skirts, baggy jeans and turtle necks, really, I do.

Sally says I look stupid and will bake in this heat but I don’t care

As long as you find them sexy

 

Don’t know why she won’t just let me be happy.

Making you happy makes me happy, You know that, don’t you?

You know I would do anything for you honey, right?

I just wish Sally would understand what’s between us.

She spoils my day and makes me feel used and worthless,Mostly when you’re away like this.

Why can’t she just leave me alone?

I really don’t mind paying your rent, and your water bills and your car bills

And your phone bills and putting money every month on your account

She just doesn’t understand that you’re going through a rough time right now…

IT’S CALLED LOVE BITCH!!

You should have seen me putting her in her place! 🙂

And I know I promised to stop talking about her but I just can’t.

She’s driving me crazy

 

Sally says you don’t love me, that you use me

like all those other Girls who send you stalking messages on your phone

And whose perfumes and lipstick we always find on your shirts.

I keep telling her that you’re a hot guy and

Can’t help the female attention like you always say

But what would that ugly bum know about good things?

Anyway, I miss you and can’t wait to see you,

Don’t over work yourself at the business trip(Sally wonders how you can be on business trip when you

Don’t have a job. Damn blonde!)

 

Did you get the money I sent dear?

How come you haven’t called me all week or replied any of my emails?

I know, too many questions, and

I’m not whining; just want to know you’re ok.

Oh, and some woman called saying she’s pregnant with your child,

Put that slut in her place.

Love you pumpkin……

How come you never say you love me?

Anyway just wanted to tell you that I

Will be there to pick you up at the airport:)

forgot to put that in the last 8 emails I sent.

XOXO my love.

 

 

 

#TellAFeministThankYou

My dad passed away when I was 7.

He used to tell me I’d be Miss Uganda and the President of Uganda at the same time because I was left handed and as good looking as he was (its ok, roll your eyes all you want). Of course he had no idea how that opened a door for me to dream of all the endless possibilities that could be my future, he probably just wanted me to smile and feel special. I have over time wanted to be an astronaut, a pathologist, a choreographer, a pilot, a journalist and now finally studying to be a lawyer. I can’t wait to know what I’ll want to be at 35.

Nothing for me is reserved for men.

I remember how after he passed away, my mum took on the burden of raising me alone. We still went to our paternal village for the holidays. And while there, mother still only went to the kitchen hut as and when she wanted to (children dint enjoy the same luxury of course). She also continued to sit at the men’s drinking circle dishing out her opinion- a big deal back then.

My mum has been studying all my life: I know she started out with a diploma. She had just began her undergraduate course when my dad died and has since gone through most of the other works and  now has the proud burden of the ACCA certified accountants annual fee. For her, a girl MUST have an education. She says men never respect uneducated girls.

I remember in primary school, telling my mum how I was being bullied and teased by some boys and all she told me was to go and beat those boys up then ran to a teacher if I wanted them to stop messing with me. No sympathy. No pity. No consolation or hug. And for good measure, she pointed out how she had to walk kilometres to her primary school, barefoot, carrying Bab on her back. (I dint take her advice, but my sister Bella did for the both of us. Looking back, they stayed away after that)

A girl crying, for my mother, has always been a big sign of weakness, and it always earned you a frown and a lecture about learning to be stronger. If she caught you in the wrong and was caning you for it, crying only made her cane you more.

The first time, I experienced a flat tyre was with my mum. She was driving us back to Kampala from Tororo when it happened and all four passengers were women. I got out looking for a man that I could stop to help. She got out and gave me an oral crash course on changing tyres. I changed that tyre and have changed every other flat tyre I’ve got since. I also change my own bulbs and manual search for my TV stations. Until recently, I was still the first person my mum called when something wasn’t working J

 

My mum would never consider herself or my dad for that matter, a feminist, most of you wouldn’t either. I’ve also just always considered her a really strong and independent woman, and my dad the tallest strongest man ever, until today.

Every time the words feminist and feminism come up, immediately to most people-especially men, pictures of loud women screaming for their rights, lonely divorced women, overly outspoken and uptight women in trousers and women beating up their husbands for coming home late, come to mind. In Uganda, its images of scary successful women with dreadlocks and big cars kicking men’s egos like balls, single miserable middle aged women that refused to marry in their ‘prime’ and now can’t find a man, and against culture single mothers that MUST be struggling to make ends meet.

It seems every young girl or woman aspiring to be called a feminist should work towards falling within one of the categories.

courtesy of google

Why the story of feminism must be told in a hard, discouraging and downright patriarchal way is something I think needs to change. What a sad picture of feminism we’ve painted.

My parents were the beginning of the definition of what it means to me to be an emancipated woman. Equality can be earned in many different ways-they taught me to think beyond my gender box, they planted the seeds of feminism in me. I love my father for thinking I could be president, a dream of me a skinny 6year old girl doing a man’s job.  More than anything else, my mother has taught me never to be afraid to do the things men do, it’s not rocket science. She’s such a feminist. I’d put her right up there on my feminist chart smiling next to Sylvia Tamale and my best friend Godiva.

And I know there are women like her out there, changing lives, unconsciously making other women stronger through their actions, through their unknowingly emancipating demur. There are men out there, who do not hit women, who respect women’s opinions, who encourage women to be more; who through the respect and love they show to the women around them unconsciously make them set their own bar that other men must meet because they have seen a possibility through him.

Tell me reader, don’t you know a feminist?

I think it’s about time we thank the silent feminists in our lives.

The rapes that we forget:Stop the victim blaming and look for justice for the women in our lives…..

RAPEverb   /reɪp/ [I or T]

Definition: to force someone to have sex when they are unwilling, using violence or threatening behaviour

Wikipedia: There is no single theory that conclusively explains the motivation for rape.

Victim blamingterm

Definition: holding the victim of a crime to be in whole or in part responsible for the crime. In the context of rape, this concept refers to the Just World Theory and popular attitudes that certain victim behaviors (such as flirting or wearing sexually provocative clothing) may encourage rape. In extreme cases, victims are said to have “asked for it”, simply by not behaving demurely.

 

-He locked the door. He turned to face her. “Like you said, we don’t want anyone coming in on us.” He reached under Liberty’s head and produced a roll of duct tape hidden under the cushions. He cut off a length and sealed her mouth. He pressed down and spun the roll around her wrists…

..Liberty’s muscles refused. Her legs were bound. Virgil leered above her. Hands searched her body.

No. Don’t.

Her skirt rose up.

Don’t.

Pressure.

Pain.

Pain.

Pain!!

If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you.

He left the room. Liberty laid on the couch until the final school bell rang. She struggled out of the restraints and cleaned up the mess of herself.

Only when she saw the bloodstains on the couch did she cry.

Where could Liberty turn to for help? To the police? To the school? She understood nothing of the law. But she did know she was acting against the rules by first talking to a boy and to eating lunch away from the lunchroom. To her friends? She had none. To her parents? Girls who let that happen to them had been asking for it, she was taught. To God? Her parents told her He didn’t exist.

Liberty could only rely on herself. She retreated into herself, and stayed there. – A rape scene excerpt from  John Oystein’s novel

 

I know any woman reading this, has either been a rape victim, downplayed a story of how she narrowly escaped the ordeal, was in an uncomfortable situation where her ‘possible rape alarm bells’ where going off even though luckily nothing happened or knows someone close to them that has gone through one of those horrifying experiences.  I’ve learnt recently that one in four women report that their first sexual experience was forced-Amnesty International report.  For most, these traumatic experiences have either been bottled up within the victim or gone no further than a close friend’s ear in the hope to forget it, knowing that even if reported, it will still be blamed on her, or even worse the fear of sarcastic ridiculing and mocking, jokes like ‘kulika agasajja’, a comment that a work colleague made to Ndagire, a Ugandan journalist that was gang raped last year.  She later committed suicide.  Rosebell’s blog has more on this terrible incident.

For me, such a story as well as the most recent story of the Indian girl gang raped and left for dead on a bus, is a constant reminder that no matter how educated, how successful, how independent, how powerful we get as women, it only takes a moment of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  We are not as emancipated as we’d like to think.  Men still possess and wave a dangerous tool of oppression over us: rape continues to aggravate discrimination against women and girls.

 

Even more disturbing is the fact that it might not always be a stranger.  More than 55% of rapists are men we trust: our fathers, our brothers, our uncles, our boyfriends, our teachers, our neighbors.   Men who make dealing with the trauma and humiliation of having had your body violated even harder because if someone so close could have raped you, you surely must have been asking for it somehow.

don’t even want to get into how hard it is to get a rapist arrested; I’m not even talking conviction here. How victims are left facing inadequate responses by police, having to pay for the cost of police transportation to arrest the accused, forensic examination fees and other expenses related to the investigation. 

But I’ll talk about the poor men that have been forced to blame the woman for what happened- ‘she brought it on herself’ is usually what they say.  Why else would a man forcefully penetrate her vagina over and over again? She must have refused to give him ‘some’ of what is owed to him, or her skirt was so short, he could see her shiny wet vagina beckoning him to punish her for her indecency. Those slutty ungrateful women!

I don’t pray a lot but I did pray for those poor men that have to go through life with such women, that are forced by the woman’s lack of demure to rape her. What a heavy burden to carry around. I pray such men never have wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters that some other poor men are also forced to rape. I pray they never have someone they care so much about be raped by another man and castigated because she had to have brought it on herself.

No man should have to see someone so close go through such an experience, just like no woman should have to be raped, let alone be blamed for it.

Now, can we have some meaningful action done about rape already? Outrage shouldn’t wait for incidents pushed in the lime light. Somewhere around you there is a woman who has been raped, living silently with the trauma and deserves justice.

 

PS: I know my mind seems to be allover the place, but a topic like this is hard to have a direct chain of thought about.

Little Note to the Cheating Man With the Lousy Excuse…..

Today,I take us back to 2012, back to a random night in december on my part, back to one of the episodes of NTV MEN, a popular TV show that has 4 guys lounging in Sheraton hotel, talking about relationship dynamics and basically giving the ”guys’ side of the story.”

On this particular night, I remember, I was home, folded up in the chair,  just flipping channels looking for something funny and light to watch, something to accompany the lazy good feel the wine I was drinking had already put in motion. Given that most local stations air tele novellas at that time, MEN seemed like such a great alternative. When they introduced the episode topic why men cheat, I prepared to roll my eyes, and roll my eyes I did people. I also dropped my jaw a couple of times, laughed out in utter disbelief, stood up in protest and hunted for my pen and pad. So much for the good feel.

What did the men say that for the length of the show stole my groove?  The same thing men everywhere say about them cheating; it’s in their nature, they can’t help it, women are to blame if the guy does it, and so on. The guest on the show, whose name I can’t actually recall, even went ahead to advise men to make sure they don’t get caught(I know, right!).

It’s incredible how men go out of their way to justify their cheating, to make their cheating more acceptable than a woman’s. God forbid the woman should cheat.

I’ll start with that escapism argument that men have to cheat because it’s in men’s nature to cheat. Our poor African men who have been tied down by the white man’s concept of monogamy and can only escape its painful claws through a fling or two or seven on the side. That’s the biggest joke I’ve heard since that black Santa at the zoo when I was young attempting to sell ‘HO HO HO…’ to Ugandans.  We’ve all watched TV, Santa is for white children and we are all human, if it’s in men’s DNA, it surely couldn’t have missed the women that came from the rib. We are all capable of doing it, but it doesn’t mean we should go a head and do it anyway.

Here are a couple of things I’d like to say to the men and their lousy line of thought. It also goes out to the top in a gay relationship and the butch in a lesbian one:

1. That boat sailed a long time a go. We are way (over two decades to be exact), past the stage where men can get away with validating or justifying eating the chicken gizzard and the eggs, having the cool chair, physically abusing their partners and cheating, had the absolute right to talk at village meetings for the women, just because they have balls we are not even allowed to kick.

2. Cheating is wrong. Period.  No man or woman should cheat and neither should come up with ridiculous justifications for it(at least women got that memo). But since we are throwing around those ones, it brings me to 3.

3. I think women have a better chance at running with the argument that it’s in their nature, that nature that the entertainment industry has reduced women to. With the way women have been objectified and our bodies reduced to mere sex props(you only have to watch Gal a bubble by Konshens for proof), we are the ones who shouldn’t need an excuse to cheat. After all, we can’t be expected to dream up the mad skills men expect us to have. How else should we be the freak in the sheets and the lady on the street if not by practice.

And yet, we still don’t use the excuse.

4. The argument that you see temptation everywhere and are too weak to control yourself is just bogus if you ask me.  I for one, see temptation everywhere. I watch rugby-that lovely indecent game with big sweaty men tackling each other while their bulging muscles have to be tucked into those little shorts – that’s temptation, I have pictures of David Beckham as an underwear model-NAKED,

courtesy of google

I see hot men around me but I don’t look for every opportunity to hit on them, let alone get into their pants.

That said, I think all men need to be careful the picture they try to portray, careful that women could use that card too in a reverse situation.   I think men just cheat because they can, they lack commitment and as a way to show dominance in some imaginary power struggle. Men need to be careful because with the balance of power between men and women changing, with more women becoming the family heads, with more independent women making the decisions in the family, they become the dominant partners and they too are then open to the idea of cheating because they can, because they want to show who’s boss, because after all that’s one of the ways the power struggle is won.

Just thought I should share this particular piece with you, especially considering how heated the talk around the Anti-homosexuality bill has been in Uganda, share the feelings of an LGBTI activist in Uganda. 

Desmond Tutu
“Churches say that the expression of love in a heterosexual monogamous relationship includes the physical — the touching, embracing, kissing, the genital act; the totality of our love makes each of us grow to become increasingly godlike and compassionate. If this is so for the heterosexual, what earthly reasons have we to say that it is not the case with the homosexual?
The Jesus I worship is not likely to collaborate with those who vilify and persecute an already oppressed minority. I myself could not have opposed the injustice of penalizing people for something about which they could do nothing — their race — and then have kept quiet as women were being penalized for something they could do nothing about — their gender; hence my support for the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate.
Equally, I cannot keep quiet while people are being penalized for something about which they can do nothing — their sexuality. To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as apartheid ever was.” -Desmond Tutu

Opimva

By now I think you have heard that my beloved country Uganda- the Pearl of Africa is not largely remembered for the atrocities allegedly committed by the late President Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada, but by the Anti Homosexuality Bill or “Kill The Gays” Bill. It is because of all the faces homophobia has worn over the last 3 years. I remember that day in 2009 when I walked out of a meeting to take a phone call only to be ambushed by press asking me what I thought about the “Homosexuality bill” that had been tabled in Parliament.  “Huh?” I questioningly thought. My comment was that “I haven’t seen the bill, but I believe there’s no need for such a bill”. I never imagined the magnitude of its effects on my life and the movement both negative and positive. It has generated debate we never imagined in less than…

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Letter to 12 year old me

Dear me from those days,

so I was supposed to have written this 3 months ago on our birthday, but I’m sure it doesn’t matter because your knowledge of the world wide web begins next year when Bob takes you to that internet cafe near home to learn how to open an email address anyway.

On that point “bended@excite.com” is NOT a cool email username. Please don’t use it

Oh yeah and don’t worry about that hair and its colour, it will grow and  you will relax it and the brown will complement you. There will also be lots of colour and weaves to play with. Right now, its cut to short bob and red (yes, it happens)

Pringles will eventually go off the market, I have no idea why either, and yes, the texas bba flavour goes first. Kiwi shoe polish gets competition, Quencher eventually gets kicked out, and Rwenzori just drops the soap.

The spects will never go away, but on a brighter note, the sizes and colours change and they become fashionable. Being dark skinned will also no longer be so bad. E! tv will replace those bully names like ‘charcoal’ and ‘mucholi’ with being exotic looking and besides you’ll thank the stars you’re black and not a Moslem Arab man called Hussein living in the USA when it eventually launches its war on terror

The first year of high school sucks, and it will continue sucking for the next four years but the last two years are going to rock, that will be the beginning of defining you: the hips will finally break out, you’ll become a prefect, get your first letter from a boy that’s not your brother, and surprisingly manage to be cool. I think.

I know you hate school, I do too, that doesn’t change.

And karma’s a bitch because you wont win a lottery and drop out of school, you actually go ahead to get into law school

Mills and Boon will be replaced by more mature, bigger, better, more detailed novels with better sex scenes.

Because you’re a very late bloomer, you’ll get your first kiss much later, Don’t ask me when, just know there will be fireworks, and tingles in places you do not yet know that you have just like in the romance novels 🙂

That soap Maria De Los Angeles, start a hate campaign against it because its the beginning of a Tele Mundo soap invasion in the whole country, maybe even world. They are going to be everywhere on every local channel and everyone around you is going to be hooked. Be prepared.

Enjoy the innocence of using mum’s Erickson flip,because you’re going to become a slave to phone technology; they are going to come, woe you, seduce you, and leave you hanging like a guy that has to withdraw at the brink of cumming. None will ever be good enough there will always be something better and unreachable. Its miserable

Facebook and Twitter will come along but ,maybe let me not spoil those ones for you, just don’t forget to activate spam settings and don’t accept a friend request from mum or any of the unties.

You’re going to go through some dark times babes, I cant say they’ll be few, I cant say they’ll be easy, I cant say you’ll be unscathed but you will get through them.

Bella will pass on, go join Dad when you least expect it, so stop the fighting and bickering, and enjoy the time you have with her.

You will lose friends, you will get your heart broken, you will get disappointed and frustrated, you will cry and feel alone many times. But it is life. You will at least learn to smile or at least keep a straight face through it

But you will have amazing friends to help you through those times: they will make you laugh, finally give you a proper nickname, and throw you your first ever surprise birthday party.

Yes, a lot of things will change but, Yoweri Kaguta will still be your president with no hope of change

August for my women

Today is the beginning of another month; the start of a new chapter for some, the opportunity to be better than last month for others, a chance to review all those New Year resolutions we made(if you even bothered), but for most, it’s just another day to get by trying to define their happiness. I do not usually attach much to months but this August for me, is a chance to meditate, to slow down, to reflect, to appreciate, and to be thankful for all the women that have joined the pieces that are slowly unfolding the story behind my puzzle of a life.

August is the month my mother was born-that amazingly crazy woman I have endless stories about that drives me raging mad sometimes but that I’d do almost anything for, literally. She; I cannot talk about in just one post but if ever I fail in life (she could cane me for even thinking it), it will never be because of any lacking on her part. I’m so proud to be those mummy’s girls people always complain of because she’s my mummy. We do a lot together; we laugh, we joke, we gossip, we fight, we argue, we share (mostly shoes), we are mother and daughter, we are sisters, we are friends.

August is the same month my sister Bella was born, only one year older than me. Growing up, we were always confused for twins but Bella was always better than me at everything; she was stronger, she was faster, she was the snake champion-for those of you, who had good old Nokia phones, she was brighter in class and unphased by anything, she could even take down boys, that girl. But she died about 8years ago and I still miss her SO much.

One woman, one girl, both amazing, both taught me and are continuing to teach me so much about life. So this moment right now, this first day of August, I’d like to dedicate to the women in my life that like my mother and sister leave footprints, and prove everyday that there is no such thing as the weaker sex.

Liz, my free spirited kid sis who I want to be in my other life because she is so awesome and doesn’t even know it- I gladly cry on her shoulder; Julie, that friend of mine that doesn’t let you cry when you’re down but pushes a cup of peppermint tea into your hands, finds whoever put you in a funk and deals with them; Lady(yes, her name)  who takes on anything with so much love and passion, it seems like a body part the rest of us missed; Suzi, who im so jealous of because she somehow makes everything ok; Amina who reads me like a book and still loves me to bits; Grace who is one of the smallest women I know but also one of the bravest-she’s the kind that always creates new paths; and Isabella, always waiting with a big hug and warm smile and who I want to be when I grow up.

Yes my women, thank you so much for being in my life and enjoy the rest of the month.

I did, however, manage to come up with all this emotion with the help of a couple of bottles of Guinness so burn it to your memory, it’s not happening again soon.

Good night the rest of you and try to be something more to the people around you, you just never know who’s counting their lucky stars they met you