Thou Should Not Laugh At One’s Hustle.

If people really knew what a hustle can be. A real-life hustle on the streets; no job, no ‘connected relatives’, no cents for a meal but just you against the odds then they wouldn’t be laughing at this picture. Waking up to go out and hope lady luck shines on you that day. Living each day as it comes. Survival!

This photo was posted on Facebook where people found a lot of amusement in it & cracked all sorts of jokes about it. I don’t know whether it’s his fault to end up like this (hopefully not) but I think the people who laughed at this boy wherever they are, are living too lit a life, they don’t know what the hustle part of life really feels like. The dude doesn’t look like he was living a life on the beach, does he?

When you can’t even afford to find a building to get into to hide from the rain, can’t afford a car to board so that by the time it reaches your destination, it’s stopped raining nor do you have a relative or even a friend with an office where you can casually stroll in to shelter from the rain. You can’t just enter a Kampala restaurant & sit without ordering a soda because then, your transport money will be gone. Imagine walking home on mud-filled roads, cold bitten. That kind of situation where your last resort is to drop all your swag & prop yourself up a phone booth to shelter from the rain.

That is a real hustle life and people who found amusement in this picture, may God give them all they desire because I am not sure what they would do to their lives if tables turned.  

The hustle is real out here in case y’all ain’t opened your eyes wide enough to see it you privileged homo sapiens. Such situations are things we don’t laugh about it. Periodt.

Day 9 of The Afrobloggers #Winterabc2021 Gender-Based Violence. How We Can Stop It.

Gender-Based Violence. We have created a hopeless situation by mistreating people majorly according to their sex/ gender, socially, emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

The 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey revealed that up to 22% of women aged 15 to 49 in the country had experienced some form of sexual violence. The report also revealed that 13% of women aged 15 to 49 report experiencing sexual violence annually. This translates to more than 1 million women exposed to sexual violence every year in Uganda.
Combating gender-based violence is not something that one person could only do but as a pool of different entities because of its hydra-like embedment in society. you deal with one then the other keeps rearing its head. However, below, simplistically put are some of the ways we could combat GBV.

1. Teach humanity values in schools. Right from the onset, children should be taught the values of humanity. The importance of one another regardless of skin, sex, tribe, or gender. It could easily be taught in schools because some of the homes from where these children come are run by people who never got the chance to be made aware of these issues and still practice them as normal but if we invest in the younger generation, we are sure they will pass this knowledge and awareness to generations and generations.

2. Strengthen education/ social awareness. Relatedly, Education systems should be woven around eliminating gender norms and practices through plays, classroom sitting arrangements, activity allocations, education material genderisations like stories & colors among others. Through this, children would develop without attaching gender stereotypes on the different objects, stories like associating colour pink to girls, toy cars to boys etc.

3. Strengthen gender ministries and how they could foster the eradication of gender stereotypes in the public. This could be done through partnering with the different gender departments within the ministries to organize conferences, seminars, and other activities where they could reach out to the public and tell them of the different gender biases in society and how to fight them. They could also be used to reach out to the different government departments and teach them about gender and how it is a disease in society and ways of eradicating it so that these departments could be aware and try as hard in eliminating it when designing their projects.

4. Strengthen social inclusion projects especially for the women or groups facing gender inequalities in the respective spaces where they are participating especially in activities that further support their freedom of expression and social wellbeing.

5. Enforce the use of law and the justice systems so that when people bring these cases to light, they are strongly and immediately responded to and the corresponding punishments are felt worthy. So many vices stay around due to the justice system’s failure to remit the right punishments thus not offering grave convictions that perpetrators would fear facing as according to their crimes.

In conclusion, therefore, gender-based violence is a vice that we could uproot if we all come as one because of the way it is woven into the different tiers and systems of society. We need the efforts of individuals, families, institutions, communities, states & transnational blocks to triumph over this demeaning behavior.

Day Six of The Afrobloggers #Winterabc2021. Body-Shaming & Stereotyping

Day 6 here and I about the body-shaming character of our society.

She was a young, small, beautiful girl. Very happy in her petit form. Everyone called her a model. She flaunted and celebrated life in her slimness. To the nursery school, she went, fat people were bullied. All sorts of names were thrown at them. Pigs, gluttons, fatso et al. the clothes were even cheap and easy to find by her mother. She was the flower girl and maid to so many events. She played an angel in her school plays.

But then she joined a mixed high school and the scale tilted. The boys in her school had differing tastes. Some fancied those abundantly endowed at certain parts of their bodies and those that are her size. Slim. What they called figure one. The former, figure eight, hour glass and so forth. It was so many a guy’s dream, to have the flyiest girl in school. The one with the biggest assets or the most curling curves. A many African guy’s definition of a sexy woman and many a time associated with being gashing or squirty. If you know what I mean. Competition to be noticed was always stiff. Your beauty, attitude and skills had to stand for you. Your body, that one automatically spoke for itself.

From high school, she went to higher institutions of learning which is just as well the entrance to adulthood and it just got worse. From girls in her class to adverts and social media, the girls with curves were always celebrated. They got the most whistlers from men in the club, on the streets, even lecturers themselves. Girls in so many music videos were those with the body, the lyrics glorified them. It felt like abandonment. Everywhere, they were given the first choices. And because they were the target of most men, they were the ones with the coolest clothes, latest phones and trends.

The body shape field had tilted immensely now. Her skinniness was now being questioned. It was at worst moments attributed to strange diseases. Stereotypes always came up. That small girls had HIV/AIDS, were sicklers and many others while the big girls were always thought to be healthy. That, “how one could be having a disease yet still maintain that look? Shaa. Impossible” and the guys went in. It was devastating.

And then came the money makers. The business men who had seen this trend and brought on to the market creams, body pads, operations and pills for women to enhance their bodies did not help the matter in any way. In fact, they made it worse. The field turned desperate. Many more and more females went for these and soon, the smallest of the girls were getting bigger and were reaping the ‘benefits’. More men and sexual advances with the offers they brought with the demands. The bonuses that came with having booty changed a lot of a girl’s life.

The small ones felt left out. Those who could not afford these felt the world had turned against them. The big booty girls were running the show. With the way they flaunted their curves, the way they dressed, the way they slayed it on social media and the media offers they got to feature in so many media ads. The men adored them, they worshiped the booty. Those who held influence in offices had places offered to the juicy ones. It was that bad. The field could no longer accommodate the small ones. It was a social annihilation. And then the white man has made Samantha the sex doll and it is the same noticeable thing about it. The booty is voluptuous.

But I only wish they knew that not all men are after the booty but the beauty. Maybe the inner beauty and that actually everyone has someone who loves them the way they are. I hope our society corrects that. Everyone deserves to be loved the way they appear. Men should also know this.

Of Good Character, Rashida’s Qualities…Of A Perfect Partner

Sometime in 2020, during one of those (#MeToo campaigns), There was a social media topic about people’s characters. Commonly, such topics involve qualities one looks out for in a partner. Amongst a number of comments on a certain post I can’t seem to find anymore was a comment by Rashida Namulondo, a poet and actress. I was so captivated by a fellow creative’s comment that I had to capture it and reproduce it for the world to see how beautiful she described qualities of her potential partner.

So, below she said…

‘’People are not perfect!  It depends on what you are looking for. Personally I want a good person, be it a romantic relationship, work relationship or friend. This is how I know a good person that I want in my life.

  • How he treats people around him especially support staff like waiters and cleaners. How he treats colleagues under his supervisor and he is in a superior position than them. It’s very easy to see someone’s manners in these situations of power play.
  • How open is he to the fact that he’s still learning, and that other people’s opinions and perspective on life counts just like his? Basically, I can’t handle people who think they are better than others and have this ‘I am right’ attitude.
  • How does he handle conflict? Let’s say for example, he bumps into someone on the road. Does he accept blame or goes on cursing and denies blame. Now, I know even the best of people curse on Ugandan roads but there are people who go beyond. Also, is he the kind who can be able to take the courage to mend things whether it’s his fault or not?
  • Does he have a plan in life and is he working courageously towards it? If he has no plan, is he the kind committed and interested in learning? Does he seek to improve his skills and take an extra mile to learn new things and skills? I can’t handle people who don’t strive to grow and be better than they were yesterday.
  • Is he a grateful person? Does He acknowledge the mercy of God? The help of others who have helped him? Is he grateful and is he able to meaningfully acknowledge help?
  • Does he take feedback? Is he able to take feedback without turning you into a bad person for giving him negative feedback and does he strive to change?
  • How does he speak of people when they are not around? It’s okay to complain once in a while about someone who has wronged you at work etc. but constantly speaking evil of someone? Noo! Does he ever acknowledge the good things even the worst his enemies could have or has done for him in his life? What is his relationship with his relatives? Even the bad ones. 
  • Now being a nice person doesn’t mean to be a push over. Can he stand up for himself respectfully without insulting others? Does he have boundaries and non-negotiables? And can he tell me the truth every single day even if it hurts?
  • Finally, does he see me? Does he even notice I am there? How well does he know my dreams? My goals. My ambitions. (This question is key because it can only mean a person listens when you talk or even when you don’t.) I know people I hardly talk to but they can recite my dreams, my hopes, things that upset me and those that bring me joy off their lips. And there are those I am close to who even after so many conversations have no slightest idea about who I am, what I hope for, what angers me and what are my dreams.

A person who truly sees you. Knows your soul because they feel it. That is the one that truly cares about you.

NB. These may seem so many things but very often you will be surprised that a good person ticks off all these boxes.

Rashida Namulondo

Rashida is a Ugandan based actress, stage director, and award-winning poet. She is the founder of the Sophie Muwanika Institute of Art for Change. A nonprofit organization that uses theatre for peace building.

Don’t Make Her A Single Mother

This is the women’s month and Women’s Day is just around the corner so I found it wise to send them this love letter… and to the men too. This is all about us…and it children.

A woman loved a man. She loved him hard and he played the part. Her dreams were coming true. She was going to be a wife to a loving man and then have him a couple of beautiful littluns making him a father and altogether become a beautiful family.

So when he wooed her heart, she gave to him one of her most precious assets, her sexuality. You can’t blame her because she looked at this man as the perfect candidate to make a family with. Probably because, in the course of dating, he presented that dream quite too often and seriously and so a child they got for a family she hoped they would make.

The bastard instead, was just for a joy ride so once the tot was delivered, off he ran. To the hills or the valleys, across the plains or the mountains no one knew for he disappeared faster than he came into her life. Probably to spread his horn further. A heartbroken female, he left behind. A dadless child he left behind. Abandoned.

Broken heart. Shattered dreams. Hurt emotions and literally a fatherless child with a husbandless mother. She now has to fend for not only herself but for her child too. It is like it was a mistake for her to give in herself to him. Like it was her blunder to leave every other suitor for him. Such a heartless coward.

The world has never really been a cool shade for single moms. The blame they go through for having given in to a man that couldn’t commit. The promiscuous stigmatization they are given. We tend to label them being loose. We tend to pile the blame on her and turn blind to the idiot that played with her heart. That failed to act like a man and take charge of the results from his horn. The struggle they go through finding another suitor that won’t traumatize them for what happened before. Bringing it up in every argument, the insecurities, the ignoring of the child that came with her. That it’s her responsibility and that he starts from where he came into her picture.

A single mother is like a sheep in the wilderness full of wolf packs. Like Survivor Island, she has to keep up or be left behind. She lives in denial of her reality. Having to hide the child from possible suitors thinking they will jump ship once they know she got extra ‘baggage’.  Many men will think she is loose and try to gain sexual favors from her or that she is in a constant disparate need for help (which may be true) and try to get sexual in exchange for help. That is a sad reality. Hardly will any of them try to commit. Many fear that responsibility. “How can I father a child I didn’t father?” It is sad. It hurts.

Now literary alone in the world, that is if her family didn’t ignore her too because many think it is taboo for a woman to have a child and not live with its father. A shame to the family name and also if the father’s family doesn’t treat her any different, she now has to fend for school fees so that the baby gets an education, medical care, housing, food, clothes, belonging and identity, and all this while the father, the husband that was supposed to be is out there sexing other women. Probably they also know that he absconded from his parental responsibilities somewhere but what the heck, he said he loves me too so let the sista find a way to survive with her kid am moving on with the man now.

To the families that are raising the boy child, please teach that boy before he thinks he is now a man that women ought to be respected, honored, cherished, protected and loved. That sex is not everything and once they take on the sex activities, they must be ready for the consequences that come after. That live sex doesn’t give birth to a TV, car or anything but a baby and it is that child, their own seed that they’re going to subject a lot of mental torture to the moment they decide to close the door on them.

Dear player, if at all you don’t have plans of making that woman your wife then don’t make her a mother for nothing. Withdraw, wear a condom or don’t sex her at all and if at all you aren’t ready to take care of a woman and her child then stay away from single mothers. It is that simple. It is not a life she called for.

 Just as well, dear woman, not everything male that says it loves you really does so you do not have to open your legs for them without protection just because they said they love you. Let that niga take his time dating you if need bes while in that moment you’re looking out for the father figure in him. There are always red flags to look out for and yes, some things are actually worth the wait if you’re committed to looking out for the best.