Friday, February 29, 2008

UBOB Awards

** You might have to click on the results to be able to view them clearly.

The Uganda Bloggers' Society is proud to announce this year's winners of the annual Uganda Best of Blog Awards.

Here to present the first category is ((drum roll)) ............. Me

Me: The award for Best Photography goes to Ugandan Insomniac for Arbitrary Beauty II.

And here to present the award for the category of Best Design is...... Me again.

Me: The Uganda Best Of Blog Award for Best Design goes to Citizen Uganda.

And to present the award for Best Writing is ((drum roll))........ my alter ego, Me v.2

Me v.2: The winner, no I mean the person taking the award because every one is a winner, is I Am Ernest Bazanye.

To present the award for Best Overseas Blog is my accented self, Mrrrre

Mrrrre: The awarrrd forrr Brrrest Orrrverseas Blorrrg goerrrs torrr Returrrn orrrf thrrre Phoerrrnix.

I am back to present the award for the category of Best Blog in Uganda which goes to Ugandan Insomniac.
I am tired of the formality now so the Best Post went to Ugandan Insomniac for Dilemma of a Gorgeous 30 Something.

And now for the big one and it might be surprising to some but there was a tie. The Uganda Blog(s) of the Year are Ugandan Insomniac and I Am Ernest Bazanye.

And that my friends was the ceremony we all wait for with bated breath every year. Go out there, write stuff and be nominated next year.
Now over to you Baz for the awards after the awards that make the awards look like they shouldn't have been awards to begin with.
** The winners will all receive a text widget to put up on their blogs. I will send you each mail using the addresses you have up on your blogs. Hope they are the right ones.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

BHH Feb 08

It is time once again for Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour. If you can
remember, when I put up the announcement for last month's BHH I mentioned that February's BHH would be on 28th Feb 2008. Same place, same time. Mateos at 6.30. On the agenda is discussing switching the day we meet and the place. I have had a few people say to me we should think of different things if only to make it more interesting. I can't wait to hear from y'all what y'all think.

Also, of course, the winners of the Uganda Best Of Blogs will be announced. I will tell you now that it is a very close one for most of the categories but you will have to wait till Thursday to find out. Winners will be presented with a virtual award you can put on your blog for all your visitors to know just how accomplished you and your blog really are. It is basically just a text widget but it looks cool, we have Ivan to thank for that.
See y'all Thursday. I personally can't wait. (A round on me, [not really])

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Poem on my Mind

Woke late, a poem on my mind.

Sunday morning. That means late out of bed, and even when it is as beautiful as it is today, still I was late out of bed. Spent some days not getting up with the sun. Bad habit- that of missing the dawn. Some of the best thinking seems to come with the change of night to light.

But Sunday morning has to be in bed. Obvious reasons.

Yes, it was a late night. No, I did not attend the UB40 show.

Was at Mateo’s a good part of the evening.

Mateo’s. It is a favourite for quite a number of people. The football, the crowd, the noise and music, the packing. And the feeling of freedom under the expanse of sky. I think part of the reason the city crowd likes it is the fact that it is not too open. Yes, the bar spills over to the sidewalk and beyond, but then it is like the whole street becomes an extension of the place. With the tall buildings a ‘wall’, confining the view in the distance. I was struck by the way that the deep brown bulk of ‘UCB’ building (Cham Towers) seems to fade into the black blue of the sky. Maybe it is my eyes, but it was a striking sight- the sense of a mammoth building blending into the dark of the night. A bulk barely noticed, more noticed than visible.

The papers?

They are there usual depressive selves.

Why do the stories of the rampart corruption depress? Because they are reported day to day, and everyone knows that nothing will be done about them. Even the most blantant, barefaced, stealing. As long as it is the government that loses.

Check out these headlines in the Monitor. Govt paid Asians twice for properties; Finance pins hopes on police in pay scam. The New Vision is …

One good thing, the rebels in the north have signed a permanent cease fire. What is not so good about it- it is apparently the fourth time that they have signed such a deal. We will wait and see.

Yesterday, at Mateos, was looking at a kid, boy about 10-11 years, lugging round a bathroom scale. He puts it on the ground and whosoever wants steps on it. Payment 100 Uganda shillings per person. About 0.05 USD. (Sorry, I don’t know your ‘cent’ system. Only metric…)

Not the usual street urchin, dirty clothes and all. The clothes were a bit smart, casual like. Shoes on his feet, school socks. Most likely a school going kid who has to work for the family’s needs. Time check, inching to midnight, Saturday.

Yeah, life is rough. I was struck by the thought that my pity is useless to the boy. Yes, some of the guys and girls were definitely cheating him. Not giving him the money, and he was having to beg for it. The whole thing is thinly disguised begging. But remember that the kid is, at that particular moment, surviving. Doing what he can for his family, aiding in the survival game that is so central to life’s continuance. Thinking of that, I found myself saluting him. I did work as a child, true. But I am proud to remember that I did contribute to the survival of my family.

Yes of course, the street urchin’s chances and risks are not optimal. I would like to improve them. I cannot. But I cannot just cripple him with my pity. The strength which he has found to do something to survive is laudable. And instead of pity, I should be happy for him.

Not condescending happy. But acknowledge the fact that, he is a child, in worse conditions than I am, and surviving.

So, the day being so beautiful, I will enjoy it.

Be well, and smile, it is a beautiful day out.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

When's The Next Hour?

When are we having the next Uganda Bloggers' Happy Hour? I can't seem to find any links on it anywhere. Even though I am fairly certain I am the only one who doesn't know. :o)

Tell I in the comments, s'il vous plaît. (And someone set it, if it is not set.)


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kampala Beauties

I must confess today I was feeling lazy. Not want to get out of bed.

But there was the added incentive. His warm body besides me.

Nothing like waking up in the morning, feeling new, and happy with love. I held him in my hands, loving him.

It wasn’t enough.

Slid onto him, hugging, skin to skin, feeling the thud of our twin hearts. Together.

I marvelled at how come it is that I still love him, love him so much, this long since we first met. Its like I would pull him close into my very skin, wrap my heart or let it kiss his, side by side as they pulse this life.

But the morning was also beckoning.

Fresh, a new morning.

Stood in the open doorway, letting the freshness displace the night air in the house. Moved out of the house.

The usual perch on the veranda from where I watch the birds was suddenly not enough. Inspiration struck.

I picked up my pen, notebook, and walked out. Been walking the roads, like a mad man, (my friend would say), stopping now and then to write down something. From the feel of the sun on my skin, to the diesel and petrol fumes poisoning the morning air.

Came back feeling up to tackling the world out there.

I respect Americans, but why do their children attack others in class? With guns.

Am a little puzzled. Some cases I can understand. Love spurned, maybe. One 14 year old killed a 15 year old because he was gay? In a way I can understand that. My sexuality does scare people so. And of this one, the one in Illinois who just walks into his class and opens fire? No motive. Least that is what they say. Or he may be off his medicines.

It is a crazy world.

Nothing made me as angry and self righteous as this. Read it yesterday, and I thought, this is a must blog issue. With no comment!

Unused hospital razed in Nigeria A fully-equipped hospital the government refused to open for two years burns to the ground in northern Nigeria.

I can imagine, a fully equipped hospital, un-opened for two years, because the President had not come to visit! Talk about Imperial Presidencies.

And in Uganda, Kampala. Another riot, this time in Makerere University. And, of course, Ugandans have been a bit slow in setting up their own Barack Obama support group. Sigh. It is done now.

(Maybe the fact that Bush is visiting Africa and not visiting Uganda has something to do with it!)

While walking this morning, looking at all the early risers, intent on getting to work, I was a bit saddened.

It is true that I have always had the same attitude. Too focused on getting to work to really look and see the beauty of what is around me. But that does not excuse blindness to beauty.

Wherever you are, remember that you do not need to look too far to see beauty in your world. It is there, unappreciated, till you open your eyes and touch it with your heart.

Have a great day.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Dawn came with the alarm.

No. I set the time to later. Dawn is not as early as it used to be. Six is when I want to be out of bed. Six thirty is when it is light enough to read.

I don’t want to read by the harsh electric lights. At dawn, they break the peace. An intrusion into the softness of everything. So I switch on no lights when I wake.

Today the alarm woke me.

And as I turned over, I remembered that he was supposed to wake at six too.

Woke him up. An early morning appointment, and he was soon out of the house.

I love this part of the day. Stood in the doorway. Read a poem as I gazed out. And wrote one. And another. And I liked them.

Switching on the computer is an intrusion. Welcome as my mind seeks the world to know. Again.

I am a news junkie.

As stated, my MP was charged. As was another opposition MP.

The Kabaka, king of Buganda, is also on the war path with the central government. One of the other things that I have not been blogging about. I have written posts about it, which I feared to post. The closet is not only for those who are gay. Freedom is clipped everywhere that it is. Yet, why should I be restricted? The world that I live in, it is the real world. A harsh reality that will not be softened by the beauty of my perception.

The Kabaka of Buganda has been on a cold war with the central government for a few years. The war is heating up. Gradually, but dangerously. Another, very tribal conflict is looming. Or already is.

Beautiful Uganda. You make me cry, you are so beautiful, and so intent on self injury!

In Lira Hospital, the medics went on strike. And are still on strike? A small matter of unpaid wages. And patients are dying.

Life is the most precious asset that we are handed at conception, delivered at birth. We value it, apparently very little. Yet we do not have spares to it. And there is little that we can do to repair it in Africa, in Uganda, when it is broken. Sad that we handle it so flimsily.

My lover was looking over my shoulder, and is scared that I am putting these things on the blog. Why? Because I am skirting the ‘permitted’ edge of my freedom to be, as known by others.

Yet, I jumped out of one closet, I have realised that I am in another one when I do not have the freedom to think.

Freedom. It is a wonderful concept, yet most of the time, we do not realise that we are behind bars. Even those of thought.

It is a lovely morning, out. I will hold him in my arms, and hope that the sun shines always. On my country, and on my city.

Well, even if it rains, I will still hold him close. I love him.

What is more beautiful than love in life? I know little else. I am content.


(PS. Is there a code here not to blog about politics? Am I breaking any unspoken code of conduct? Sorry if I am. Send me an email to enlighten me, or do comment. gug)

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Book Review - Sons & Other Inflammable Objects

Number of Pages: 396
Publisher: Grove Press, New York
Year: 2007
Reviewed By: Dennis Matanda

Every dysfunctional family has a unique story to tell; and so you will be pleasantly delighted when you finish Porochista Khakpour’s first novel. This book, almost breathlessly written, literally flows through and around three Iranian immigrants – Darius; aptly named after the Biblical King Darius, his wife Lala [although we all scoff at this Americanized version of her Iranian name] and their son Xerxes [Pronounced Zerk – Zees].

Between our equal male protagonists, simple Father | Son secrets, tiny errors and realizations lead to painful separations, intense spoken and unspoken hostility and a warrior like love that affects everyone they meet between California and New York. Throw in the events around 9/11 and Suzanne, Xerxes’ girlfriend and you have a book you will take to work, to the bathroom and to bed.

Ms. Khakpour does not come to preach; however, you will taste rich Persian history and want more, empathize with how people grapple with the American Dream and the nightmares therein and of course, the selfless intimacy with which she shares her characters. In its complete and yet unsatisfying ending, you will, on your own, understand why Xerxes, Lala and Darius do the things they do.

This novel starts humorously slow, gains speed around the middle with a few colorful people and then leaves you - impatient and angry - looking for family solutions that could well be your own. Watch out, World, for there is NOW an American response to Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I would live on a desert island

alone with my thoughts,

a book of poems-

a pen that runs not out,

and paper to write;

I would live like a king

alone in the majesty of words

and not a drop of water

or handful of food would I crave;

though my body pines away

to the dusts of the air

I would live, content.



Sunday, February 3, 2008

New for 2008

The poll is over, and the people have spoken. Those of you who voted showed an overwhelming fondness for The Kampalan. A slight majority want to narrow the blog's focus to entertainment and city-specific information, while forty percent of you like things just the way they are.

For those of you who are happy with The Kampalan as it stands, keep writing, keep posting, and enjoy yourselves. Your personal reflections and quirky questions make this space a unique reflection of the Ugandan blogosphere.

For those of you who want something a little different out of The Kampalan, here's what we need:

The K'la Insider
Have connections? Bad at keeping secrets? Write for us. We're looking for a writer who not only knows who's who but also who's dating whom and who's saying what about whom. The only secret we want you to keep is yours — whether you're male or female, expat or local, student or vendor of jackfruit. Keep us guessing while you dish up the goods on everyone else.
Suggested reading: Jezebel, Perez Hilton, Defamer

The Political Pundit
Politics your thing? Dying for a place to take the New Vision to task over the latest Parliamentary proposition? This is the spot for you. Get down and dirty with the inner workings of the State House and tell us what you'd do with the nation's top job.
Suggested reading: Daily Kos, Wonkette, Politico

The News Junkie
Can't get through the day without checking on the Monitor, the New Vision and Bukedde? Know what the papers are going to say before you even open them? Be our media maven. Round up the biggest stories of the news cycle in a paragraph or two and let fellow Kampalan readers know what they should be paying attention to today.
Suggested reading: Midnight Poutine's Morning Brew, Slate's Today's Papers

If any of these (unpaid) positions interest you, e-mail me and we'll get you set up.