Is the idea of ‘Africa’ grossly exaggerated? #Writivism2016 Day 1

By Esther Mirembe

Originally published at Subtle Royalty 

Guess who met her brain crush and didn’t embarrass herself? Das right. Lucky I ☺.

Ah, but I rush the story. I almost did not make it for this glorious encounter. I mean, I almost did not make it for the first day of the Writivism festival. Yes, if you had not yet received the memo, it’s on now. All week. I am attending for two, Kea and I. The rest of you have no valid excuses. You got to be there in person.

So the devil tried to keep me from going but black Jesus was not having it. No, he didn’t come riding on a donkey. We use boda bodas in Uganda. 6:15 pm and I was at the Uganda museum, right on time to be ushered into the exhibition hall for the Ebifananyi 6 book launch. Meanwhile, I had to choose between a film night and this book launch. I have no idea how the film night went but I don’t regret my choice.

Again, I am rushing the story. The book, Ebifananyi 6 documents the history of St.Mary’s College Kisubi photographically. I had not considered the thought which was put in the order the pictures follow. Or how powerful the story is this way.  I have a different perspective on visual art. The book sparked a discussion on education, which later evolved into a very insightful conversation on wypipo, political correctness and an unanswered question on religion. While it is true that the education system was designed to subdue the Africans and make it easier for the wypipo to rule over them and therefore doesn’t encourage one to think for themselves but only to regurgitate what is taught, there were questions about what we are doing about it. 50 years later. There was an interesting argument about lost cultures saying maybe we lost the ones we didn’t want to keep anyway. How did the others survive? Also, on the “sida mu kyalo generation”, maybe we shouldn’t blame education, after all isn’t rural urban migration a global trend? Of course, I am being very subjective in my feedback, only echoing what struck a chord with me.

Oh yes, the question on religion; why is it that we can use religion to explain culture but can’t use culture to explain religion? The conversation could have gone on all night me thinks and I would have stayed if only to get the answers to the questions that I was left with. I talked to an interesting gentleman who thinks the idea of ‘Africa’ is grossly exaggerated. He said Africa is the land mass on which the 55 countries are and that should be satisfactory. That everyone is a person and that’s just it. Nothing about race or religion or culture, just people.  I am still gathering my thoughts to form an opinion on this. Actually, on almost everything.

And I’m spoilt for choice tonight. Harriet Anena’s performance ‘Bow for My Boobs’ or the film night showing Half of a Yellow Sun? Tough tough choice *rolls dice