Saturday March 22 2014

Haunted by patriots

By Jan Ajwang

It is a busy Saturday! One of those days that Wales has been waiting for. It is Scotland versus Wales in the Six Nations Rugby tournament at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium. The crowds are growing and the hawkers stands are full of sports merchandise, like hats, scarfs, mascots, flags, among others.

National pride was in the air, reminding one of that said law in patriotism that would help me to love Uganda. For all the love I already have for my country), there was no escaping all things patriotic today.

While I shook my head at the thought, a woman passed by me dragging a suitcase painted with the colours of the Union Jack, Wales’s supporters were all dressed in Red and the whole of Cardiff’s pulse was beating Rugby. Then there was a Scottish invasion. It was barely 10am and the streets were bursting with visitors from Scotland or Scotland fans for that matter.

The colours of their national flag, blue and white painted on their faces, some wore clothes to show tattoos of their country maps.
Many men donned their national dress, the kilt and if I didn’t know better I would have asked why they wore skirts!

This did not seem out of the ordinary for fans, but then they also came with their musical instruments, fans from other nations did not have in previous games. So in one corner, or another of the streets one could hear the tunes from the bag pipes, chants, songs including the national anthem.
The town was held ransom, with their patriotism ahead of the games. I only wondered what it would be like after the games. Well, to spare you the details, the games ended with Wales 51 and Scotland 3.

One would have expected a sombre mood from the guests, it was not the case.The party continued into the night. At different times at least three people who had not watched the match, had already concluded that from what they had seen in the city, the Scots had taken the day.

This was a sporting event, that probably brought out the best out of a country’s citizens this year. It seemed like the country had created the ‘enabling environment’ for love to blossom freely! One day if I ever settle for a tattoo of the Uganda flag on my arm, I doubt that I will have a law to thank.