Ugandans, their traumas and their dustbins

What you need to know:

One day at a time: Ugandans are a traumatised lot. We have been through a lot, sometimes one wonders how one country can process so much, yet find fun in everything. Ugandans will not fail to see the joke in everything. It is the way we cope with everything that tries us. 

From the airport dilemmas to the iron sheet scandals, there is one thing that defines Ugandans - the ability to make fun of life, to not take it too seriously and above all, to joke about our traumas.

We have been traumatised a lot that sometimes, we are space shifting. Sometimes you do not know if you are still in Uganda or you are in some monarchy. In Uganda, you will find everything, everything you wish for, and everything you wish not!

And that is how dustbins come in. In this country, once you have used something, there is an urge to throw it away. Once the politicians have used the voters, they throw them away. And once the voters have used up their votes, they throw their hopes away. Everyone is using someone in this country. If you are not using someone, then you are being used. And that is how the idea of littering joins the fray.

Because of using things, we must keep throwing them. It is in our DNA. It is in our genetic make-up. It goes by saying that once a Ugandan has eaten something, all else is rubbish and rubbish does not belong next to a Ugandan. If it is in a car, the Ugandan assumes that rubbish belongs somewhere outside that car. In Uganda, we dread dirty things next to us. None of us wants to touch the ‘dirt’.

You see the problem is too serious that our very own, Marcus Garvey MK, our great Malcolm X had to make that moving speech. For many of us, it has been ages since a great man took to the podium and delivered a speech that will roar through generations. The subject was ‘littering’. Just like all of us, he has been traumatised by the idea of a human being throwing away their rubbish.

But worry not, Nema had a solution. It borders on years of research in the field of psychology. It is akin to shock-wave therapy. The only way to heal Ugandans out of their traumas at this moment is to shock them out. And Nema voted to have a dustbin in every car. Sounds crazy at first, makes no sense at first.

But then, you realise the dustbin therapy works for Ugandans. We learnt from our parents that it was okay to throw rubbish out of the car. Now, our children shall learn from us that when you have some rubbish, you manage it from one place, that car dustbin. And may be, once you can see how much waste you produce, then you get some sense to reduce it, reuse or better then, recycle it.

Perhaps what we need in this country is many dustbins. One place where we can throw everything and everyone that has been used. We do not need a hall of fame in Uganda, we need a montage of dustbins. In there, we will find those who promised to make us middle class by this time. We shall find the Mike Ezras and Brian Whites of our times. We shall find all the promises, all the dreams, and hopes that we had.

In Uganda, we are healing our traumas through the shock-wave doctrine. Even Marcus Garvey is campaigning on the shock-wave manifesto. Ham is constructing a stadium (or is it?) using the shock wave method. There is a minister who has promised a miracle come June, all on the grounds of shock-wave therapy. When you see Alien Skin, you see nothing but shock-wave theory at play.

Only shock can trigger healing in this country. We have acclimatised so much to our traumas, they become part of us. The things that seem absurd in another place are normal happenings in this country.

For us to sort out the potholes, for example, we may need to employ the shock-wave theory. One day the President will be moving with his convoy and a pothole will swallow his ‘toilet’. At that point in time, the shock wave theory will step in. That is when the powers that be will know why potholes need to be fixed.

Do you not realise that after a person has been shown Kampala, they learn to be steady? They learn to ‘kwebeleramu’. Whenever you see something that seems awkward, a random suggestion, and weird at the least, they know that shock-wave therapy is at work. We are healing people, we are healing, one shock at a time.

And going forward, we shall have many shocks. One day, we could wake up, when the President has done ‘ntondo’ and left the country to us. He will simply say; “Ugandans you are ungrateful, KCCA even asked you to shower before coming to the city, you have failed. I am done with your lot, off I go.” It sounds like a joke now, but in shock-wave therapy, it happens. It is on this background that Kafeero sang; ‘Twali tulabye abanene Mirembe ngalo…”

We wish you all a great healing! Forget not thy dustbin!

Twitter: ortegatalks