Book Review: Kintu

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I didn’t really think my first post for the #UgBlogWeek would be a book review but I’m all about that ‘Hype your writers like you do your rappers‘ life. So here goes nothing.

The question for the person who has not read this book is whether it is worth it. Because if your acquaintances, like mine, are voracious readers, then they have surely read it and incessantly make references to it. The natural response, if you are noncomformist or pretend to be, is to assume you’ll never read it because really, why so much talk? Okay, this applies to those who have not(and obstinately refuse to) watch Game of Thrones. Otherwise, the normal response is FOMO.

Sigh. It is with a heavy heart that I say, yes, it is worth it. (Now I am like everyone else who has read it, can you believe? I need to spend some time in the company of the good people at Kampala Express.)

The story of Kintu is a very stunningly disturbing one. I don’t know, are you superstitious? Coz damn, this story made me believe all kinds of things. But you know what they say, nothing imagined is too far from the truth. Joel actually believes the things in this book to be true, and not just myths or nice stories. *shiver* It sort of traces a curse from the 17th century to well, the 21st century. I really hope that’s a neat one line representation. But if it isn’t, read the book 🙂

The thing about literature, I have come to learn, is that it plays an important role in decolonization of the mind because it makes you ask yourself questions(right? Right? Yea, we good). Kintu is such a powerful book in this sense. I want to add especially for our friends with fragile masculinity but I don’t have the energy. Anyway, in a way we have ‘culture’ to blame for this. My very brilliant friend, Sunshine, likes to say that if you are going to throw the word ‘culture‘ around, be sure you are not picking out only the parts of it that serve you. And it seems like we are always trying to reconcile this culture  with who we are. You know, like Faisi’s family who are Christians and want nothing to do with any of their ‘pagan’ ways or the atheist and believes in neither the ‘pagan’ nor Christian ways. It’s really interesting, the way Jennifer deals with these characters (yes, first name basis what about? Lol, I’m wanting.)

Anyway, do you think if black people had colonized wypipo we’d all be worshipping Jjaja Ddungu or whoever else? Like, I mean the mainstream religion.

P.S: don’t read the book at night or just before you sleep 🙂

P.P.S: The background in the photo is the place the book is about. Coooool, right? Yes, that excited me.

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#Writivism2016 Festival day two 

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“I am a poem/ will you recite me?”

That was how Harriet Anena’s powerful, I Bow for My Boobs performance ended with a well deserved standing ovation. I am still trying to find the perfect way to describe it though. I was very surprised, pleasantly surprised when she said it is only her second performance. It’s as though she was born for this. Performance poetry, that is. 

The poetry is rich with very vivid imagery. It is bold and unapologetic and demanding. She held nothing back in her act. It was exciting as it was inciting. Inciting a righteous anger. Oh, I forget to mention; the poetry is very political. It is of a beloved, with Uganda as the lover. Of course, the beloved is in an abusive relationship. (We are still crossing our fingers hoping none of the leopard’s rats was in attendance. But hell if they were, the beloved is unhappy, shouldn’t the lover care to know? Okay, I’m getting carried away.)

Anena has a very strong stage presence so it was a very intense hour. The room was dead silent as everyone keenly watched her(of course, except for the very many few times I caught myself giggling). 

“Loving you is like trying to catch the wind in a basket…”

“My lover has screwed me sooo hard, for so long…and every time I zip up my womanhood, he says this is the last term…”

“I have written you so many love letters which you never read…”

“I sit by the waters of Lake Victoria and watch the waves carry the memories of our love making…”

“My son, Amama, you tell us to go forward but in which direction?…”

Those are off the top of my head. I liked the build up of the performance. It got better and better till the final second. It was an interesting thing to find out in the discussion that followed that she is a very laid back person. Performance poetry, I came to learn, is for the writer. 

Again, I didn’t regret my choice. I’m delivering short lectures on decision making henceforth 😅. Okay, too early but Joel insists the movie, Half of a Yellow Sun is a must watch. 

Yesterday was the official opening of the festival. Ruyonga did not disappoint. Also, I think Kenyans are a great crowd. So much energy. 

State of the Nation Undress(morning after)

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[This is not a political writing. I promise]

“I slept in last night’s clothes and woke up in tomorrow’s dreams.”

Have you heard that song? I actually don’t know what it’s called but I heard that line and it stuck. It comes to mind this morning because, as you can see, no truer lyrics have been sung.

Yesterday was lit! Okay, not the whole day, just the part were we had the cocktail in the Serena gardens. Boy, that place is the ish. Expensive wines and all, plus music. I love a good party. I know there were old men who don’t know much about dancing but hell, I had a good time.

So after the good time, I came home tired and that is how I ended up sleeping in my imported jacket. Anha! That’s right. This piece of shiet was imported, I had my dress prepared but ‘orders from above’. Mehn! It looks patriotic and all except this morning I had some rumors the colors are in the German flag order not the Ugandan one. An honest mistake, I’d like to think but those talkers are out to criticize. I was warned.  But anyway nobody knows me as such, I’m new at this so those cameras sure wouldn’t be looking out for me now, would they? I thought so too. Also, I see those celebrities on E! wearing some cringe-worthy clothes but dang, they are expensive so those fashion critics can sure swallow their words. I mean, if you are wearing something that’s worth their one month’s salary why would you care?

That’s the thing I like most about this fairly new life. Apart from long-ass boring speeches and shiet, there’s all these allowances that come with this. For one, my first car is going to cost 100m. *squeals* Excitement on a hun’n. Argh, I feel like the old people language is going to rub off on me then I’ll no longer be cool and hip but mehn! Prices must be paid. I’ll hang out with Sharry and the other people sometime. But then, I can’t be sure of who’s my friend now. What if they want my money? Besides, I have some hella debts to pay from the campaigns.

The party did contribute, of course, it’s NRM as in???? But, I had to borrow some more money. Those campaigns were damn expensive, I don’t even get what the hullaballoo about waiving taxes off some of our allowances is about. But poor people also! Ah. If I were to be vocal, (which I know I shouldn’t be otherwise I might lose out on some ministerial position or a re-election, not because I’m against the government as such but the way these people reason oso) I would tell them that we get allowances for almost everything and waiving the fuel tax is only fair, right? Or maybe I’ll tell them they didn’t have to spend millions to get their jobs worth my jacket. But that would only work against our cause. So, those things of being vocal, apaana!

I used to be vocal those days by the way. Of course I am still vocal, you think getting villagers to vote for you comes easy? Waa, you have to talk! Talk a lot. But not like these people who be there wasting time. I used to admire those FDC people, I swear but mehn! They go through shiet I can’t handle. I heard some guy was arrested for wearing a T-shirt with Besigye’s face manya printing them. Ah-ah, I can’t deal. I even believed those things of bringing change but I’m a realist. Realist, I said. They want to be the Nelson Mandela’s of Uganda??? Ahbeg, that’s too idealistic. All they are getting is teargas and nights in prison and house arrests and…all bad things just know.

Anyway, we’ll talk later. You see, I have to be in office these first days before I begin constructing my bu apartments. (Anha, damn right I have a plan in case those villagers don’t vote for me again.)

Book Review: Women

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[I’d rather not be writing, honestly. Or I’d rather be writing about what’s happening in my country because it’s tagging very heavily at my heart but I made a commitment to do this every last Sunday of the month so yes, book review it is]

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I remember saying I preferred books that make me cry once. Forgive me for I had not yet met Bukowski. Yes, I am leaving y’all in your sentimental book club alone. I cannot remember laughing so much at how absurd some situations are than when I have had to read a Bukowski. Basically, Women is absurd. In fact if I were to surmise, it’s about three or four or five different women in Chinaski’s life. Done.

[Spoiler alert]

Take this for example;

“…I’ll have her fix you breakfast after I leave tomorrow morning.”

“Alright.”

“No, wait. Tomorrow’s Sunday. We’ll eat out. I know a place. You’ll like it.”

“Alright.”

“You know, I think I have always been in love with you.”

“What?”

Every time I play out that scene in my head, good God it cracks me up! That scene takes place after Chinaski has broken up with Lydia, the first woman we meet in this book. And there’s one when Lydia is stuffing her mouth with food and Chinaski(first person narrative) says he saw passion. I think it was at this point I was thinking no, I’m done with this madness.

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My expression when Chinaski called it ‘passion’ for Lydia to be stuffing her mouth with food.

But I sat it out and for the most part, I have no regrets. The title of this book is not one you can count on. Maybe only for the fact that it’s about different encounters with women(which, of course, makes perfect sense) but there’s nothing to ‘learn’ as such.

Chinaski is an absurd lead and if anything, the only thing that draws you to him is his honesty. Nothing is ‘sugar-coated’ or over-explained so that it loses meaning. If he woke up, he says he woke up. But you sure get to like him. I think he resonates with that part of us that desires to live a carefree life. He wold be the present day ‘fuckboy’ or ‘bad boy’. At least, that’s how I imagine them to be like.

I like him because he’s contradictory. Like c’mon we all like people who seem to have their minds in the ‘wrong direction’. Once [spoiler alert], he’s at a poetry reading(Oh yes, he’s a poet) and then he just puts the poems aside and says “Let’s talk.” Or the time he describes the poetry reading as “the audience shouted at me, I also shouted at them and it was done.”(paraphrased) The hell?

I recommend this book if you’re looking for an easy read with a lot of humor(and sex but not too graphic, one sentence or two. Like I said, things just are). Yes, there’s also a great deal to quote from the book. But one which, I feel, describes the character of Chinaski so perfectly;

“People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love.”

[I feel a little bit better for doing this. I think it comes with talking about something you are so fond of.]

And about my country(this is from a poem);

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting. -Charles Bukowski