The feminine fight club was born on the 6 th July 2016. In a kitchen two women grappled each other to
the ground where one sustained a twisted ankle. It had come as a shock, the burst of energy that
erupted from the younger woman. It was the first day of her period and she was feeling aggressive and
impatient with those around her. So when the older woman grabbed her in a playful headlock the
younger women fought her way out, twisting until both landed hard on the concrete floor. Immediately
I fill my mouth with it. Never mind that I am lactose intolerant and in a few hours my stomach will be gripping and bloated. I will release gases and hope I am not in the company of others. If I am, I will attempt to hold it in or release it without making a sound. Impossible.
Every other person in Kampala has ulcers. It is a national epidemic that is not on the radar of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It’s all HIV, Ebola and now the Zika Virus. We are under attack from new strains of bacteria which are now resistant to treatment because of the antibiotics our doctors prescribe like sweets. One of the unfortunate side effects of antibiotics is that they are not selective in choosing which bacteria to kill. All the good bacterial colonies in the gut die along with the bad. Doctors give you the pills in small envelopes with the name of the tablet (sometimes) and the numbers 1×1 or 3×1 written on them, to determine when and how many of these you should take. There are no instructions other than that. Maybe if the drug is particularly harsh on the stomach they would suggest taking them with food or liquids.
I’m sitting in front of the computer trying to recollect all what I have achieved this year. It’s hard without my notebook. I have such a poor memory sometimes, so I tend to write things down. As a result I have many past notebooks collected in a box which I take out from time to time to reflect on my life’s journey. It’s surprising sometimes to see my aspirations and goals written down and to realize that some of them I have achieved. Others have not yet manifested but that I am on the way. I feel proud of myself. Especially when it seems that Life is just not going to plan. I encourage all of us to write our dreams down because otherwise It’s hard to see how far we have come.
This month I will be a panellist at the Bayimba Music Festival Kampala, invited by the Lantern Meet of Poets a group of young Ugandans who come together to critic and perform each others poetry. I feel honoured to be a sounding board for them as they strive to make poetry more accessible and appreciated.
But I’m frustrated, the discussion will be about the challenges to ones creativity especially when it comes to making a living. I’m talking about getting paid for ones art. It seems that organisers and venues want creativity but don’t want to pay for it, or they pay some artists and not others.
Babylon is all around me
concrete and steel,
right before my eyes.
Babylon is all around me
Confusion, I cannot see.
Extract from Babylon
by Ife Piankhi
I wonder how the freedom fighters; Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney, Toussaint L’Overture, Nanny of the Maroons, Paul Bogle, Yaa Asantewa, Nyabingi felt, when they realized they had to break the law in order to liberate their people?
We’re taught to be obedient. It’s a desirable thing. Instilled in us is a respect for authority, hierachy and all things Western.
Picture this…………..humanity lives in small communities of people who have enough land to feed the whole group. They make their own clothes and shoes. They have a borehole but no electricity.
They use use solar energy to cook with, heat their water and light their homes. They allow no plastic into the community. They meditate everyday, exercise and use herbs to heal their sick.
When conflict arises they meet in a heart circle and hear each others complaints in order to find a solution. They will talk until they reach consensus.
I’m coaching some of the child actors for a film being shot in Kampala called the Queen of Katwe. Its a success story about a Ugandan girl, Phiona Mutesi who learnt how to play chess and has since gone on to became the youngest African chess champion. Its a success story that we definately need because most of the people of the world still see Africa as the ‘dark continent’ full of hunger and disease. It is true we have those challenges but there are so many wonderful stories of people who have risen out of adversity to become highly successful people.
Since the beginning of the year I’ve been encountering issues of ethics. We talk a lot in Uganda about corruption and how it stops us from developing at a reasonable rate. But my question is what happened to the African Ethic so often spoken about by historians?
When I first started reading African history there were so many accounts of the ethics of Africans. The Ethiopians were seen as the most pious of races bringing religion to Europe with their divine stature. Kemet (now known as Egypt) had the system of Maat as its spiritual foundation and I think it did them well, because their civilization existed for over 10,000 years.