Dec 12, 2011

Make-over in the making

Top notch CEO's and brand strategists sit in the boardrooms of their companies thinking of new products that will most likely or not at the creat a shift in the market. In similar but not the same move, THE ANAGRAM with its one man board has made a strategic decision to move to a new location. 

The reason for this strategic move was probably highlighted in this post. This will most likely be the last post with the next post at the new home. The board of The Anagram is grateful for all the support offered by readers and for all the comments. They are grateful to Blogger for the service rendered over the years. 
Content on  will be uploaded in the next few days. 

Oct 26, 2011

Listen; the trees and water are talking.

The water slaps the edges of a dry concrete wall creating a mark that slowly fades away after a few minutes. Every minute there is light water wave slapping the same wall. Inside the wall, men in orange overcoats and plastic like looking covers on their heads. Armed with wheelbarrows, iron bars, metals and steel the men work to add concrete for the wall to thicken and strengthen. Like little worker ants down below the ground that slowly build their empires creating castles to live. Obviously the forces of human nature trample on them to distort the way their way of life. They are the small ones and because man is such a bully, his wrath slowly drives the little ants away and they simply cannot retaliate. The ants only once in awhile invade peoples’ homes and sift through tonnes of crumbs. 

These ants will soon be deprived of simple vegetation 

The men with overcoats have are struggling other human beings happy. The men with their shovels, spades, cranes and caterpillars scooped land to divert the natural course of the river. This is a river with history and serves over five countries. The needs of human beings just like the ants are growing thus the utilisation of the vast resource to meet their needs. Lighting, computers, Smartphones, coolers, gaming consoles and movies are the needs. The men have to succumb to the pressure of human nature that has endless demands that are mostly likely never going to be satisfied. Even industrialisation has its demands, energy, energy and energy. Need I repeat that? The water has made its voice heard by refusing to increase but reducing. It has refused to evaporate and be part of a more stable ecosystem. And who is complaining of drought, scorched earth, dry water wells and shrinking rivers. Water is talking but no-one is hearing as the myth is that “water doesn’t talk.” 

This is a well in my village that no-longer fills to this level because rainfall has rebelled against us

In a small forest sweaty bare chested men with large see-saws singing happy life songs as they cut trees into small timber to sale on the local market. As the moon slowly sets in, trucks exit the forest with timber to sale to the real-estate dealers in the big town. On the other side, Charcoal prices have been souring making it lucrative business for a population where economic hardships have become a headline in the local media. A fertile nation like Uganda with over 30million (It is more than this) people, then their energy demands need to be matched. Soil erosion, mudslides, exhaustion, roofs flying off houses, unpredicted but harsh weather patterns and drought is the voice of tree talking to a dead end. 

Some of the trees planted by our family in the village

Little known to the active men and human nature is that their actions will be met with vast environmental misgivings. The energy demands by human nature often growing and depleting natural resources like water and forests have vast consequences mostly unknown or that they have no control over. The conflict between energy demands and the eminent challenges of Climate Change however that notwithstanding this crossroad has created more confusion than solutions. Solar Energy and other energy sources that clearly less harmless to our environment to mitigate the likely challenges of climate change, are still viewed by some as weak. Unknown to many, the despair of some, the environment has already reacted with changing weather patterns but what is more concerning, is that I see no urge or oomph to avoid the wrath of a rebelling environment.

Sep 14, 2011

The young (backspace) scribe

 Its a rainy morning. The muddy road from the house is like a potato ground yet one must find his way to the office. No matter the weather, situation and trouble, one must be available for work. After a horrific and dangerous motorcycle ride, one arrives at the office, opens the morning papers, reads emails, replies and dashes off to meet a source. The source will in one way or another come be late. Since the source is late then all other daily appointments need to be adjusted. 

After meeting the source, it’s time to make a few phone calls to verify and give the story some more flesh. The calls will be turned down or endlessly referred to someone else.
 “Call me back in 20mins' and then 20mins later 'I will call you back'. And they won't. So you have to go through the same process again and again until a response appears. 

For others you will send an email and they will ignore or bluntly tell you “I did not receive the email” or “I have been too busy to reply” yet they hold fancy phones that they flash around in public. 
Others will tell you how they cannot respond but will be quick to send you information on how their company has donated one computer (used) to a school. Huh!!! 

 By the time one decides to stretch, its 1pm which typically lunch time. By this time you have out spent yourself in terms of airtime (Blame the telecom companies), transport and drinking water. The day is more or less halfway so you dive into endless research material. There is so much information to read and only a few hours later its 3pm. It’s time for to some event/press briefing. You arrive on time but the event starts a after an hour (4:30pm). At the event you are showered with corporate jargon and numbers. You ask a question and it’s ignored or “Please note, that question is not relevant to this event.” 

To make matters worse, you are "bull shitted" (Not sure whether this word is formal) and taken for granted by the PR agency. Take note that after a few days your phone will be buzzing off the hook, “where is my story?” someone from the PR agency will stalk your phone endlessly, yet you had not made promises. 
6pm and it’s that time when people are going home. The editorial deadline is approaching and there is nothing to show the editor. 

You ignore your meeting friends for the evening and decide to get some work done.  You type away on the laptop and by the time 1,000 words are completed, its 8pm. Its dark outside and you are the only one in the office. Time to close-up, the cleaners have walked in the office.  Time to shift the office your one roomed home. 

As the office is locked up you realize that the tummy is almost empty. But while walking home, all the thoughts are on the incomplete work and the interview you have to do in the morning. You get home, only to be welcomed by a heat wave (backspace x2) darkness. The power distributor has decided that due to the shortage in generation then having power is a liability. 

Since its 9pm, you rush to the nearest bar, plug the laptop power cable in the socket and type away. Hungry. At 10:30pm you decide to get back home. Back to darkness. You get a cup of tea, sip and bite some white bread. The alarm is set for midnight so you can wake up to do some work. You sleep (rather take a nap). At about midnight the alarm goes off. You snooze it for about 30mins. At 1:00am, the covers are off and back to work. Tick tock. 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am and then you slide in between the sheets at 4:15am. At 6am you are up to polish the story and 8am its back to the daily routine of a scribe. 

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” 

Sep 5, 2011

Hashtag Kirya live

He started waving to his fans and the screaming ladies did want the show to end. He offered his hand and there was a gold rush for it. They wanted to touch it, feel it and confirm whether he was human real. 
 'Maurice, 'we love you' some were screaming. 'take me home' others would say and 'please don't stop' others said. Maurice Kirya had put on such an electrifying/amazing concert which explains the endless screaming.

Fatal attraction? hmmmmm 

The arrivals "lounge" at Serena Conference Centre was beginning to fill up with ladies and gentlemen waiting to watch Maurice Kirya #live on stage in Kampala. The ladies were probably looking good. Probably is an understatement. They were dressed for the evening Maurice. Maurice Kirya is on path to greatness. A path to success after years of hard work, scorning and determination. After the RFI award he won last year, Maurice Kirya went on a world tour of West Africa, to Paris and also the US of A (He performed alongside Jordin Sparks). Ugandans however would only get to see Maurice Kirya on TV, Arts concerts and the experience. #Kiryalive was his turn to give back to his loyal fans. Maurice has a huge fan base by the way (Watching from the sidelines most seem to be ladies after his heart). 

Maurice doing his thing. Photo by Meltem Yasar 

The Misubbaawa fame star, clad in a black jacket and black trousers, started in Rock Star style. The drummers, guitarists, and the lights seemed to be inviting a rock star. He is a rockstar in his own making.  
Yes, he entered like rockstar and invited fans to move closer to fill the standing space. This made it look more of a concert rather than the corporate tables that usually fill that space. He had made a statement. One with no jibber and jabber of the corporate sponsors that like to take credit for things they have not helped as much. With the a very raised stage, one could tell Maurice was about to pull off one of the best stage performances. Once he was on the stage, boom and Slappadass (word picked from Urban Legend) prevailed. There was endless screaming, dancing and singing. The chattering on Twitter using #Kiryalive proved that Maurice had made his mark. Not only by singing but taking off with hearts many ladies. We are still trying to find space for him on the walk fame. A star on the Ugandan boulevard but we ain’t got one at the moment. 
After singing Misubaawa (my favorite off the album), the lovely, beautiful and good looking Valerie Kimani showed up on stage. And in a lavie davie sort of way both Valerie and Maurice performed Village girl

Maurice and Valerie "lavie-davie". Photo by Meltem Yasar 

Maurice came back and constantly saying 'listen to this' before any song. Impressively almost every song Maurice Kirya would sing, the ladies at the front seemed to nail it by singing passionately. Maurice can be proud of himself, had pulled it off. The sound was great (for once I don't have to take a swipe at Silk Events). The lighting, the smoke that comes from the ground was also very timely. Maurice proved why he is an artiste.  

 Photo by Meltem Yasar

Maurice crowned this performance with the famous boda boda song (And his brother Vampino also showed up on boda boda with Valerie Kimani) which gets us to where we started. 

Sep 1, 2011

Uganda Telecom (UTL) Commits to pay Airtel - Press release from Airtel

Press Release

19th, August 2011– Airtel Uganda has announced new developments following
its decision to discontinue interconnection with Uganda Telecom (UTL).
After meetings convened by the Minister of Information, Communication and
Technology and Uganda Communication Commission to facilitate a settlement
of the dispute, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the two

Mr. V.G. Somasekhar, airtel Managing Director said, “I am pleased to
announce to airtel customers and Ugandans at large that Airtel and Uganda
Telecom have now reached a settlement and agreed on a Payment Plan for the
outstanding debt. Subsequently, come Monday September 5, 2011 airtel will
stay its decision to discontinue interconnect services with Uganda Telecom.

Somasekhar also noted that it was a tough call to terminate interconnectivity

with Uganda Telecom as fellow Ugandans on both networks would suffer

inability to communicate with each other. “It therefore gives me pleasure to

have reached a settlement and airtel will look forward to commencing greater

relations with Uganda telecom,” he added


MTN Uganda increases tariffs due to "recent economic changes"

MTN Uganda today circulated a press release that announced a change in in its tariffs. This may appear as an ultimate shock in the market and among consumers but the Telecom giant is here to make money and thus with increasing operational the company had to adjust. However do customers get value for money?

In the press release, the company announces that effective Saturday 3rd September, 2011 customers on MTN per second will pay 4 shillings for calls to MTN and 4 shillings for calls to other networks.

MTN Chief Executive Officer Themba Khumalo said that for the last 13years MTN's investments of more than US$1billion were supporting network infrastructure for close to 8 million subscribers.

"We have absorbed a number of operational expenses and ensured that we do not pass them on to our customers, to the extent that we even dropped tariffs by employing innovation in our product and service offerings," Khumalo said in the press release.

"In light of recent economic changes, however, the tariff structure is not sustainable for increased business roll-out. The industry is at risk of self-destruction to the detriment of consumers and other stakeholders. At the current rate investments in the sector will decline with the associated quality deterioration. We have a responsibility to protect Uganda’s telecommunications sector and ultimately the customers," Khumalo said.

He explained that over the past couple of months, the telecommunications sector has been struggling as a result of the steady increase in input costs.

“It has become very expensive to do business in Uganda especially over the past few months particularly with the depreciation of the Ugandan shilling by over 20%. The new tariffs will enable us to offset these costs and in so doing ensure that the business is able to be run in a more cost efficient and sustainable way, which provides more reliability of service for our subscribers,” Khumalo added.

Among the costs that the telecommunications firms incur are fuel costs, as all base stations are run using heavy duty generators. "The price of diesel, for example, has gone up from Ushs1, 500 a few years ago to Ushs3, 500 today - but we have avoided increasing tariffs accordingly," Khumalo said.

My Verdict;
1. When tariffs increase we also hope that MTN can improve its voice service. Dropped calls and poor network need to be dealt with so that a customer can also benefit. MTN needs to improve on service delivery if they are to justify any tariff change.
2. Price wars were always going to be unsustainable considering the operational costs involved in the telecom market in Uganda. It is very understandable when profit margins dwindle in the face of competition then survival in the market is the only option. Orange Uganda CEO Philippe Luxey once said that the current price wars are not sustainable.
3. MTN is probably the only telecom that is in profitability at the moment but as seen in the press release is the only one that is increasing its tariffs. Will others follow suit? I suggest they do because it doesn't make sense providing cheap services with no profitability.

Aug 31, 2011

Dear Grandpa

As we sprinkled damp soil in the deep hole, tears dripped gently and had to glide down my cheeks. I watch the grave diggers gently pile soil on your coffin. The thoughts, the memories of a fallen hero, a friend, a teacher, a role model and grandfather continuously keep showing up. “You are still alive,” I try to convince myself. Hours earlier I struggled to make a speech. There were thousands of people at our home to say goodbye and I couldn’t talk about you. It was overwhelming for us your grand-children. We could not avoid it but think of how soon you were gone. 

When we were young, we had a craving to visit your home every holiday. Your stories about our origins and the lessons we could learn from them. The knowledge and wise words you would offer were only for you. At your age, you had seen it all from the wars, the regime changes and the brutal/harsh treatment. 

“You look out for yourself and the friends you have,” You would tell us.  “Be careful, not all the friends you make have want the best for you. Some of them want to use you so they can get to a certain level,” you would caution. 

I remember at your burial, that politician who lied about your thoughts on the current regime in power. If I am to remember your words and the clippings you gave me, you had always cautioned me to be careful with the current regime in power. 

You specifically pointed out how agriculture was on the decline and you squarely blamed the current regime. 

“We used to get more money from our tea estates when we had co-operatives. This government seems to have less concern for us,” You once told me.  

Your stories on courage and the suffering you went through while reaching out for the people near Queen Elizabeth National Park. I remember your story on the encounter with a lion, an elephant and buffalo. There is that buffalo horn in the house. A souvenir for the achievement you had made after killing that animal (With help from two men). 

The suffering and torture you went through when preaching the word of God in witchcraft infested area (Buyaruguru). How you were scorned, rejected, spitted at and at times received death threats. But you remained unshaken to the point that you eventually transformed that place.  

Your faith was always an inspiration. You never abandoned God. You believed he had all the answers in this world. Even when grandma passed away, you kept strong. Your faith was also clearly shown in the disappointment you had for the church. You never liked how the church was very “secretive”. How reverends and canons were committing horrific acts of evil and yet continued to grow within the ranks of the church. 

Your selfless nature was probably the greatest fruit that you had grandpa. You and grandma only had one child (My mother) but looking at all the people who had taken care of, you would have probably been one of the richest men in Western Uganda. You never loathed material possessions and all you wanted, was for people around you to be happy. You took care of so many people and they were all at the burial to say goodbye.  

Thank you grandpa for all that you taught me. Each time I saw you and we talked, I learnt something new. I remember at a time when the teenage boy in me was about to end my academic lifestyle. You stood by me and got me a place at a High school. It was clear you believed I would change and become the person I am right now when some people had already given up on me. When I finally became a scribe, you were always proud of me and each time you meet people you tell them of your grandson who had become a journalist. Thank you gramps. 

For the past few days, I have been thinking about you grandpa. Whenever I talk to my family, we seem to reach a consensus that you are alive. It’s hard to believe that you were placed six feet under. You were only diagonized with cancer last year and it is shocking how soon you had to leave us. There are so many cruel people who were always jealous of how much you loved and cared for us. In us you are still alive although we miss you greatly. You are irreplaceable in our lives.   

Aug 18, 2011

The Kampala pedestrian

A pedestrian can be defined as a person who walks on the roads of Uganda in general and Kampala in particular. Wikipedia and the Oxford dictionary have their own definition of a pedestrian but mine is clearly not far off. In Kampala people walk to work (Which until recently was legal - sort of).
There are those with motorcycles, cars (the Toyota's) and those with beasts (Audi, Hummer, Dodge). As a holy pedestrian, I am usually starstruck when I look at the cars people drive. (BUT: Where do people get the money to buy not-Toyota cars?). To the point; I will own a car sometime in the future and it will save me from the life of being a pedestrian in Kampala.

The Cover that is not: A pedestrian in Kampala is likely to fall or drop a smartphone in a manhole. There is someone in this city who steals the manhole covers. What are manhole covers used for? Welding gates and metallic doors? I do not know. But in these tough economic times these covers must be very useful.

The Splash; There are unbelievable tales of people who have suffered splash moments especially after a rainy day. Due to the somewhat poor drainage or poor road works or potholes, pedestrians get splashes. Of course it depends on who has splashed. For an ambulance or presidential convoy, it may be okay. The splashes may ruin your day and drivers usually DON'T apologise.

The body check; This one in particular I find unpatriotic. The people driving cars don't leave their huge vans to be checked yet the pedestrian will be subjected to two body checks. One at the gate and the other before reception desk. Yes. Some hotels do this. (I can prove this beyond reasonable doubt).

The Taxi; During rush hour (huh! Wanna be Kampala rush hour), the traffic jam is annoying (for those in the cars). A pedestrian holding a fancy Kataala phone hooked to Pakalast (Load 1k; talk all day), walking on a walkway is hooted at by a taxi or one of those drivers. The taxi driver is using a walkway. All the passengers in the taxi are not even criticizing the driver for using a walkway.

The bullet; My friend Rogue King loves to call them bullets. The famous Kampala "boda boda." The riders have no respect for traffic rules (Apart from the ones I use). They interfere with the flow/movement of pedestrians. I am very passionate about this one that I cannot say anymore about it. Except; Even at the zebra crossing and the traffic lights you are likely to knock a pedestrian who has right of way.

Optical non-nutrition; As a pedestrian I tend to peep or look at the people occupying cars. Its interesting what I get to see in peoples cars. Beautiful ladies are usually the center of interest. However this doesn't help. Its non-nutrition because it benefits the eyes only in the short run.

The boss; The pedestrian will be subjected to a ruined day if it rains. No rain coat and no umbrella or and no boots. You will either be later for work and the boss will fume or you will miss an appointment with a client. Client has a car and the boss too has car. boooom.

Shoe wreck; Shoes get older. The sole will peel off in a much shorter time. Enough said.

In these tough economic times, more and more people(Cliche; ignore once) have become pedestrians (Unless your car is a Vitz, Starlet or Duet or if your company pays for your fuel or you very rich or you steal taxpayers money). They have also become frustrated because of the conditions of being a pedestrian. They have to buy water, spend more on shoe polish, shoe repairs, new pair of walking shoes among others. Even for the ladies who have the love for high heels, they are only reserved for the office.

My pedestrian life is lovely at times BUT its below expectations. Someone needs to have a voice for people like us who pay taxes and face such treatment from fellow citizens.

Aug 9, 2011

baffled, astonished, worried

Images from London's riots are unbecoming (Check oxford dictionary). The sheer determination by groups of youth breaking into shops and doing loot service. Its all over the news and the social media circles. Such events are usually scarce on the news wires. Looting and rioting have always been an African thing and rarely do we as Uganda even talk to psychologists on what is going on in the minds of the youth.
Baffled by the "gangs" the news anchors and commentators on radio, TV and Websites in England couldn't believe what their eyes had seen. I too found it hard to believe. I could barely believe the sheer helplessness of some shopkeepers and the police that was ultimately overwhelmed.

I am watching. Shocked. The riots come at a time when the free market is facing a huge task, financial markets tumbling, debt crisis in Europe, America losing its AAA rating, tough economic times in Uganda as we have a sugar crisis (sort of) and nose diving dollar among others.

Who can one blame for the events in London? Clearly I do not know. I have listened and read analysis from acclaimed experts and they have varying reasons for the looting. Ranging from social exclusion and the recent austerity measures by the Cameron and Clegg government. But why resort to looting, setting cars ablaze and stoning the police.

Even I can't find a reasonable excuse to loot.

Jul 27, 2011

Cremation; The Untold Story.

I have always been fascinated by cremation. Yes the idea of having someone burnt and then have their ashes sprinkled into water (like in the movies) or left placed near the house chimney. Recently I have been analysing this issue and amazingly while chatting with a friend (Not the one you know). This friend explained that cremation means getting a body of human and then chopping the pieces and placing them on fire.

“Have you watched the videos on Bukedde TV where angry people burn someone during mob justice?”  The friend tells me.

He further explains that this is typically what cremation about. Someone dies, they are burnt to ashes or someone is burnt alive. We further divulge into cremation and wonder what the whole point is. So it is from this we came up with the demerits and merits of cremation.
This is the friend I am talking about

1. With the increasing inflation and spiralling dollar in the country, we came to realise that cremation saves one the price of a coffin and transport costs from the Uganda Funeral Services.

2. Cremation saves land. Investors in the country have been looking for land to put factories to assemble cheap Chinese goods. We do not have to burry people. We can always save the country and provide more land to investors.

3. Cremation saves on burial costs. Yes. At one of those investment club meetings, one re-known entrepreneur said that Ugandans seem to spend so much on burial ceremonies. So it should be a lesson from him that we can save that money and invest in other things that make people happy.

4. Broken hearts are not so broken. With cremation, the ashes can stay in the house. One can travel with them especially if getting over somebody is hard, then you haven’t lost anything at all.

5. During mob justice where the person is “cremated” one doesn’t need to find relatives of the robber who has probably killed to rob. Its saves time as time waits for no man.

6. Solves polygamy quarrels. If the dead person is a man, the different wives can get ashes and sprinkle or keep them. They don’t need to chop the person into various pieces yet there is fire that can burn him to ashes.

1. The firewood or charcoal used to cremate people means that we forests are being depleted. Africa needs the forests.

2. We are wasting firewood and charcoal to burn dead humans yet we can use it to prepare food we can actually eat.

3. According to the Human Rights Commission, it is wrong to cremate someone. Every Human has a right to a humane treatment, so cremation of robbers is wrong.

4. Cremation creates unemployment. If people are cremated, the coffin makers, the Uganda funeral services and people who involved in death business will be put out of business.

5. Cremation is wrong. It’s not in the Bible (I am not sure as I tried to call, tweet and poke the Pope and Rowan Williams but they all couldn’t get back to me)

6. Cremation doesn’t let people move on. If you stay with the ashes, then it’s very hard to find another      person to be happy or share your life with.

7. Cremation as proof of total disrespect. How do you burn a human being? It’s illegal and uncouth.

8. Ash capsules are pretty pricy too. If you are to place them in this capsule, then it may be as pricy as a coffin.

9. Cremation causes air pollution in cases where the person was heavily intoxicated. Yeah, this is true. In-fact I know a story. People who drink, smoke, depend on drugs and eat genetically modified food tend to cause air pollution when cremated. (The research findings on this could not be cited.)

During my discussion with this friend of mine (Who is Owen Wilson), this is all we could come up with. Although there are varying definitions of cremation, I think we have clearly explained a concept that we do not understand at all.

Jul 1, 2011

Green Lantern NOT the review.

I am scared. Oh yes I have fear. 
"look look, There is some Castle Milk Stout," he says in a rather beer hungry tone. 
He says it with no fear. Meaning he is Green. Yes. He has some green face.

 Then in the corner seated on a couch is another gentleman. 
"Water please," he tells the waiter. 
So this dude according to Martin Campbell this second gentleman qualifies to have fear. The fear for Castle Milk stout or beer to be on the safe side. But there is no safe side. Some energy sucking skull looking imaginative figure wants to use the  gentleman's own fear for beer to take his soul.  
He running away from the Castle Milk Stout and he is convincing himself that he doesnt need to get high. All the people around him are sipping some rich, dark liquid. He watches them and he seems like he wants to overcome his fear.

As he sips Rwenzori Water, a curvy and scrumptious looking girl walks in. She walks straight to the counter and orders for "Castle Milk Stout." 
He stares(With his tongue popping out) as sweat smoothly glides down his face. The girl walks straight to him and asks.
"Can I sit next to you?" 
"Yes," He says in panicky tone. 

For the next 20minutes, he says nothing. To overcome fear number one. He walks to the counter picks a Castle Milk Stout. Infact he picks two. One for himself and the other for Blake Christina Lively
But before he could get back, The gentleman in Green, the Green guy, the one without fear had already started livening up Christina. They were laughing. No. Backspace. They were flirting. Touching and by the end of the night ended up somewhere. On lantern perhaps. 

The fearful guy had lost out to some dude who loves taking risks and his name Ryan Rodney Reynolds. Ryan had without fear taken a Milk Stout (Put Castle before Milk) and again without fear achieved a nice looking/amazing lady. 

This other dude with all the fear. Walked away, head faced down, angry and cursing. The spirit of evil hand taken him over. With all the rage, he became evil itself and went into a destructive mode. 

What happens next will send you to sleep.

Jun 29, 2011

Not Blogging. Moving soon.

Its been ages since I posted anything here.Wait. Long since I posted. That is an understatement. Well I have a couple(Not a couple, more than a couple) of excuses. (Always have an excuse for everything. Backspace and remove the word everything and replace it with "not doing something".)

1. Got a new job. Yes. 2011 started in a not so cool fashion. I had quit my old job (despite the passion I had for journalism but was sort of not willing to get my balls  squeezed for pennies). Unfortunately where I was headed for some PR work, things crumbled. Three months without a job. Then I went back to my old job just to keep my hands full. Then I got an offer which on paper looked attractive but with my experience and how much I was sacrificing, I turned it down. Just as I turned it down. An offer came in. Yes. I got the job at a Magazine and now I am settled.
Before I proceed. Need to go back and read what I have just written. Is their any reason I offered for not blogging. Nope. So what is the reason? I have been BUSY. Couldn't blink. Probation has never been easy and I needed to prove a point.
*wipes face*

2. Blame Twitter. Yes, I had never been an active user of Facebook and then Twitter came. I ran to Twitter. 160words and that was it. It was not that hard. So easy to find something to  write. (Closes page and goes to drafts. There are so many incomplete posts). Well I must admit twitter had eaten into my blogging time. Once again. Not so good a reason.

3. Personal life challenges. This is an area vastly explored in some of the blog posts I have previously posted. Personal events tend to bring the hammer and dagger down my head. This could be a good reason. But then I could have blogged about it but I did not. Not a good reason too.

4. I am moving. The Anagram is supposed to get a new home and I have been shelving it for a while. The Anagram was supposed to have moved in May but I got caught up in some non-unexplained circumstances.
Yes. The Anagram will have be re-branding and securing a new home. Since 2009, this has been the home of the Anagram, but it is about time it grows. I have been thinking of writing a goodbye note now, but I am still thinking about it. (there is something wrong with the last sentence).

Well now I do not think I have reasons for not blogging more often. Then amma reserve my other words for the final post before The Anagram moves to a new location.

Now back to work.

May 30, 2011

That moment of fame with "Beauty of Rwanda"

Salha Kaitesi is a mother, a wife and an entrepreneur with a passion of making a difference, especially to the women from the land of a thousand hills. Yes I said women. Don’t we all owe part of our lives to the ladies? Yes we do. The ladies are part of our lives, they have built most of what we are (atleast for me). We look to our mothers for so much and for me, my own mother inspires me. (Huh! Re-read that last sentence. My mother is my own. so why use own in the sentence. Not sure. To emphasize I guess)
Salha is one of the Inspirational ladies making a difference in a country she is passionate about. On one of her recent trips to Uganda (Yes, she visited Uganda) I had a brief chit-chat with her. Some maybe looking forward to a personal up-close with this lovely lady, well I did get the opportunity and used it. (Yes, she is happy, has a son and a man in her life). This chit-chat was with a lady who was voted one of the top 20  most influential African women in the diaspora. Salha is based in the United Kingdom and flies to her country Rwanda occasionally to work and visit. 

So, what is Beauty of Rwanda? (Remember this is copyrighted. It’s her project. Don’t xerox her name already for your Fashion House or something)
You must have read that in the papers already. (She smiles. But I insist for an answer). Beauty of Rwanda is a business company that tries to make a difference to the women in Rwanda. We try to get these women out of poverty. (this is not an easy task by the way. Poverty has never been easy to kick out). This we attain by selling the hand-made crafts by Rwandan women.
Salha (standing from right) smiles for the camera with @djstui

“When did you start this project?” I ask. “When did I start the beauty of Rwanda  you mean?” she asks. “Yes,” I reply.

I started it on 11th November 2010, and then early this year, March to be specific, I had this idea that people should think beyond the crafts. Thats when I came up with the "only one basket" campaign so that we can eradicate poverty for good. Coz’ when you say you are going to eradicate poverty, people start getting scared, we’ve got along way go. We can only play a role in poverty eradication.

How do you get the crafts from the women? 
I buy them from the women in Rwanda and then ship them to the UK. They are then stocked and distributed to the people who would have placed their orders.
The Twitfam at the Onlyonebasket event in Kampala. Picture from #FB  

How are these products bought? 
People buy online for now, although I would like to own a shop where I can display the items for sale. At the moment we only have online buyers. I would love to have a shop or a stall or any physical address that people can come to. That is my next plan.

Queue in a cliché question: Do you use twitter and Facebook? 
(She laughs) ofcourse she had to laugh…… Who asks such a question in this era……? 

I use both Facebook and Twitter for the business. Most of the Ugandans who came for our only one basket event were mostly from the twitfam. Twitter and Facebook play an important role for us especially in marketing and publicizing the business. This is where the story is told to many people at no cost. (Hold on, don’t you pay for the bandwidth you use?) 
Earrings (via #FB)

How has the response to the "only one basket" campaign been?
The response has been good though it has been hard for us in some instances. It has been easy to sell and interact with people who know and feel they are making a difference. We have also been able to make the brand bigger than it was, but for the work we have done so far, I’d say it’s good progress.

Do you get support from people for the cause to move forward? 
In Rwanda, I was able to get more support from Radio Stations where I was given free airtime to talk about the campaign. I also got free airtime on television and space in the newspapers. It has been overwhelming even from people like you. (She means me. You want me to repeat that. Yes. I also offered my support. One big family we are)
Need a caption here:::::: But the lady you see is @itsjust_afsa 

Is Beauty Of Rwanda your full-time job? 
I have a full-time job, but I do Beauty of Rwanda on the side. I have a 9am to 5pm job but in between lunch break and other breaks I may randomly get, I use that time to update the website, facebook and twitter. In the evenings I have to go to my family. At home I spend sometime with my son and when he goes to bed, I get my laptop and start working on the campaign.

Now these are handbags. Felt tempted to buy one for ummm. A friend. 

How did you come up with the “only one basket” campaign? It’s a very catchy phrase. And I woud want to know how you came up with it. Its good.
Really (looks down and smiles), is it that good? I honestly don’t know how I came up with “only one basket.” I just thought about it and there it was. (then she shares something she had never told anyone. Hey don’t dispute. That’s what she told me. So prepare to know what it is.) I get so emotional when it comes to my country. When I am on a plane and it begins descending on Kigali International Airport, I always have tears in my eyes all the time. I don’t know why. I am overwhelmed by the people and the natural beauty that my country has. 

So, only one basket is my epiphany, I ain’t kidding. I remember sitting in front of my computer and I started thinking beyond the crafts. I needed a catch phrase that people needed to get used too. And then the thought just came, (Imagine like how the amazing inventors came up with things like, Pythagoras theory and ooops back to the interview)  only one basket in every household or individual owning one. Do you know what difference this would make? Consider the population of the world, with each one buying atleast one basket. Ofcourse this can’t happen, but we can definitely make a difference. I am so passionate about it that even when things are going wrong, all I know is that if one basket is bought, then one woman's life is getting better. 

May 5, 2011

On the 5th day of number 5

Paint brush in my hands, I smear a part of it on a cloth forming an undefined image. Little is known about what I’d painted, but all I remember was it was something dazzling. I watch, tilt, and admire my dazzling painting. I place down the brush, hold the cloth and hang it on my wall.

25 years ago, someone decided I should be born and there I was. The fine young man that I have become has been through taking the long walks on steep walls.

“Daddy, daddy I want to be doctor when I grow up,” I would tell my old man when I was so young and tender.

The struggles and negligence of a young man did not elude me; they almost swept me off the cliff edge. I almost crushed into the deep water flowing freely on the rocks bellow. The cliff edge was too sharp and slippery. It was very easy to fall off.

I made it passed the cliff edge and crossed to the other side. The other side was dark, with cruel sounds and thorns filled the pathway. In a corner was a clear path. It is used by many but they do not seem happy. They are complaining. Some are being pushed to use that path. They do not want.

I make the decision to walk through the thorn filled path. I bear the brunt and wrath of these sharp, piercing and skin peeling thorns. All I can see is a tiny light ahead of me. That is where I am walking too but the thorns aren’t making it easy.

There are distractions on the way. Finely shaped green apples, money hanging on tree branches and people who are walking in the opposite direction are some of those distractions. Any of these choices will make me go off the path, and getting to the light will be more complicated if not impossible.

 I prefer not to be deterred.

That cloth with the paint is just the first step, the progress I have made in my life. The progress for the last 25years of my life. Walking on a steep wall has never been easy.

A good friend mine did some magic on my picture. This has been one fine inspiration for me be one of the best scribes this country will ever have. The light I am looking forward to getting too.

Apr 24, 2011

The Maurice Kirya minute

On a chilly evening at posh  fairly lovely restaurant (The Lawns) the man from West Africa. He is not a west African but he had been in West Africa on tour. Yes. A Ugandan went on tour and he did not lip sing. So put your hands together (you need to clap or something) for Maurice (middle name not Known) Kirya. Some of you may know his brother, Vampos Vampino of Swangz avenue (I don’t know the plot number). You know I tried google maps in Uganda and I could not find Swangz Avenue. 

Me, a friend and a three hot beautiful ladies met with Kirya and dissected (the none biological way) him on a few things.

Album cover for his latest Album. Musubbawa. Forget the "coming soon". Its been a year. 

Question from Beautiful lady to Maurice: So my man Maurice do you actually do you update your own Twitter and Facebook accounts. 
(In some sort of singing tone) I actually update my Facebook and Twitter. I would like to express myself the way I am so that people get to know about me in person. Its only the MySpace account (it’s in French) that someone does and they usually tell my fans it ain’t me. (Maurice is really thirsty and orders for a drink. We all order for drinks. Guess who was going to pay?)

What do you want the world to know about Uganda? (Area code 256)
My message is a positive one. Uganda is a good country but foreigners don’t know about it. We have a great culture (heavy) and I wanna be part of the people that make it known to the world. I call my music “Gospel of the Sunshine.” (Maurice winks at one of the girls. She winks back).

So Maurice, What does your music represent?
You know like I said, I want to tell a good story that represents social issues. I represent the Urban African. (Hey Maurice I am also an urban African. I was born and raised in a trading center. I hope that passes as an urban area). I love Jazz, R’ n’ b and Hip hop and that’s a typical urban African. This is the Uganda that I know and represent.

Man or Mehn that’s good stuff. Kati boss, what sort of music do you do?
I call my music Mwooyo. This is soul music with a Ugandan touch. (If anyone knows what the Mwooyo Genre is, please holla. I will sign the cheque). You can hear the Ugandan accent on the vocals (Does another rap qualify as Mwooyo?).
You know I was exposed to all this different music from my background. My mother liked the Abba’s and country music, I listen to a lot of hip hop (pause Maurice. Do you think the song Angela is Hip Hop?) because one of my brothers liked it. Then I was also into Reggae music because my other brother Vampino liked it. Growing up, I was surrounded by music from way back. And at times a take I laid back sit and listen to music from the 50’s to do research on its influence.

Que in question by another pretty girl; do you think you are charming?
*Maurice turns around tends shakes his head while denying he is charming. His head is denying but his facial expression is showing otherwise.*
People tell I am charming, but I don’t think so. Mark (That's me), what do you think?
My answer? If the ladies think you are then, most definitely you are.
(Maurice tells pretty girl: "By the way you are pretty")

Are you dating?
I am single. I have dated before but come on who would want to be with a person who is always on the move. (Hmmm Maurice there are ladies with the determination). I however like being in the company of women. I go out with them once in a while.

So you ain’t dating but you hang-out with women?
Yap, they are two different things. There is a difference between dating and asking a lady to watch a movie or dine with you. What people see on the Kardishians (no offense to show) in Hollywood movies. I want to have fun and I usually tell the ladies what I like about them. If they have nice hair, then I will say it. If I like their smile I will say it. All I want is to hangout with a lady and we do some food or even watch a movie without getting attached in terms of dating.

Your ideal woman (to date)
When people ask me this question, My answer straight out is “I don’t know.”

Gwe guy!!! What car do you drive?
I drive a 1971 VW beetle. (Let us pause for a minute. A vintage car. Seriously. With an engine in the back and moreover a 1971 model)
Not the exact car but this is the 1971 VW beetle

You won the RFI award and you drive an “old car”?
Right now a car is not a priority. There is still so much to. I have another car but it’s a simple car and not very flashy. (What he mean’t here is *I think* the car did not have spinners, two large flat screen TVs and hydrochloric something that makes the car dance)

Why the vintage car?
This car is like 40years old and it was once driven by Idi Amin. (Ya’ll know this dude (RIP). He was president of Uganda from 1971-79)

Have ever gone on date using this car?
*Sips water* I have and it has broken down several times while I am on a date.

Tell me more about this tour of West Africa?
So we did about 14 countries in 18hours performed at 24 concerts and did 6 road trips (of more than 4 hours). All this was in two months. It was fun going around West Africa and doing music for people. I met so many interesting people and made many more fans in West Africa. It was amazing how much people appreciated the music I was doing.

So why did you have to go on tour of West Africa?
Every year, Radio France International (RFI), has the discovery award for African countries. I won it. In fact I was the first non-Franco phone winner of the award. Part of the award is that the artist has to do a tour of West Africa. So that’s how we ended up in West Africa and concluded all this in Paris. This was the first leg of the tour.

When is the second leg?
The second leg is after Easter and it will be in the United States. We will do New York, Washington and Chicago. I will be performing alongside Jordin Sparks. (Chris Brown did "No Air" with her, I wonder if Maurice will do one too)

And for 2011. I am told the Maurice Kirya experience will be no more.
I am working on my new album and I cannot say much about that. But because I am on tour  and haven’t been able to concentrate on the new album. The Maurice Kirya experience will now be one event in the year. The experience is the platform I provide to promote the arts like music, poetry and paintings. It started small but it became a huge event by beating our expectations. I also hope to do concerts here in Uganda in 2011.

So, if you ain’t doing music what is your day be like?
My day can be filled up with meetings but I try as much as possible to be done by 4pm. I work like a professional. There are people who do my management and promotions among others. After all these I also go to the movies. Alone or not, I have to go to the movies. I try to find a quiet place where I can sit uninterrupted. I also walk on the streets just to see people. I do go to Owino (For those who do not know Owino, its like a Food Court but only that this one is for clothes) by myself to buy clothes. This helps me relate my music to what seems to be going on peoples’ lives.

Life struggles, especially when you decided music was going to be your thing (Career)
Most people thought I was not going to make it. They would see me carrying a guitar and they would think there is something wrong with me. They would look down on me.
 I was never appreciated but still I moved on. It was tough getting to where I am now. I am not yet at the top, but am better. People who used to think my music would be crap come to me to tell me how good my music is. It was a struggle in industry where quick money seems to be the dominant factor.

Any question for me Maurice?
Yes. Which song of mine, do you like the most?
I like Misubbaawa.

"Why?" he asks.
(I don’t know about the vocals and pitch) Its one of strong worded songs I have ever listened too. It sinks in that the song can be felt on the inside.(The rilics lyrics of this song are amazing. I love them)

Then we he asks for our bill for the drinks.....(The rest could not be included in this interview)

It was one great evening with Maurice Kirya and through the years he has progressed to get to this level.  Live music is making a comeback in Uganda and Maurice has played his role in promoting this kind of music. Maurice will keep going places and for us me, we’ll I'll support the cause. 

You also visit the facebook fan page 
Related links

Apr 14, 2011

Goblets of Mischief

After I was denied from eating my candy by some men in some dotted zebra like clothing, life has changed pretty a-lot. These men look like they are from metropolis. With metals around their bodies, they reach out with their fists and idle hands, grab and bundle a pedestrian onto some blue truck for walking on the streets.
Walking was illegal in the city centre and this explains why the CBD only had SUV’s with tinted windows parked along the streets. Only those who could drive were allowed in the city.

The men in zebra like clothing were now street vendors and owned shops around town. They had taken the jobs of the humans. The humans had deserted the city. It was no-longer safe for them. They were no-longer free to trade good and walking in the city had been banned. The silence in the city was deafening, quiet and calm.  

The term civilians, that's how they are described, had become ruthless, idle and animalistic. They walked and patrolled every corner of the a little known city. The presence of less humans in the city meant the men in zebra like clothing were now using guns to shoot at flies, bees and any insect that tried to make any movement in the city.

So why have they started behaving like obsessed animals? (Recalling the biblical story where Jesus cast evil spirits from a human to pigs).

Mar 23, 2011

Special MTN Uganda Rant.

Just like the blood sucking vampires MTNUganda seems to be on a mission to drain me. Customer care has never been one of MTN's strong points, they have always taken their customers for a ride and they always taken them for granted. I really understand how MTN took a thorough run for their money with Warid Telecom and Airtel plus UTL slashing their call rates. This basically means less people are spending money on airtime because they can call cheaply on other networks.

So why didn't I join the other networks? Because I never wanted to leave my tariff to join all those confusing subscriptions.

Dial *something# to join and call for ten minutes for free blah blah blah. MTN most definately lost a significant number of its customers to the competition but were they right to scrap late chat?

Well maybe they want to compete but at then are they also going to subject their customers so many tariffs that may confuse some us? And who did they tell? As a telecom company in this day of technology, MTN was supposed to issue a notice probably by SMS to let us know these were going to change.

I must admit, I think MTN has once again miscalculated in my own opinion since people who buy airtime were texting at 50/= but now will be paying 110/= per sms. I will say MTN has for long tried to react late in these situations.

The industry has become very competitive with so many promos from the telecoms and for their customer, this doesn't help at all. What MTN should have done in my own opinion is to keep MTN late chat the way it is. As an MTN customer I feel so much exploited and I believe I am not being treated as the King. That is why I have always failed to believe that MTN cares for its customers. Its interest is to continue to build only a strong brand but offer close to bad service to the people.
If were to do a mini survey, MTN would be at the bottom of the pack because of its service delivery.

I have always been a loyal customer to MTN (since 2004) and ever since Late Chat was introduced, I have never switched to any other tariff. Why? Because I hate the hustle of switching from one thing to another. If you are going to change something please treat me as if I am a valuable customer to your company.

With technology in this era, couldn’t they have communicated that they were going to scrape my tariff.

And now am done making noise about MTN. It has been long overdue.

Mar 21, 2011

All I want is to enjoy my Candy

As I listen to the script’s Science and Faith, in the soot filled kitchen I sit. Thinking. About I don’t know what. And then i remember, the other day I tried to eat my candy and I was stopped. I was bundled on the back of blue truck with sirens and taken to a dark room.

I was told I couldn’t eat candy on the streets. I almost protested my mistreatment until I noticed there was no one in my defense. The blue trucks were at every corner.

The city was calm, littered with filth and beggars downtrodden on the wrecked lampposts. There was fine flowing and stinky fluid from beneath the cracked tarmac. The silence was deafening as all the cars that passed had tinted windows. There was always a rush to leave the city centre. Even hooting was prohibited.

And there I was wondering where to sit and enjoy my candy. The men in bluish white uniforms were all over the streets. They were more than the civilians on the streets. They had taken over some square in the city. It had become their camp and base. All the green spaces had been taken over.

“We are here to protect you,” they say.

But why were the people feeling scared when they see these “protectors?” It had become too much that the protectors had also become vendors in the city. They were the hawkers and could also sell airtime. But still I couldn’t enjoy my candy.

There was a notice that before I eat any candy in the city centre, I had to notify the protectors first. But it’s my candy, my right to eat when and where I want.

'Things have changed brother,' the chief tells me. 'We are now mindful what u consume and where,' he adds.

'You can’t eat candy from the city square'

Head facing down, coat on the shoulder, I walk to the direction of setting of the Kampala sun.

'One day I will enjoy my candy freely,' just one day..... I keep telling my self