How the Congolese lost their Cultural Heritage and Business to Chinese Textile Industry

I read this article and realised the loss is not unique to the Congolese. Everywhere in Africa even as governments  fight second hand clothes, we are still far away from seeing policies that facilitate local industries to be competitive. From the farm to the industries, heavy reliance on imports while exporting less finished goods has many countries in debt.

While i do not have answers, this good feature by Quartz documents how lives have been changed in Lubumbashi. A combination of insecurity and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the mushrooming cheap Chinese cloth has left devastating impact on families and communities that once held up the Congo glory of textile production.

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What’s Cooking? A not-so-gentle reminder to African women on absconding their duty

AfricanFeminism (AF)

I am sorry you’re behind the times. Can I bring you up to speed? Cooking is never a woman’s job. We train them to cook much as we train men like you to be misogynist, patriarchal, and sexist.”- @Bahiirwa. A twitter user had this response to tweet from one Ugandan man who thought of putting out a piece of advice to women on cooking and being modern.

Mathias Ssemanda, a self described blogger asked women to stop “abandoning” their duty of cooking.

Sexism on Ugandan twitter is common but so are the increasing number of young women’s voices and men who are ready to challenge the notion of gender roles like they were scribbled…

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Stella Nyanzi only did what we have feared to do

The intimidation, threats against those Ugandans who dare think outside the box our rulers are comfortable with are real. My friend Uwitware put her thoughts here elaborately on Stella Nyanzi’s campaign for pads and the response from Minister of Education. Hours after this post went up she received threats against her and her family via Facebook and she made these threats public and also reported to police.  Yesterday April 08, Uwitware was kidnapped for hours and released around midnight. I don’t know what state she is now. Police say she is safe. Not much on the condition they found her in.  But violence that has been waged against free thought and freedom of expression in the past is well known and I still fear what could have done to her. Her employers say she is safe but what is safe after an abduction? Uwitware and others like her need us not to be silent. Silence will not save us.

Uwitware's Picks

IMG_4956When the First Lady Janet Museveni, in her capacity as education minister called the media to advise parents about among others, not to transport their kids to school on Boda Boda’s, or if they should, not more than two on one bike, no one dared to respond to her unrealistic advice in this Uganda that’s marred with a lot of inequality.

Only one outspoken woman, Stella Nyanzi – who I am actually so proud of to this effect – dared to insert her finger in the anus of the “leopardess.” I salute you Nyanzi

Many, without taking in the crucial points passed judgment over Nyanzi for her response that made rounds on social media as largely vulgar, missing the point therefore.

The filthy – mouthed mother of twins spat rubbish as many who claim to be morally upright perceived it but a few of us ( now dubbed anti government…

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Those who Defied the Odds, Those Who Stood True to their Beliefs Till the End

To those who Defied the Odds, Those Who Stood True to their Beliefs Till the End is a tribute to my grandmother who passed on recently. She was a big inspiration to many.

AfricanFeminism (AF)


On February 18th I lost my grand aunt-my grandmother really (English limitations) because in my culture a sister of my grandmother is my grandmother. Both have almost equal roles and space in your life.

This incredible woman, May Kyomugasho Katebaka left us at the age of 97. We last met in 2014 when I visited her. She’s a fierce woman. Fierce in her religion but also fierce in her knowledge of what she wanted from the world. And that is what moves me. Moves every time one claims feminism is foreign and for the educated, un-african. She always came to mind when I met such arguments. I would tell myself that if only they could hear half her life story, then they would understand why I am such a rebellion.

Grandma May, always made it a point to tell us she got ‘saved/born again’ in 1949. Religion was at the…

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Uganda’s child poverty problem

Happy 2017!

I kicked off this year well and in first two weeks I spent time with media colleagues trying to wrap our heads around early childhood development. Through various engagements with UN foundation and UNICEF, I was both fascinated by the work and research around first six years of a child’s life and also taken aback at how much work we need to do as a nation to set our children on the right path.

Key focus was on poverty and it’s impact on children in Uganda.  Although the proportion of the Ugandans living below the national poverty line declined from 31.1% in 2006 to 19.7% in 2013, according to the 2016 Poverty Assessment, many children still live in poverty. The proportion of the total number of poor people who live in the Northern and Eastern regions increased between 2006 and 2013, from 68% to 84%. Between 2005 and 2009, for every three Ugandans who were lifted out of poverty, two fell back. 

These are the highlights on child poverty and the uphill task Uganda faces.

1: More than 50% of Uganda’s population are children. Uganda is the world’s second youngest nation after Niger.


2: Sadly, about 55% of Uganda’s children below five and 38% between 6-17 years live in poverty.

Continue reading “Uganda’s child poverty problem”

Queen of Katwe, Day of the Girl and why we need more men like Coach Katende

AfricanFeminism (AF)

It started off slowly. In 2011, the United Nations endorsed that October 11 would be marked the International Day of the Girl Child. This October I saw, for the first time, my timeline fill with ordinary people writing something thoughtful about the day and what it means to them and the girls in their communities.

I tweeted a few reflections on why we need the this day even at a time where we see some wave of fighting back – many still ask, what about the boy? I say: we need the day of the girl because the world is still damn unequal. We need the day of the girl because you still put unnecessary hurdles in your girl child’s life which you don’t do for your boys’. This in no way means the boy child doesn’t have his own hurdles and pressures from society. It means that the girl…

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Talking African Feminisms with Dr Sylvia Tamale

Last saturday, the Maisha Gardens under the Maisha Moto initiative hosted Dr Sylvia Tamale one of the top Ugandan academics and the first female to hold the post of Dean of Law Faculty at Makerere University. Her passion for justice and equality is well known and her work on African Sexualities confronts the narratives that try to downplay the diverse and complex sexualities on the continent and the tendency to paint conversations around gender as an import into Africa.

Note the title ‘African Feminisms’ because there’s no one feminism. And to understand this is to go to the very description of feminism that Dr Tamale gave.

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Writing for African Feminism

Today I wrote my first post for AfricanFeminism, a great initiative by my friend Billene Seyoum. AfricanFeminism (AF) is a collaborative writing project between African authors/writers with the long-term ambition of bringing on board at least one feminist voice from throughout the continent. It’s an online feminist platform that encourages open discussion and dialogue on feminist issues throughout the continent.

Billene started out with EthiopianFeminist back in 2011 after her move back to Addis Ababa.  Billene and I spent a year in graduate school in Costa Rica at the UN mandated University for Peace in 2010. She has been a great inspiration and Africa has and needs many more women like her. Information sharing and collaborations on the continent among storytellers is very key to our own understanding of our interconnected lives, struggles and achievements. Follow AF for stories from writers from various countries as we try to tell stories of women through different prisms.

My first post is on Ugandan women creating online spaces to have an impact on national discourse and debates. It is derived from a recently concluded second annual Uganda Social Media Conference which I worked on with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Read more here

Follow Billene on Twitter @BilleneSeyoum


Africa must invest in women farmers in post conflict communities

Three weeks ago I was in Lira, northern Uganda working on what justice means for women in a post conflict community. When we think of justice, agriculture might not be the immediate thing that comes to mind but here we were here listening to women who a decade after the conflict ended are unable to feed their families.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, women make up 50 percent of the agricultural labor force, but manage plots that are roughly 20-30 percent less productive. And land rights remain a sticky issue in northern Uganda for all but specific challenges remain for women.

In Uganda women more than men at 76 percent versus 62 percent work in farming. For women in post conflict communities productivity is limited due to various reasons and trauma as we heard was one of them. A lot of women and men who experienced violence over the 20 year LRA were sent home at the end of the conflict to go back to till lands with no support.

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Social Media Shutdowns and the rise of a securocratic Uganda

The Media Institute of Southern Africa’s (MISA) flagship publication, So This Is Democracy?: State of Media Freedom in southern Africa was an insightful read this week. The report notes that African governments are increasingly exploiting the “national security” discourse to introduce regressive interventions and that somehow we are in a new area of “contestation between the state and advocates for freedom of expression and access to information and media freedom.”

More and more governments are moving to regulate the internet, but worse are those governments like Uganda who are seeing blanket internet interruption and social media shutdowns a card to be used every few months.

Half way into 2016, Ugandans have so far dealt two social media shutdowns in the country where the President Yoweri Museveni won a controversial re-election to extend his rule beyond 30 years. Today the ability to bypass a cyber wall has become an essential skill to have as a Ugandan.

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