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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

 

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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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Uganda, Uncategorized

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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Male survivors of rape in northern Uganda and Ongwen trial

Photo by K. Burns [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A few nights ago I came across this article from Acholitimes about a male survivor of rape from northern Uganda.

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No substantial evidence in my thoughts tonight

 

Katureebe yatutoneka

But someone will ask where is the wound

Are you blind? And even if you were, the air would have whispered to you

If you aren’t blind, can’t you see it on the streets of Kampala?

Don’t you listen to the radios? Did you hear that person telling us

‘At least you are bleeding in peace’

But if I put many questions someone will say no evidence

Katureebe yatutoneka,

Not in that intentional, malicious kind of way

But open wounds don’t get into these details of intent

For there’s no substantial evidence to support any of this.

All the wound cares about is the pain reintroduced

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