Social media. It makes the world so much more available to all of us and connects us like never before. Once before, I interviewed a Kashmiri photographer; that I was following him on Instagram. “Children of Kashmir” was the result of that interview.
This time I have asked Anita Kambabazi some questions. She is a young Ugandan woman blogger.
Before I started blogging, I did not know anything about the blogging community— a community of people worldwide that see the joy of creation. They make it happen by dedicating their time to express themselves through written words, photos, visual art, etc. That is how I came across one of Anitaś posts. “The little things to trusting in myself again.” After reading the post, I just knew; I had to know more about her and her country. For what is better than seeing a country through the eyes of its young inhabitants. Enjoy this reading!
Can you please introduce yourself to us?
– I am Anita Kambabazi, a 27 years old woman. I work as a civil engineering officer in a government entity. I currently live in Kampala, Uganda.
If you were going to describe Kampala with two words, what would they be?
– Varied, Colourful.
How is it to be a young woman in Uganda?
– It’s beautiful because there are many women I look up to as I craft the life I want and contribute to the change I want to see around me. Other times it’s frustrating because of ingrained social, cultural norms that are patriarchal. When both religious and social parts of my society reiterate this message, it constrains the reach of both men and women especially.
When did you start blogging?
– December 2017
What was your motivation for starting it?
– I always knew to communicate, and expression was essential to me, but I fought it because I thought it would get in the way of my career choices. But one day, I allowed myself to do something I’d always wanted to do for so long.
What does creativity mean to you?
– Fun. Telling stories and showing people ordinary things in interesting ways. Colour and capturing beautiful moments.
Can you introduce your country Uganda for those of us who know almost nothing about it?
– Uganda, it’s diverse in politics, culture, people and food; I am pushing myself to see, read and travel more. Because I find my own experiences small and subjective. Uganda has five regions Northern, Western, Eastern, Southern (sometimes called Southwest), and Central. In those regions, there are several districts. Some of the regions have mostly flat landscape like the Northern region, and others like the South and Western are more undulated with hills and valleys. Each of these regions has a rural side that’s slow-paced, quiet, greenery, and sometimes sparse population of people and a fast-paced urban environment with high and low-class living. Staple foods for these regions vary. For example, matooke (green bananas steamed in leaves) is eaten in Central and Southern Western Uganda and Malakwang (a groundnut paste cooked with green leaves) in Northern Uganda. The cultural and contemporary music for these regions is also different. Kampala is one of those districts, and it is in the Central region.
“Must see” for tourists in Uganda. What do you think that should be?
– Karuma or Bujagali falls, and Mirama Hills of Kisoro from South Western Uganda is such a beautiful sight as you drive along the slopes.
What do you love most about your country?
– How friendly people are and music.
What do you consider as your country’s challenges?
– Corruption & Economic disparity between the rich and poor person.
If you were going to introduce your country by music which songs & artists ( 2 songs) would you choose?
– I’d choose Maddox Sematimba – Namagembe, (it’s a love song about a girl called Namagembe) I grew up listening to this song on the radio and even though I knew nothing about love, then. The other is Kwata Essimu (pick up the phone) by Winnie Nwagi; she has an interesting music style, a mix between kiganda cultural music and something else, maybe zouk? You can find both on YouTube. Both are Luganda songs, a dialect in Central region, for me the two songs show how Ugandans are carefree and like to have fun.
What is the most popular sport in Uganda?
– Football. There was a time I spent a few weeks in a few districts, and at the end of the day, young men would go to the nearest field and have a football match.
If you were going to introduce your country by writers, who would they be, and what is the name of their books that you recommend?
– “The First Daughter” written by Ugandan author Goretti Kyomuhendo. She’s a celebrated novelist and literary activist. It is a boy meets girl love story. I read it when I was 14 years old, and it was one of the books that drew emotion out of me. It also painted pictures of Western Uganda, and Kampala streets in the 90’s as a young girl. I also like that it shows how unfair girls are treated from the boys when teenage pregnancies happen.
“The Bell is ringing” by Martin Aliker (a former Presidential advisor and Diplomat who served in more than one of Ugandan’s governments). He is not a novelist, but his perspective Uganda’s political environment and each of the presidents he worked with before Museveni is humorous. It’s an excellent introduction to Uganda’s politics in a light-hearted palatable manner – that is why I would also recommend it.
Which film industry is famous there? Hollywood or African movies or Bollywood or any other film industry?
– Both Hollywood and African movies – specifically Nigerian movies (Nollywood) are popular.
From your point of view, how has the covid19 affected Uganda as a country? And how is the situation now?
– Uganda has been one of the few countries that hadn’t registered death from the COVID-19 pandemic till 23/07/2020. So that was a big win and still is. Financially it’s been tough on many homes; like many countries, we had a lockdown period of over three months where many businesses were still standing. People are slowly getting back into work and business and slashing prices to encourage more cash flows. I speak for myself mostly (and those who found more time on their hands); it has made me aware of social media’s power as an education and marketing tool.