My first pair of shoes

My wife and I once shared an apartment with a Ugandan friend. Born and raised in Kampala, Nakalema (not her real name) was incredulous when, at a dinner conversation, I casually mentioned that I did not wear shoes in primary school. “Olimba! (You are lying),” she exclaimed. “They allowed you to attend school without shoes?” […]

I need your financial help this Christmas

Christmas is here again. The tills and money boxes of the merchants ring with joy, not in remembrance of the saviour’s birth but in celebration of the saver’s spending spree. This Christmas, the average American will spend US$929 (Sh. 3.3 million) on Christmas gifts. The figure for Canada is about US$600 (Sh. 2.2 million); Norway, […]

Herbert “Kabwondera” Bakesigaki: master of Enanga (African zither)

We remember you Herbert “Kabwondera” Bakesigaki. We celebrate your talent, your sound, your poetry, your contribution to the preservation of musical tradition of the Bakiga. Though you died young, you left a great legacy. We thank you for making the ICOB conventions you attended memorable. Now we seek and hope to find and listen to […]

Agaba’s death and the dark spirit in the land

The death of George Ninsiima Agaba in a horrific motor accident on Saturday was a terrible tragedy for two reasons. First the loss of life, especially of a young person, is always heart breaking for the family, friends and the community. A life cut so soon deprives the deceased of the opportunity to enjoy his […]

Kigezi District Council Members 1961

Dr. James Mugisha gwa Kikira kya Mbagyeruka gave me a printed copy of this photograph more than ten years ago. It is one of my most treasured records of our history, not only because I knew many of these elders but also because it presents leaders who were very firmly grounded and honourable in the […]

Katiikiri: The man who fed future leaders

Memories of 1966 flood black with torrential force. That bloody year of political and military turmoil stands out like a sore thumb in Africa’s history. Though I was aware of the news reports and listened to my parents discussing the political upheaval with their friends in sombre, funereal tones, I neither understood their impact nor […]

Salutations Mwai, Mugane and Moi

Be humble friends, be humble! Live and please let live Serve with good heart, my friends The alternative is never worth it.   I honour them, these three men Not ’cause I agreed with all They said and did in Kenya But ’cause they served with vigour Ev’n when the train derailed.   I recall […]