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Archive for the ‘Society and culture’ category

  • Kony2012 and what it means for Uganda – the Muzungu’s view

    Mar 11, 12 • 5716 views 9 comments

    The 64 million views (as of today) of Invisible Children’s videos on YouTube are a marketer’s dream come true. Isn’t it a goddam shame that it’s always the bad stories that are popular? And isn’t it a tragedy that...

  • Chimp alert! muzungu bolthole? Kibale Forest

    Feb 12, 12 • 7874 views 9 comments

    Three dogs bark excited greetings as we drive up the steep hill on the approach to Julia’s house on the edge of Kibale Forest. The four hours from Kampala to Fort Portal on tarmac are easy. The last hour of the journey is the hardest:...

  • Slumming it, Kampala style

    Jan 28, 12 • 6266 views 11 comments

    Rubbish collection is managed privately in Kampala: you pay through the nose for a private contractor to collect your rubbish once a week. Local people just burn their rubbish, and maybe that’s all the private contractors do? And so, a week...

  • Save Mabira Forest! we can live without sugar

    Sep 3, 11 • 4084 views 6 comments

    To everyone’s horror – but few people’s surprise – the President has decreed that ‘the degraded part’ of this ancient and fabulous forest, protected under international law, should be cut down. And for what crucial development project?...

  • Bwindi – eye to eye with my totem

    Aug 12, 11 • 9756 views 16 comments

    THUMP! THUD! CRASH! If ever there was a rude awakening, this was definitely it. It’s early. It’s been one hell of a journey to get here (a whole day’s public transport from Kasese to Buhoma) …  the house rat has kept us awake half...

  • Africa Hash, Ethiopia – Magnificent Tissisat Falls

    May 12, 11 • 3910 views 5 comments

    Monday: the Hashiest day of the week. The breakfast promised ‘as soon as we get out of Addis’ was actually brunch several hours later. I ate the best scrambled eggs ever and the Ethiopians shared tibs and injera. I noticed how everyone ate only...

  • The son-in-laws I never knew I had: funeral of my namesake, Jajja

    Apr 20, 11 • 3467 views 6 comments

    Anxious not to arrive halfway through another Ugandan funeral, I decided to check that “4 o’clock” means the same for me as it does for my Ugandan friend Harriet. I’m glad I called: the 4 p.m. service had been brought forward by two hours...

  • Just don’t cry out ‘Thief!’

    Apr 5, 11 • 3021 views 5 comments

    6.20 a.m. and it’s still pitch black outside. It’s a heaving sweaty mess; we need rain. The Woodland Kingfisher’s piercing call fills the compound and I hear the unmistakeable cawing and crowing of the Hadada Ibis as they fly over the marshes...

  • Election* fever part II – feeling the heat

    Mar 5, 11 • 2445 views 2 comments

    Election season is dragging. No last-minute public holiday announced for today’s local election. Shame, we could have all done with a day off to escape the heat. It’s hot, sticky and dusty. Unusually there is also a strong wind, firing dust...

  • Johannesburg – don’t hit the panic button until after dinner

    Feb 19, 11 • 2983 views 5 comments

    There is a feeling of space in suburban northern Johannesburg, by far the largest city in South Africa. The plots are big, the streets are lined with large beautiful trees and the treetops are full of the sound of birdsong. There are three big...