Tag Archives: africa

When Elephants and Humans Collide

Here is a great article I just came across in the Black Star News that highlights the important and complicated issues around human – elephant conflict in Africa. Elephants traditionally ranged over thousands of miles. As population growth in Uganda … Continue reading

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“Yes, We Know Its Christmas”

Finally, Africans speak out against Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” with “Yes, We Know Its Christmas” (not yet available on YouTube as far as I can tell). I’ve been thinking about the Band Aid song a lot lately, … Continue reading

Posted in Foreign Aid, Poverty, Society, Video | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Uganda Ranked #1 Travel Destination

Yet another reason to come on my trip to Uganda in April 2012!!! This isn’t a surprise to those of us who have loved Uganda for years, but finally the “outside world” is catching on. Lonely Planet, one of the … Continue reading

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South Sudan – a Subsidiary of Texas

This is one of the many reasons why Americans should pay attention to Africa. Whether through a foreign aid and development approach, a military approach, or a business approach, the United States is pulling levers in countries all over the … Continue reading

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Africa Kicked My Ass Today

It’s never good to lose patience in Africa. It’s not like in the United States, where if you are receiving terrible service you blow up and demand to talk to the manager and are likely to get what you want. … Continue reading

Posted in Personal Observations, Society | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Is it Better to be Poor in a Poor Country?

Let’s face it – it sucks to be poor anywhere. But I think a lot about relative poverty. Very frequently here in Uganda, people will ask me to “take them to America.” I know the vision in their minds. They … Continue reading

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Did Gadaffi Help Control Muslim Extremism in Africa?

Once Gadaffi is removed from power, there will be many dominoes falling across Africa. His personal investments in businesses and in cultivating relationships with cultural rulers constitute billions of dollars and form an intricate web of control across the continent. … Continue reading

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BeadforLife – A Path out of Poverty

I want to share this story from the most recent BeadforLife newsletter (full disclosure – my wife is a co-founder of BeadforLife).

The reason I want to share it is that it is an inspiring story that shows the power of a little bit of seed capital in the right hands. This woman didn’t receive a hand-out, she received an opportunity and worked hard to save the money that allowed her to slowly start and expand her businesses. Continue reading

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Homosexuality in Uganda is not a European Import. Christianity is.

I have asked many Ugandans why there is such strong homophobia in this country. Nearly every answer I get is some variation on “it isn’t part of our culture. It was brought here by Europeans, and they are trying to recruit young people to become gay.”

The irony is that homosexuality existed here long before Europeans had ever set foot on the African continent and it is, in fact, Christianity, a true European import, that has demonized homosexuals.

An article in the Guardian titled African myths about homosexuality, written by a man from Zimbabwe, cites pre-colonial homosexual activity in present-day Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina-Faso, Camaroon, Angola, and Benin. In fact, he points out that in Angola, homosexuality was common until the Portugese criminalized it.

Homosexuality was not brought here by Europeans. Christianity, and its attendant moral code, was.

The Christian Church is the new colonial power in sub-Saharan Africa. The European national powers laid the original and important groundwork for the advances of the church into all facets of life here. They taught Africans to feel ashamed of their cultures and traditional religions, and left a vacuum when local people did not reap the financial benefits of secular “development.” It was then very easy for the church to step in and fill the void. The control of the church here is far more powerful and complete than that of any of the European powers of the 19th and 20th centuries because it has been welcomed with open arms. There is no “opposition” or “underground movement” against it.

So here are my questions:

* Why are Africans so quick to renounce their traditional cultures and accept a European-introduced religion that strictly defines how they should live and who they should hate, even while the worst thing people can say here about homosexuality is that it was “brought here by Europeans?”

* Why the fear around homosexuality? What is the basis for someone to feel personally threatened by the existence of gay people? It is one thing to not like the fact that some people are gay – there are lots of people in the world that I don’t like, too – but what pushes it over the edge to make it seem ok to kill somebody just because you don’t like how they live their lives?

* How can anyone who is even mildly intelligent believe that people in the West are sending money over here to “recruit” people to become gay? Are you serious?!? The only money coming over here is coming from American Christian evangelicals to promote anti-gay hatred. OK – so maybe that was more an opinion than a question, but it seems that lots of people actually believe this, and I really don’t understand it. Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights, Society | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Film Maker Mira Nair’s Training Institute in Uganda

There are some very talented filmmakers and actors/actresses here, but the Ugandan film world lacks some cohesion. As more people get exposed to the training offered at this institute, the skill level and the global awareness of Ugandan films and Ugandan filmmakers should increase dramatically.

On a side note, be sure to go back and watch Mississippi Masala again. Did you know it was set and filmed in Kampala?

Thanks to the blog Shadow and Act, a site about film and the African diaspora, for highlighting this project…
Introducing Uganda’s Maisha Film Labs…
By Tambay, on January 14th, 2011

In 2004, filmmaker Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Salaam Bombay!, Mississipi Masala & others) founded Maisha Film Labs – a Uganda-based film training initiative by (not-so unlike the Sundance Film Festival’sIFP’s filmmaker labs). filmmaker labs, or the

The goal of the Maisha Film Labs is to give aspiring filmmakers in the East African country the tools & knowledge they currently lack, to tell their own stories through film, which would then help foster a self-sustaining film industry in Uganda and vicinity, that will support and represent the interests of local audiences.

So, why Uganda? Well… Mira Nair’s award-winning 1991 film, Mississipi Masala (which starred Denzel Washington, by the way, and probably my favorite of all her films), was shot, on location in Kampala, Uganda! AND, it’s also in Uganda, in 1988, that she met her husband, scholar, Mahmood Mamdani, while she was doing research for the film.

Read the rest here: Shadow and Act and get more info about the institute at Maisha Film Labs

Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala Continue reading

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