Thursday, January 31, 2008

Side by Side

We are lying down, side by side
lazy and content, sleepy;
our blanket is love's duvet-
heavy light all around,
and the thread joining us
fine as light, true as steel-
is love round us.

He is lying in my arms;
I am lying in his arms
close, one to the other
wrapped in love, the blanket
that a shield is for us
against a purulent, hostile world.

Love that is so soft a comfort;
yet a shield of steel,
that my world and people condemn
but me and him sustains.
I love him, he loves me
and there's all in those words
the world to challenge, our right to love.


January's Last Day

A day warm and close
the cloud cover close 'n thick
closing out the sun
filtering its rays dilute,
and holding the air still.
No wind. No rain.
only a gray, still, cloud curtain.

The car exhaust fumes
smogy precursor curtain
settles in the valleys and bottoms;
Kampala's rancid hovels clothed
in the usual mud 'n murk;
though, maybe, far;- in near future
there's promise of a cleansing rain
juicy, thick cloudburst rainstorm
scrubbing this air clean,
making it breathable, livable and fresh.

January's last day-
the year just begun, but a month old;
hope a bloom, a seed in the warm soil

(c) GayUganda 31 Jan 2008

Dare To Hope

Because we dare not not hope.

The delay was caused by ... officials who were not happy about the seating arrangements.

the country is burning, day by day, hour by hour. And the leaders are in a tense standoff, to decide who sits where before they talk to each other.

...short speeches by Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga that did offer some hope.

Both men appealed for an end to the appalling violence that has threatened to tear Kenya apart, and both said they were committed to the talks process.

There was no point-scoring, no playing to the gallery.

Sometimes our priorities are skewed. Not only them, even mine. Just have to remember that we are human beings, liable to make mistakes. Sorry, indeed is a magic word, which has a healing capacity and magic, both to the person who has been wronged, and the one who has done the wrong.

Some things cannot be righted. But we can say that we are sorry, and pledge to move on.

Kenyans look up to you; do not let them down at this hour of need
Kofi Annan


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


One or two days ago, woke up a bit late. Alarm had gone off, and I had stayed in bed. Dawn is a bit late, and. Sometimes it is not so much fun getting out of bed, from my lover’s warm hands.

I put on my phone, and immediately, the tones of a message incoming.

I wanted to get out. Day break is a special time. That time when darkness goes away, and light takes over. An awakening of the planet. When the electric bulbs turn from brilliant stars of the night to insignificant nothings. When the quiet of night slips by degrees into the song of birds, and then to the quiet of the morning.

I love that time. My love, poor him, will continue missing me then.

That day, got out before I checked the message on the phone. Inhaled the morning, bathed in its new light, and was content.

Then I remembered the message.

It was from my brother. Elder brother.

“…, what u shared with me is wrong!!! Abominable! It is a deception from satan. P’se bro, free yo self from it! Not God’s plan 4 u! Jesus will help u. Please. …”

My spirits plummeted to zero. I tried, desperately to see more of the morning. It was suddenly dull.

It has remained so for some time. The days.


Family is important. One sister seems to have accepted me, without reservations. Sending greetings to my lover. Others seem to be happy with the status quo. Maybe. Maybe not.

But I did think that I had an ally that I could lean on.

Yet, I have to be realistic. Of all the others, he was possibly the one most likely to change his mind.

I went to him, his home. Came out to him.

That was Aug. 2007. He came home, met my lover, embraced him. Just a few days later. I thought that I was accepted.

But big bro is a Pentecostal pastor. If there is something that I have come to notice, it’s the fact that the ‘disinformation’ from the other side is considerable.

First he was concerned about my lack of faith. But he couldn’t back away from what I had told him. It must have weighed heavily on him. And, well, he must have sent the message after a long time in prayer. I know him.

So, what is the way forward?

I don’t know. I have been thinking about it for some time. Sent him an email the first day, acknowledging the sms. But continued thinking about it.

Today, I did think that I had the words. He has not rejected me. He is having problems, and I bet that he does love me. And reconciling me with this image of the gay brother, or homosexual brother, well. He is finding it hard.

I sent him a PFLAG link, sometime ago.

I can only hope.

Today, I wrote to him


I don’t know how to win you over.

I am what I am. I cannot be untrue to myself.

Yes, I do not believe. You will allow me to make up my mind on faith?

Yes, I am gay.

I did not make myself. I was made that way.

I cannot, and will not deny myself for that will be a falsehood that I have lived before.

I do not know how to win you over.

I just hope that you can still love me, as I am, faithless, and gay.

but still human, and your brother.”

True, it hurts. Yet, what did he say in the sms? Nothing but a wish for my wellbeing as he saw it.

My expectations were too high. I know I can be hurt, by those I love, in the name of love, because they love me.

I can but talk to him. I will talk to him. Have to. Dunno when. But have to.


Frank Mugisha Stands For What’s Right

[All this aint mine. Just Frank Mugisha!!!!!] gug

Uganda’s gay activists came out loud and proud last year. Their government and countrymen, however, would rather stick them in the closet. We recently chatted with Sexual Minorities Uganda leader Frank Mugisha to learn more about growing up gay in one of Africa’s most homophobic nations. It’s not as blakc and white as one may think.

Andrew Belonsky: Can you describe coming out to your family?

Frank Mugisha: I did not come out to my whole family. My Dad died when I was age 7, so me and my brother were raised by my mother. I did not come out and tell my mom that am gay for a long time. I did not know how she would react, because I had never heard her mention anything against or in favor of LGBTI people. She never mentioned any thing at all, even when the topic came up on TV or on radio. I went single sex boarding school and unlike other parents who warn their children about homosexual acts in school, my mother never mentioned anything about gay people.

At age 17 I came out to my younger brother, because he asked a lot of questions and some how found out that I am gay. He asked me and I told him the truth. He was age 15 then. He did not mention it again until he was 18, then he made it a big deal and thought it was funny. He made fun of me, but with humor. For instance, when we would meet a cute boy with a nice ass, he would tease me and say, “Does he turn you on?” He still does, but we are very close and he supports me a lot.

AB: How did you get involved in activism?

FM: I developed the idea of starting a gay organization after fully accepting myself as a homosexual man. The idea of starting this LGBTI organization was given momentum in 2004, when I found out that there was an organization called Icebreakers Manchester. I contacted one of its volunteers - David Armstrong - and he gave me the moral support and courage to carry on with the idea.

That’s when my mother came face to face with my sexual orientation. I told her I was gay and this is what I wanted to do. At first she did not object, nor did she support me. A few months after realizing how determined I was to carry on with activism, she tried to talk me out of it, but I said that I wanted to go on. I had only one year left to finalize my bachelor’s degree and I was free do as I please after my studies. I graduated in 2005, with Second Class Upper Honors Degree and that’s when mom stopped the hassle about my activism.

I also started to come out to my friends. I had tried earlier, but I lost almost all my friends who I had told that I was gay. By the way, most of my relatives don’t talk to my family because of me.
AB: What did you learn - as a child - about gay people? What were you taught?

FM: I was raised a Catholic. My brother and I went to all boys school until college. At home I wasn’t taught any thing good or bad in regard to gay people, but at school I was taught how bad it was to be gay and how sick and sinful it was. My class mates and school mates had all the bad names for gay people or people who were rumored to be gay. At school there was no choice: if one was rumored to be gay, he was expelled immediately. I stayed very far away from any one who was rumored to be gay or any one who made advances on me, because I did not want to be suspended or face humiliation. I wanted to be close to some one who felt like me, but, it was a sin. I thought maybe it was true: I am abnormal…

I prayed to God so many times to take it away and heal me. I made bets with God as a child I asked Him in my solitude that if He takes it away I will double the times I go to church. I asked God for a sign, a dream, a vision to take it away, but I never received any… Even now there are days when ask my self and wish there was a pill I could take to change the way I feel. However much we fight for our rights, even if we get the rights, there are some people who will never understand, there are people who will see us different and continue to hate us.

AB: How do you and your peers meet? I understand you’re living in dangerous situations, so how do you organize meetings? Where do you meet?

FM: In Uganda, the best way to meet a partner or pick a gay person is from classified ads on the internet, at parties or through friends. It is very dangerous in my country to be gay. The Law this is the most prohibitive challenge that we face in carrying out our activities. It should be noted that Section 140 of the Penal Code criminalizes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” with maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Also, Section 141 prohibits “attempts at Carnal knowledge” with maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment. Section 143, punishes acts of procurement of or attempts to procure acts of gross indecency” between men in public or private with up to 5 years imprisonment.

If couples want to live together in the same house then they have choose a very discreet place to live, or stay in gay or friendly neighborhood, or simply disguise as brothers or friends living together and never mention to any one what they do behind closed doors, other wise one can go to prison or face hate crimes.

AB: And your meetings?

FM: Our meetings are always in undisclosed places and we are very careful who we invite. We meet in safe places like our homes. Some of our meetings are gay friendly restaurants and pubs, but so far there are three such places that am aware of in Uganda. Of course, the government and security do not know these places, even when the owners are asked, they deny.

AB: Do you consider Uganda a democracy?

FM: The fact that we vote and majority rules, yes Uganda is democratic. But I don’t know. Until sexual minorities are liberated, I will never consider Uganda a democratic state. These loopholes will always leave some one questioning the democracy of a country.

AB: In your opinion, why do your countrymen continue to cling to colonial ideals of sexuality?

FM: I think people are just refusing to face the facts. They cling to old tradition colonial ideals which suit them, but when it comes to some thing that doesn’t suite them, they fight the government to amend the laws. For instance, look at the land laws in Africa that were left by colonialists - most of them have been amended, some even repelled and long forgotten. But just because we are a minority, they are suppressing us the more and still
burying us in the sand.

The other thing is, these laws are in line with religion and some how culture. But me? I think it’s ignorance. Africans are not informed. No one has given them the better version of the laws: new laws according to social, political and economic changes. They don’t even know what and why these laws were put in place. That’s is why despite of all that goes on in Uganda, we are coming out as strong campaigners to teach people in Africa their rights.

AB: Are you a religious person? Can you describe your relationship with the church?

FM: Like I said before, I am a religious person. I have tried to study the Bible and homosexuality and I find a lot of contradictions there. I find a lot of reason not to believe the Bible, but I can’t simply wake up in the morning and say, “There is no God, Bible or the Church”. No, I cant. Maybe my fear goes to religious leaders who have taught us that some people are bad evil or sinful just because of their sexual orientation. I don’t go to church as often as I used to. When I can I pray, prayer still works for me - always has. When the going gets tough, I turn to God. I don’t mind if He is there or not, but at some points I want to talk to some one, and at some points I want to believe in something, so I turn to God.

I cannot not hope

News out of Kenya is grim. At first we thought that, maybe, just maybe, the handshake between the politicians would solve things.

Well, I was mistaken. Maybe the rest of the world was too. I should have remembered that in 1985, Nairobi was the site of the Uganda Peace Talks between the then guerrilla leader Museveni, and the military junta in power in Kampala. Ugandans called those peace talks the Nairobi Peace Jokes.

Yes, maybe I should have remembered that.

Africa is bleeding. And I am hurting. I feel the pain of the Kenyan as the brother raises hand, machete, spear and arrow against brother. I feel the bewilderment as children are burnt in churches, and neighbour burns neighbour for being the wrong tribe. The bullets flying, the meaningless talk, the pain and fear and the displacement. The loss of life and property and livelihood and hope.

Africa is hurting, and I cannot help but feel the pain.

Yet I cannot give up hope. I must hope.

I cannot not hope.

I will not be wrapped in the pain of despair,

or let the desert chill of hopelessness overwhelm my soul.

I will sow hope, a seed of faith,

broadcast over all the land.

I will plant and toil, sing and cry;

I will labour and water with my tears,

But I cannot not hope.

Hope is the river that waters my heart

that sustains me through thick and thin,

that lays siege to despair and pain

knowing, despite the heaviness of night;

despite the darkness, the mud and pain;

day will come, light broach the night,

the sun will rise,

and my tears of pain will in a face of happiness turn

to tears of joy raised in a face shining with hope

beaming with happiness in the sun’s warm radiance, glorious promise.

I just cannot not hope.


Monday, January 28, 2008

The Closet

Yesterday, couldn’t go to the party. Drag queen show. Apparently it was fabulous.

Many attended, despite the chilly, rainy day. And they did have fun.

We are growing up. And I feel a sense of pride in it.

And yesterday, I met another Kuchu. One who reminded me of all the bad things of the closet. The Gay Closet in Uganda.

Young man, presentable, personable. Acknowledging his sexuality. And deathly scared about it being found out by any other person.

A painful reminder of what it used to be like for me, in the closet. Oppressed, more by the sense of a secret that I know of myself, that the world cannot tolerate, and for that matter I was in a cage made by my own mind. Till freedom tore it apart, knowledge giving me more maturity and happiness than I would have expected.

The guy was scared of us. Me and my friend. Had heard of us, from a friend of a friend. Wanted to meet us, see who these curious guys are.

So, we meet, but not in a usual ‘kuchu’ bar, because he was scared of those. And when we were feeling lazy and tired and in need of a change, I suggested the kuchu bar. He recoiled. Impossible. We, (he), could not go there.

Realised at that time that he was actually recoiling from the word kuchu!

And when one of us mentioned gay and lesbian, he almost ran away from us. ‘How could we so openly mention the G and L words, he demanded.

Why not? we asked in turn.

He turned to look around the bar. The nearest people were a couple of meters away.

Nevertheless, he went out a couple of minutes later. Thought that he had gone to the loo. We paid up, and after some time went outside, thinking he would meet us there.

He was seated at the doorway. Outside, waiting for us. Reason, we asked. We were talking too loudly of forbidden subjects.

Well, it was time to try and tease him out of his closet. Once the crack is opened, the smell of freedom will tempt him.

The closet. We do still live in the closet. I will be very happy, the day I proudly put my name on this blog. But I cannot, at least not yet.

But the closet is something that is tangible, and made more of our thoughts and imagination, than the hostile world around us.

By the end of the evening, the guy was a little relaxed, though regrettably that may not have benefited him much.

And I was very thoughtful. When I was deep in my closet, I was very fearful of being outed. Well, of now, I am not really out of it. Still cautiously peering out. But at least I have less oppression from my own very self.

Freedom is of the mind, and, curiously, we must give it to ourselves, before we demand it for ourselves and others.


Chaos in Kenya

Police face riots in west Kenya

People try to flee to safety as violence erupts in Naivasha on Sunday

There is a stand-off in Naivasha following dreadful violence

Tribal riots

Police are struggling to restore order in western Kenya, amid a recent wave of violence linked to disputed elections.

Kenya is descending into chaos.

It hurts. It hurts when I see what has been in Uganda happen in Kenya.

I posted that our ethnic groups are first, before our nations, in most of Africa. True in many cases. But it hurts.

I want to understand why people would so illogically kill each other. Why a neighbour would turn against another, why presumably logical leaders would turn against one another, because we are different.

On our anniversary, I noticed that we were a very diverse group.

Kuchus are very diverse. From every tribe in Uganda. United by the knowledge of our sexuality, and the knowledge of a shared pariah ‘hunted’ status by other Ugandans. I have been in kuchu society for a long time. I accept as a matter of fact that we are diverse, and rightly so. Yet all around me, I do realise that the differences of our different ethnicities are considerable. Me and my mate are from different parts of the country, and that helps to make our differences ‘normal’

On our anniversary, one of the guys, drunk, made allusions against my tribe. The anger was immediate, and he was shut down. That is what happens amongst kuchus. We are too few, too much persecuted, not to realise that being what we are, we cannot afford the usual divisions of politics and ethnic group.

But Uganda is a boiling cauldron of ethnic differences, and ethnic hatreds. They may be buried at the moment, yet they are just beneath the surface. They are resented by many, and they are held at bay. But they are ready to spill over at the slightest bit of provocation. In fights on the streets, in arguments, in instinctive dislikes and likes.

The Balisa problem just in the last year is a case in point. The Baliisa are traditionally pastoralists. They cannot settle in one place. They are Ugandans, but with the taint that they are related to Rwandese. So when they bought land and settled in another area, when ethnic tensions arose, they were chased out, their cattle killed, the people hurt.

In Kenya, Kikuyu against Kalenjin, Luo, leaders who see the political power within reach too tempting not to stir up ancient hatreds. The poor against the poor. The disadvantaged against other disadvantaged.

Kenya, our prayers are with you. We know you hurt. We hurt with you. Hope these convulsions do heal, and heal soon. For you, and for us. May you heel, brother, and soon.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Charisma, People of Charisma

I have followed Barack Obama's riocheting rise to prominence in world politics with a bit of awe. Must admit that there are few people just like him. Made me to start thinking of the power that some people have. The power of Charisma.

What is Charisma?

Dont know whether I can put a finger on what it is. To me, it is the power to sway others. Maybe with intellect. Albert Einstein had that, I think. Maybe with oratory- Churchill?, maybe with writing- Shakespeare, to me at least. And Wordsworth.

Or the force of personality.

Where does Obama fall?

Some are gifted with charisma, and do use it to make others their slaves. Slavery of the mind. I am thinking of the guy who led his cult to death, giving them 'Kool Aid'. And of course the Kibwetere of Kanungu in Uganda. He burnt them dead.

Martin Ssempa is definately charismatic. Yes, and it is our problem that we are up against him in Uganda. Us as in Kuchus.

It is interesting to realise the power of a charismatic person. Ssempa is a case in point.
I personally do not like the guy, so what I am going to write is highly suspect.

Ssempa is a handsome, personable man. Very well spoken, articulate, and knows his way round the field of people politics. He is a 'pentecostal' pastor, with a Church at Makerere University which he founded. He is charismatic, and here lies the danger of charisma.

Ssempa is vain, and not a good man personally. (Ahem, I am allowed my conclusions here, am I?) He does love power, and seeks it. He is not very clever. Well, I must admit that he says he has an MPH and PhD. The honorary kind, if I am not mistaken. But I might be.

Because he is charismatic, Ssempa jumps up and down on his stage and preaches to his enthralled flock about the beuties of sexual abstinence, how masturbation is a terrible sin, and how Uganda has made its name on the HIV front by following the godly family values of abstinence and being faithful. And this to twenty something zealots.

Ssempa is so illogical in his logic that many laugh at what he says. One has to laugh, but when you hear the fervour of his flock, you cannot help getting concerned. They believe in him. Simply, without thought, without criticism, without any fear.

They are willing to injure me, in the name of their god and Ssempa, yes, because one of the things that Ssempa is rabid about is my sexuality. Homosexuality.

Think I am lying? Check out these posts. One and two. That happened in November 2007, and yes, I had no doubt that Ssempa's flock had no qualms about hurting me in the name of their god.

Maybe that is my definition of charisma. The quality to sway other human beings to follow you in a certain direction.

Told you that I do not like Ssempa. He sincerely believes that he is my friend. And I believe that he believes so. He believes that the best thing for me is to die, (maybe be imprisoned, at least) all in the name of turning me away from homosexuality. Yet he is my 'best friend'. That is according to him. His very words.

But all that is charisma, yet used badly. Is there a person who used it well? Jesus of Nazareth. Churchill. Is Nelson Mandela charismatic, or is it the charisma of hype that surrounded his 27 years in prison?

There is one guy that I have no doubt was charismatic. And he was intelligent enough to use this for the good of his nation. As he saw it.
An unsung hero, to most of the world. Reviled by some, revered by others. Julius Kambarage Nyerere. First President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

I know most in the west have never heard of him. And those who did, heard that he was a 'communist' and thus 'bad'.I did have the luck to know a bit. And I must say that I was struck by his charisma.I am not a Tanzanian, and what I write about him are things which I picked up as I grew up.

Nyerere was a school teacher. He led his country of Tanganyika, to independence. And he was President for 26 years.

Yeah, you may say, typical African strongman. President for life.

But that is where you would be very wrong.

Nyerere was indeed a highly intelligent and charismatic, and human person. He had a vision of the unity of Africa. Negotiated the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar to make the Tanzania we know.The only still surviving such union in Africa, if I'm not mistaken.

His was the time of the cold war. And the turbulence of post independent Africa. The west courted him. Kenyatta of Kenya was amenable to the west. Nyerere prefered his independence. He did not like the USSR. And, in the cold war, he embraced China. Instead of USSR. He kept his country truly free. In that day of ideological wars, Nyerere liked socialism. I think it appealed to his sense of duty to the country that he led. But he did not want to embrace it as it was exported from USSR and China. He developed a political philosophy of his own. African Socialism, or Ujamaa.

Our nations post independence were nothing like they are now. Disparate ethnic groups united by a conqueror called a Colonialist, and then left on their own in 'independence'. Zaire, or the DRC has never got over the post independence convulsions, to date. In Kenya, an 'African Strong Man', took over, saw his opportunity, made himself rich and powerful and have a dynasty etc. And they were never truly united.
What is happening today in Kenya is basically a symptom of that. Kikuyu against the rest of the country. Reprehensible, but reality.

I was once in Tanzania. One thing that impressed me, then, as ever was the unity of the country. They are Tanzanians, and they know that they are. We Ugandans, are Ugandans second, but either Baganda, Basoga, Alur, Iteso, etc, etc first. Our ethinicity is something which we strongly believe in.The unity of Tanzania, I have no doubt, was Nyerere's doing. His long reign. Oh yes, it was a reign. His ideas, his promotion of one language of unity. Swahili. And his charisma.

Multipartyism came to Tanzania in the late 80s, if my history is not wrong, and people found that they could talk about what they liked and what they did not like, openly. And they did.

At that time, Nyerere had stepped down. Voluntarily.

He allowed (true to agreement) the President of Zanzibar to become President of Tanzania. An imbecile, (I am allowed a personal assesment, aint I), if there was one. But Nyerere was the power behind the throne.

The country started to move towards multipartism. Slowly, hesistantly. And of course the powers that were felt threatened. They decided to renege on that promise.

Mzee Mwalimu Nyerere, revered Father of the nation (Baba wa Taifa) called a press conference. And at that press conference declared that multi partyism was the way to go. And that was it. When I heard that I was cynical. He had ruled without allowing dissent, but now was forcing his succesor to have an opposition? I thought it hypocritical.

But he was not yet finished.

The ruling party had to choose another man to lead. The imbecile (my pen just slips), was term barred. And of course there was jockeying for positions. Who would be the next man?Nyerere looked through the list of the likely candidates, and was not impressed. He declared all of them unfit.

The country waited for Nyerere to play king maker.

Interestingly, the current president was younger but very popular. Nyerere rejected him. Too young, his words, I believe. So, he chose an unknown political entity, Benjamin Mkapa, and proceded to campaign for him across the country, and win him his presidency.
And, personally, I believe that this time the old man saw true. He chose a good man.

I once did hear Nyerere speak, in Swahili. I was amazed.

I did not know Swahili, and Nyerere was not president at that time. I was in a place that was a hotbed of dissent. Cross my heart and hope to die, I listened as this elderly, revered gentleman talked on the radio for over an hour. I understood nothing of the language. Tanzanian Swahili is very, very good. And too hard for me.

What I did understand was the rapt attention of almost everyone where I was. They were not forced to turn on their radios. Indeed, they would revile and joke about the sitting president's escapades and switch off the radios when he was talking. But when Nyerere decided to talk non stop for a full hour plus, on radios which the populace could switch off if they so wanted; they broadcast it, to their neighbours and friends who did not have one. They listened, and listened in the heat of Dar-es-Salaam. Those doing work did their work quietly, listening to that charismatic man.

I must admit I was deeply critical of the man at that time. Well, in keeping with the environment I was in. But, despite my lack of comprehension of the language, I noticed the thrall into which it seemed everyone was. A magic spell that settled on all the listeners.Baba wa Taifa, the Father of the nation was speaking. And literally, the whole nation stopped to listen. And they did listen.

Nyerere is now dead. Still as revered as he was. In keeping with his frugal style, he never amassed the wealth that his neigbours did. When he decided that the 'socialist' way was not the way for his country, he relinquished the reins, into the hands of an (imbecile) but still oversaw, for 8 long years. And during that time, he personally steered the country towards a market economy, and multi partyism, and a democracy, the African way. Using the huge prestige of his charisma and the awe of the populace.

Yeah, I was impressed by the man.

Incidentally, besides writing his own philosophy of leadership in Africa, I hear he translated the full works of Shakespeare into Swahili. Truly a man of many parts.

(I must confess when I heard about the translation I was deeply prejudiced. I was younger, and demonstrably more stupid than I am at the moment.)

Anyway, going back to the subject of charisma, Is Barak Obama in the mold of a Nyerere?If he is, with all his idealism and talk of hope and charisma, well, maybe the US will have a president they will respect, and indeed hold in the awe of JFK. If he becomes president.

If he is indeed as charismatic as that, I do not envy Hillary Clinton's bid to beat him. Even if he is still the underdog.


A Kennedy, and Barack Obama

I have just read this piece about Barack Obama by Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Jokes aside, I am fascinated by whatever is happening in America. I have no doubt that Obama is that rare individual, an inspiring and charismatic leader who can lead, really lead a nation, and a world. And he is for 'real', Ugandan lingo for, shall we say 'believably genuine'.

Yet politics is a rough game. Will he survive it? Will be interesting to note.

And, of course we have had those people that were transformed by leadership. Sankara of Burkina Faso was killed. Murdered. Melas Zenawi of Ethiopia? An ogre was underneath the surface. Museveni of Uganda? What a betrayal of promise.

This is real life. I am going to watch this thing with deepening interest, it seems.


It is a Beautiful Day

What makes a day beautiful?

I don’t know. But it is something that comes from the inside of me, that sees what I see as beautiful.

Woke up late. Saturday night, but we did not stay up too late. This morning, could not leave bed, because my lover was wrapped up around me, and it was warm in bed, and there was a drizzle of rain outside.

No longer the morning now. Afternoon. But it is still drizzly. The sun is not seen, a blue grey curtain of cloud covers the heavens. And only the bright light makes it through. And it is cold.

No, not snow cold. Just a tingly, refreshing, invigorating cold which makes me look out of and say, oh, what a beautiful day. I will not mind the water and the rain, the mud and the lack of sun. It is bright, without the sun being out. A day, and a time that one can feel oneself dancing in the mind.

Maybe it is what is in my mind that makes the day beautiful. My perception of it.

That would mean that I can find beauty where others would not. If I see beauty, I can see it even when others would not, and would still love what I see.

Poetry. It is a lasting fascination with me. Cant say what it is doing to me. Good things, but great good things. When I hold my lover in my hands, I feel that the words which I cannot say can now be written. They will flow off the finger tips, though my toungue is heavy and stuttering. Great thing that my lover can read my face and my touch and my hugs. Funny that he is not so much into reading as I am. Sometimes I want to shake him and tell him, read my blog, it will tell you how much I love you. But maybe he understands. Maybe. A little.

There is a kuchu function. One of groups here is holding a drag show. You know, real, live drag. Should be interesting.

Of a sudden, there is a blossom of confidence within the kuchu community. People are getting proud of what they are. They understand what they are. And they are affirming it. Last Sunday, we were told that a Transgender support group had been formed. There are a considerable number of transgenders amongst us. Yet, before, they were not identifying. Now, they are, and we are taking it in stride. Of course Victor being a transgender has a lot to do with it! Plucky woman, or, er, man. We are still developing our identities, but for me, being in the middle of it, it is fascinating. Wish I could pull myself away and look, without participating.

Kuchus, all of us gay Ugandans, we are no longer the self effacing, down trodden, invisible, pride-less individuals that we were. Now people are out. Out and about.

It makes me happy. It makes me feel that something is happening. Now I can say that I understand the meaning of Gay Pride. Because these kuchus are manifesting a pride in what they are which is a huge contrast to usual slinking off, tail between the legs.

Me too. The other day, one of my workmates made allusions to my sexuality. Inquisitive, trying to make me say something either way. Oh, she has heard the rumours, is the one who informed me, obliquely, that my name was in the tabloid.

I was amused. I did not out myself, but I did not step back with the usual subterfuges. I am not denying what I am. No longer.

Gosh, I, and other Kuchus, we are growing up. Mature! Never thought this would ever be. But it is.

I cannot attend the drag show. Other commitments. My lover is going there. With a friend of ours.

A day of beauty indeed. A time of hope, a river of possibilities, of a sudden, in a desert of thorns.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Grey Day

The day is grey. Really grey.

I mean, the sun is not to be seen. A haze has settled over the valleys of Kampala, and even the hills seem to be wrapped in it. I am downtown, looking out towards Old Kampala hill. Cant see the green of the trees. It is a dark, shadow that sits where-ever the trees should be.

Grey Kampala. But bustling all the same.

It is supposed to be a national holiday. The ruling party. Odd. The party in power does have its own National day.

But there are quite a number of vehicles on the streets. And people. And movement, and- Kampala is its usual bustly self. I came with an umbrella because it was drizzling when I left home. Noticed that most people did not have them, and rightly so. My weather sense was telling me, despite the heavy overcast, the mist, and the drizzle, that it should be a hot and bright day. Yet to see whether I can still read that right.

Grey day.

Does not reflect what is in my mind. But there is a friend who seems to be having a grey time.
Iwaya. A cyber acquaintance. Met him here, and have been visiting his blog. Following his posts.
These posts, they reveal so much and so little of us. He was working in Southern Sudan, Juba. Seems both to love and hate the place. It is a tough posting. Rough place with minimal government. And we seem to have problems, as Ugandans working in Sudan. Horror stories.
Followed his posts through a return to Uganda for holidays, an apparent break up, returning to Sudan, and then the horror of a house fire where 9 Ugandans were burnt to death. 2 of them were his friends.

He writes beautifully. Lyrical. Kind of hard sometimes to know whether the emotions expressed are his. Yet they are too intense, too heartfelt to be someone else’s. In prose and poetry, he has told a story of his life. And he is in pain.

I feel it, too. Through his writing. Hope you’ll be okay, Iwaya. My prayers for you. May the problems be solved.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Good Morning

The alarm, it rang at the usual time. I was in bed, curled up against him.

He pulled me closer, I did not resist. Felt his length warm against me. Felt content, at peace, calm.

His warm breath bathed my face, slow and sure, warm and comforting. His bed warm hands touched my skin, smooth- tingly, calm. I was a seed in warm earth, a life begun anew, this very morning.

I wanted to leave. He held me closer, tighter, skin to skin, not a word saying. I was calm, content, in his arms, holding him in my arms. My warmth was his warmth, his warmth was my warmth, and thus we slept on, through the alarm.

Later waking, he was still asleep, holding me close, closer. As close as possible.

Light was streaming, night was gone, the windows light though the curtains were closed.

I was late, but content, in his arms. Those warms arms, fragile strong with love, a heart that we share, a mind that may differ but entangled.

Now, I have left the bed, and greeted the morning. Cold it is, overcast today, grey, the sun hidden and a drizzle dusting. Those early to work hold umbrellas out, to greet the light drizzle. It is morning, and time to work.

May hope flow like a river, tendril of fire through the day. Love an anchor to hold on, peace a calm from the heart. Hold this day special, for it is special. You are alive, I am alive. I am in love, he is in love, with me.

Good morning.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

American Election; (My) African Perspective

I am following the American election year with a lot of interest. It is like a bigger than life reality show.

I bet many people are following it too. The cast is fantastic. A former first lady, wife of one of the ‘randiest’ presidents. (Sniff. Americans and sex. From reputation, our president is randier. But it never makes the papers! Bad form). Who will forget when Clinton came to visit Uganda and all people wanted to talk about whether he did or did not? Do it, you know...

The return of Clinton is pure magic.

Now, he is coming back to support the woman that he spurned for another (they kissed and made up, and lived happily till…) And he is making waves.

And the half-black man, Obama?

I know. Internationally I am treading on the edge of political correctness. Speaking as an African, I must confess that we tend to be more ‘ethnic’ minded than most. What is happening in Kenya is a case in point.

Obama is ours, because he is half black. And of course he is African. Drop the American part. And he is Kenyan, and he is Luo. Sieve through everything. Every African American is an African. To hell with political correctness.

For me, in Africa, it gives me a chance to take sides in this huge reality show. Issues? What issues?

Err, are there any other players in this real life drama? 3 is a good number, isn’t it?
And they are really making waves for our entertainment.

Will Hillary win? My sister recently told me that she supports her. Reason, she is a woman. But that woman can play dirty. She has managed to soil Obama. He was looking too clean at one time. Too charismatic for his own good. I am more confortable with someone less, err, squeaky clean.

Can Obama win? Will he win? Funny. I think at one time, long before the elections started, I was one of the people that were very definite about the chances of a black man becoming president of America. I was a very authoritative authority. Sad. All my calculations have been upset. I wont tell you what I thought.

I should have remembered. A woman trounced a football star to become president of Liberia. And Liberia is in Africa. Yes, I should have remembered that.

When will these delicious political dramas return to the continent? Here elections are run with the inevitability of the triumph of the incumbent’s party.

And what is in it for me as an African?

Dunno. Real life drama. It ends sometime late in the year. Of course it is going to give us so many talking points and idle arguments. The election of the most powerful man (or woman) on earth. I am not a part of the cast. Just a very interested part of the audience, in common with most other people, world over.

Err, I had forgotten. Bush was particularly happy to fund people like Ssempa. I remember being incessed at that. Where is that free floating anger and pain? Seemed to be a constant companion, once upon a time.

I am interested in what happens on the other side of the mighty Atlantic. Wish I was a voter… do it the Ugandan way. Not the Kenyan. It is stupid to be caught, say supercilious Ugandans. There is an unwritten law. ‘Though shalt not be caught in the wrong.’
Or stealing votes, for that matter.

Have a good evening.


Savage Africa

An overcast morning out. Little mirror to the spring of joy that is in my heart.

Why is poetry of a sudden such a lift to my heart? It has not been so long that I have taken it up. But it is like a long lost friend that I have suddenly rediscovered.


Something has been on my mind the last few days.

I read this modern day tale of savagery and cannibalism and was repelled. Deep in me I found something that could not reconcile something like this with humanity.

I ate children's hearts, ex-rebel says

By Jonathan Paye-Layleh

BBC News, Monrovia

Milton Blahyi, a former feared rebel commander in Liberia's brutal civil war, has admitted to taking part in human sacrifices as part of traditional ceremonies intended to ensure victory in battle.

Milton Blahyi fought Charles Taylor's forces in the war. He said the sacrifices "included the killing of an innocent child and plucking out the heart, which was divided into pieces for us to eat."

There had been numerous rumours of human sacrifices during the 1979-93 conflict but this is the first time anyone has admitted publicly to the practice.

Mr Blahyi, 37, is better known in Liberia as "General Butt Naked" because he went into combat with no clothes on, to scare the enemy.

He is now an Evangelist preacher, who prefers to use the name Joshua.”

Yet, to my non African friends, I have to admit that Africa is a savage continent. A lioness, or lion, whose naked strength and grace hides mean streaks, able to turn with a vengeance on her own children to devour them.

There is little milk of human kindness in the need to survive. It is a furnace of necessity that is all consuming. And man, and woman, intelligent above animals, will always seek to do all that he or she can, within the limits and constraints of that intelligence.

The nightmare of Angola, now at some peace, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and of recent Darfur, Southern Sudan and Nothern Uganda. Kenya.

Survival, of the individual, is what matters to most. Ideals and ideas are no more than useless dreams of rags of riches to a street urchin.

What am I trying to do?

To rationalise, to bring into comprehension, to my bewildered mind, deeds which I have heard of, which repel me beyond understanding. They seem to go against the very grain of my being. Yet I am what I am. An African, and a human being, and if I cannot understand my people, I cannot dare to say that I will understand anyone else.

Savage Africa. You make my blood run hot and cold.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

By the Light of the Moon

I am standing naked at ease

bathed, by the light of the full moon;

great brilliant orb of the heavens

waves of crystal clear cold light shedding

into cloudless clear blue sky.

Yeah, even the cripple would dance

on nights such as this

moon goddess a-sail in all her splendour

her sea a deep dark blue sky

studded and twinkling with stars

those the full light not whelming.

Noise of the city’s far off

muted at peace by night’s presence

all around me the moon bathes

cold brilliant warmth of moony cosset

Far and near a night flyer crosses

shadow silent reflecting the moon

one dog, another share howls

remembrance now of wilder hunting days

side by side with man in jungles here

The moon is a-sail tonight

bright and clear and sharp, full sail ahead-

the night softens the light

and calm’s settled on earth

The moon is full, the moon is full,

Oh, heaven on earth,-

the moon sails the night on full.

©GayUganda 23 Jan. 08

Straight off the press. Still warm with their press.


The Day

Sun is not going to be out today. Least, does not seem likely.

Low overcast cloud. The trees and leaves green and turgid, stirring fitfully in the cold uneven breeze.

Kampala, as I know it, is a very bustly city. People moving everywhere, goods and services on the sale at every corner of the street and in the middle of the roads. All is movement, and bustle, and noise, of car horns, cars engines and the tangy stench of exhausts.

A cold Kampala is not made much better by the lack of sun. One feels the cold, cutting, in sympathy to the usual blanket of heat teasing sweat from our glistening bodies.

But today, today, it will not be so. Today the sun is hid, and maybe unhidden only in the afternoon, if it does.

Have just done a bit of work. One of those days, when words seem to flow smooth, and life has that edge to it that makes it worth the while to sing about its oil of happiness. Reading Charlotte Bronte’s poem, ‘Life’ this morning, I am minded on how fitting it is. Life is not a dream dark. Life is a flow of river, sometimes quick, sometimes a cascade, sometimes slow and lumbering, always flowing.

And today, it flows. Though it is true that the sea is the final destination, yet I will take joy in the song of the bird, the strains of music in the air, the tang of cold on my skin, and the news of a football match on the other side of the continent.

The Kenyan convulsions have eased, a bit. Though we are still taking the aftershocks. Have heard of another world wide convulsion in the stock markets. Had never heard of something that is called ‘sub prime’ loans and things like that. I will not swear to knowing the definition, even now.

But I know that in this global village of our, that unknown thing may affect how I do the things that I do.

A day with the adrenaline coursing near the skin, yet I cannot help yawning. It is beautiful, how many times can I emphasize that without being repetitive?



A truly beautiful morning out.

I have to remember, beauty is a perception. A feeling, an interpretation of what is.

Got out of bed when the alarm went off. Was holding my love, warm in his embrace. Curled up into him.

I cant say I was fully asleep. Only in that part of dreamland where awake impressions seem to blend with the dark of sleep. He was also there, and clinging to me as much as I was clinging to him.

He asked me to stay. It was tempting. Warm bed, warm body, enveloping love that seems to flow skin to skin, one soul in the other immersed. I wanted to stay, but did not. There’s a siren call in my veins, the dawn beckons like a warm fire. That time of day, when night becomes light, and darkness slips away softly, lightly, definitely.

I held him, told him that I did love him, and told him I had to go out.

The veranda.

Dawn comes later. Darkness still is past six these days. I stared out, and started to write. Quickly, unseeing, a poem flowing from the mind to the page with only the occasional hesitancy, gap of thought for a word. I have found my voice.

Don’t know whether it is the rainy season or not. The seasons seem un-seasonal to me. But the dawn was brilliant, as promised. Yet there was this grey cloud cover revealed as the sun strengthened. Sun strength in the very first few seconds promised a day of brilliant light. But it was eclipsed, within minutes, the sun slipped under the clouds. And though light, it is the bright light of a winter day in colder climates.

Though, this being Uganda, it is much warmer.

I may have a woollen sock pulled over my head, but that is because I had it shaved yesterday. It is beautiful drizzly weather outside. Not too cold, not too warm, just cold enough to be bracing in the early morning.

I have lots to do. So do you, I believe.

I have not touched or read the news of the world, for suddenly, I find that there is so much of me wrapped in the world around me that I am content. What is happening in America or New Zealand is interesting. But suddenly, to a news guzzler like me, it is not so important as the state of the morning, and the sudden bloom of hope in my mind.

I was thinking of Africa. Mother Africa, as I think of her.

Suddenly, to me, seems as if I can see her beauty in spite of the tears of pain, hope in the face of despair.

The whole wide world is my heritage. I will not reject it. I will not reject any part of it. Rather, I will embrace its enveloping hug.

Hope. 3 months ago, I was fearful that I had lost my job, because I had tied myself to the gay cause. I hung on, literally by the skin of my teeth.

I am gay. A fact. Bitter for some people, yes. Just as the colour of my skin does signify a defect to some, as does my ancestry. Yet I am human. A guy, a member of a religion I maligned, thinking that it was persecuting me, a human being like me, stood for what he believed. He knew, knows or believes that I am gay. A homosexual. We have not discussed it, a grey area of knowledge we seem to skirt.

That knowledge has not made him reject me, though others did do so. Did not stop him from holding out a life line of hope for my job.

Now, suddenly, circumstances are changed. And I seem to be back in favour. Known, or at least believed gay, but still capable of doing the work that I have been doing all these years.

One man’s courage, and faith in another human being.

The dust is barely settled, but I may stir it up again. Soon.

I asked why do I continue in this risk taking that can injure me?

Because I am a human being. Because hope blooms eternal, a flower of love and beauty in my heart. Because I am a human being, and no lesser, and no better than many others. Because I dare to believe in myself.

Believe in yourself. What an interesting thought. Faith in what I am.

Have a wonderful day.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Day has broken.

A new day is come. A daily occurrence, yet the newness of the day is like the newness of hope for us.

The dawn was bright. Not brilliant, but bright. I left my lovers warm arms to welcome the dawn. And listen to the birds sing, and heard the twits of some bats nearby.

I listened, and my heart was glad. I wrote a few things down. And thought about many that I could not write down.

The world is a beautiful shell, everyday. It is presented to us, for us to explore. Don’t know what will be in today. Don’t know where the day will end. I may embrace tears of happiness, the everlasting sleep of death, or the heights of achievement. I do not know. All I know is that I am alive today.

The bright dawn has yielded to a stormy, cloudy sky. And it is cooler than it was. A cool breeze that seems to have the sun interrupted.

I have piles of work to do. So I enter the house, and start on it. But before all that, I take a note to appreciate the beauty of the morning here.

Good morning


Monday, January 21, 2008

So much we miss of life

So much we miss of life

troubled by every shift of the wind

yet look, see the detail

as the frond of a sail of leaf waves

green beauty in every line.

Forget else, see humanity a drop of life

unconscious in the flood,

un-minding, a child's laughing happy face

midst the squalor of slum dirt-

life is beautiful,

every rolling grain

of the sands of time.


Love is funny

Love is funny, an interesting phenomenon.

I cannot say that I know all about it. Or that I am an expert. Or that I will ever be.

When did I fall in love with him- my partner?

I do not know. I figure myself in love too quickly. We met, a blind date, and were soon in bed. Was that the moment?

I took him to my home, and we slept together the next night, again. We were together, always in the next two weeks. Long phone calls when apart, longing one for the other.

The weeks became months, and the months years. Sometimes I have felt more in love, and other times less. Yet there is little to deny it that we are in love.

Seven years.

They seem to have been very little.

Why do I love him? Maybe because he loves me.

Yesterday, we were in a bar where we are comfortable holding hands. Lots of other kuchus around us. Dark, warm kind of night. I did not feel like being frolicky, talking a lot. Just sat down and listened to the blasting music.

He came and sat near me. We were silent in the forest of music.

We held hands over the table, taking our beers.

One gal came and whispered in his ear about our naked display of affection. Lovebirds that do not seem to notice it any longer. Our nearness to one of the loudspeakers became intolerable. We moved away, to some chairs. Sat and listened to the music and miming and shouting and laughter. Holding hands under the chairs. There were lots of other people, non kuchus around. Needed to be less noticeable.

Despite the noise, the hilarity, the movement all around, I felt calm. Peaceful, just holding his hand. Warm, understood, no need to speak, or say what was in my mind. Communicating constantly through the pressure of our hands, our love, and connection.

He is gone to work, and I find myself thinking about him. About what I share with him which I do not with anyone else.

Love, love, however we define it.

I doubt I will ever be able to define that feeling of warmth and knowledge, one of another. It is there, tangible, diamonds in gold.

Indeed we do not bear rings on our fingers to tell the world of our love. But those rings are, round our hearts.


A Seminar, and Struggle

Sunday, yesterday, we had a seminar.

We as in Kuchus.

An inspiring time. We sat and talked, one to another. We debated a few things. For some reason, where kuchus meet, there is always a scent of politics. Not the ‘national’ variety, but the variously scented LGBTI politics.

I loved it.

Gone are the days when we were in the closet, and forced so to remain. Gone are the days when we were so scared of ourselves that we forced ourselves to stay hidden.

I hope the days are gone for good. They were terrible days. And it is interesting that I realise that they were terrible now, now that I feel the stirring of the breeze freedom on my soul.

Sometimes I ask myself whether it is worth it. The struggle, as some call it.

Is it worth it to risk imprisonment, challenge political powers that are in our country, challenge the view of our society, family, clan and fly in the face of convention? There are times that I feel that it is not worth the while. So I try to find something in it that will motivate me to continue.

No wealth in it. Though some seem to expect it in plenty. And we are accused of taking the bribe to betray our culture.

Reputation? That is a mirage. Here today, gone tomorrow. To me it is very unsubstantial. And as reputation seems to soar in our community, it sinks in the wider community which I have to mind.

What is in it?

Being myself. Acknowledging that what I am is worth the while. Acknowledging that I am not wrong, that I am right, and I am human and deserve to live. Looking in the face of the world and daring to say that I am alive.

I have just read of Ratzinger defence of Galileo’s trial and imprisonment, in this day and age. I am amazed at Ratzinger’s logic, but side with Galileo’s defiance. The world may be overwhelmingly against me, but I will not chain what I think is right.

Melancholic mood? This early Monday morning? Maybe.

A poem that I have just written to Orokie.

A beautiful day out-

bright sun dusting,

green leaves all round,

clean air, washed skins, breathing trees-

life’s awake and awake’s life.

Yesterday, a moon I saw

strong and bright and beautiful

today too, I will, though is less than full

bright is happiness a fruit on a tree,

Orokie, you awake?

awake, awake, you are beautiful.

No, I do not control your thoughts and surmises. Only mine!

Have a beautiful day.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Party Time 2

Does one need to be deeply contemplative to appreciate the good things in life?

I don’t think so.

Want to share with you something special. I have a jewel, a precious diamond in my hands, and I have not even thought about how beautiful it is.

Yesterday, told you that I had to stop writing to attend our party.

In honour of our anniversary. Seven years since we started being together, me and my lover.

It has been a turbulent time. Many highs, many lows, much smooth level sailing. With seven years, it seems to be something which is normal. Something that is not so remarkable.

I was not around on the actual day of our anniversary. Travelling.

My friend is the one who is into anniversaries, and special days and dates. But because of many issues (read money !!!!), we had not thought about making an occasion of it. So, the actual day passed, with an email from me, and lots of short text messages to his phone. I remember that I was jetlagged and sleepy then.

Back home, he told me that he had mentioned the anniversary to a couple of our friends. And they insisted that we must have a party. And they had come up with a few things.

So, party it was to be.

At home, in Kampala. Friday evening.

Not a big do. Just a small party, friends invited, and close ones at that. And of course only the number that can fit into the house.

We did it.

A very beautiful evening. Already told you about that. No rain, or drizzle. Umeme behaved- no power cuts. Scrubbed the house, as necessary, worried a little about how fitting everything would be. Opened the windows and waited for the guests.

They came. Of course all of them were kuchus. Men and women. ‘Gender’ balanced.

Where kuchus meet, freedom flows. Especially when alcohol does loosen the inhibitions.

It did. And people were happy. And they showed it.

A couple were too happy, very well controlled by the others. But considerable talking top of ones voice. Afraid the house is a bit in the open. Don’t know whether the neighbours understood our variety of double talk!

Came the part for speeches.

I have to admit I do not talk much in public. I declined. So did my friend.

But the audience was not to be thwarted. A speech on this auspicious occasion was demanded for.

So, I gave a great speech. 3 sentences. Left them howling with laughter, and awe.

What did I say?

Well, something on the lines of it was a blind date, and within four hours of meeting we were in bed, together. And the rest is history.

Great speech, indeed!!

But it set off the others. Questions. How did we do it? How come it was possible? What was the trick? Had we ever attended an occasion like this one?

I ducked the questions. Tossed them to my friend. He is the relationship counsellor. Seems to love it. Talks to lots of others when they are having relationship problems.

But something struck me.

This relationship of ours. It is iconic in the eyes of the kuchu community here, in Uganda. Seems as if most do know about it, and like it. In a way it is one of the most open. They like it, and want to know the chemistry to make it work.

I do not know what chemistry has made me love someone this much, this long, this consistently. Yes, I have strayed. Many times, but come back. I am sure that I do love him. A comfortable feeling of togetherness and knowledge of one another. A willingness to face the many problems that we face, together. To forgive one another when necessary. To recognise the essential that we can fight and still love each other. And that I love him. And he loves me.

I don’t know what makes it work. I know it has worked for me. Difficult, but possible. And something that fits me. I am a difficult person to live with. I know. To say that we have lived together with someone who is so different from me is amazing.

What has been most striking to me is the fact that I did not know.

I knew, but did not realise. I didn’t fully appreciate our relationship. The significance it holds for others in the community. The understanding by others that it is difficult, but that we have stuck it out. The fact that they do realise that we love one another.

And the fact that they fully and strongly supported us.

Party ended late. Past midnight.

But I was very thoughtful afterwards.

I have a beautiful jewel in my hands. And I do think I had ceased to notice it. To appreciate it as is.

Yes, my mate is beautiful. Yes, he does a lot to keep our relationship going. I am the other half of the equation.

Don’t know how to put it. Other than saying that I have a jewel in my hands that I was holding a bit too carelessly. Not appreciating the value of what I have.

Thanks, friends, for reminding me. Thanks for your support. And thanks, lover of mine, for loving me.


Party Time 1

I had promised myself not to bring out the computer. Not to put it on. But there is something so beautiful, so calm and enthralling in the evening, that I felt I needed to write down something of this.

It is Friday evening. Didn’t work today. In fact have been doing some spring cleaning.

Today is the big day.

Today we celebrate our anniversary. Seven years of living together.

It is a calm evening. Quiet.

The temperature, according to the radio, is 26C. Feels lower, but I do not mind it at all. Rain over the last couple of days has washed the air, scrubbed it clean. It is motionless, the leaves on the trees like thin green statues. I can see where a bluebottle fly has landed on a thin tendril, thread of greenery. It is so calm, the tendril bounces up and down, and settles, motionless in the air. The world is a dark, healthy, living green all around me. The soil is dark and wet and clumped together. The red dust which makes the dry season in Kampala notable is nowhere to be seen. It has been bound by the water, together, to the soil, underfoot.

My lawn is still green, the dry season has not had much hold. And of course the response to the rain is always very rapid.

It is calm. Very calm.

The sky is a pale blue, interrupted by pearly strands of cloud, here and there. A few birds cross the heights. Small, tiny from where I am. Going home, most likely. The bats are not yet out. They are huge bats. Fruit bats, I think. they signal the dusk by invading the air and crossing back and forth like so many fighter aircraft in an airborne melee. Silent, swift motion, zigzagging across the skies, miraculously missing each other in flight.

The sun.

A ball of flame sliding past the horizon. The flames are still seen. Golden, long shafts touching the green leaves turgid with water. A brilliant, golden light that has surrounded everything here.


Had a small interruption. Some of the guests are arriving. And now that I am back, the sun has gone down. Dusk, real dusk had descended.

Seems almost a pity that I will have to get into the house. Too rude to stay writing on the computer.

It is our anniversary. Seven years of being together.

Interesting, I always tease my lover that we were together in bed four hours after our first meeting. Spent that night together. No gory details for the public, please.

Now it is seven years since, and incredibly, what started as a blind date for a couple of guys deep in the closet, in homophobic Uganda, is a relationship which many envy.

I, we take it day to day.

My partner believes in monogamy, and ‘till death us do part’. I am a sceptic who is slowly getting to the point of full conversion. Faith. Together, it has been something interesting. Ups and downs, many plateaus, many challenges. And we are still together.

Now, I must absolutely go and entertain my guests. Too rude of me to stay on the computer while I do have guests.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Living with Danger

Yesterday, I read about the conviction of some guys in Cameroon because they were gay.

To tell the truth, I was not much affected. Like knowing another death has occurred from malaria. Its no longer news to me.

Yet something made me reassess my thoughts.

A friend, recently came out to himself. Joined the kuchu community consciously.

There is little joy like the sense of freedom one gets on coming out. When the closet door is open. Freedom to be oneself. Freedom not to fear what one is. Freedom to be oneself, after years of unconscious hiding and fear.

This guy was truly happy. He made me remember what it was like to come out.

When I sent him the article about the guys in Cameroon, it was a reality check to him. Yes, he was free. Felt free. But that freedom is a mirage.

It also caused me to think, again, about this life that I live. I am gay. A human being who is gay. I am reconciled to what I am, indeed, I am happy because I have accepted myself.

Yet there are people who would harm me because of what I am.

There is the 21 year old guy who was hanged in Iran because of possible sex when he was 13 years of age. There are the guys in Morocco who have been convicted of being homosexuals. There are the guys in Bauchi, Nigeria, who were arrested for ‘attending a homosexual wedding’ and the case is before the Sharia Courts. And of course there is Cameroon. All these happened in the last 6 months or so.

Yet I am so used to live with this threat to my life and liberty that it does not seem to impress me. I get this feeling that it happens to someone else. Not me. Not mine. Not in Uganda.

Thinking about this, I woke up in a cold sweat this night. Why?

Suppose Janet Museveni, or Martin Ssempa, or Nsaba Buturo, or someone like them became president of the Republic of Uganda. It is a possibility. They are all politically active, interested, members of the ruling party. It is not far fetched to think of someone like them becoming president. And to them, cleansing Uganda of people like me, homosexuals, gays, is worth the bad press the country would get.

Yes, I can be arrested. So would my lover. This veil of anonymity is thinner by the day.

To many, my admission that I am gay, a homosexual is an admission of guilt. I deserve prison, because I am gay. To them that guilt is proven. The activism is something to add onto that. Not only am I homosexual, I am an unrepentant homosexual activist.


Yeah, a big so.

This journey has been a long one. Each step by apparently logical step has been a product of years of life. I cannot be less than what I am. I am not more than what I am. I, simply, am what I am. The love that I share with my lover, I would not share with someone else. The happiness that I have, the peace being myself.

Yet, I cannot forget that there are people who do think prison, punishment and death are my rewards for being me. A sobering thought this early morning.

Yet it is necessary to remember.

I have walked the edge of danger so long that sometimes I forget that it is a balancing act.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Your love

Your love, you love me so

it frightens me-

jealous of all daring smile

or glance askance my smile to see.

I’m mortal man: who dares

such transcending love to bear?

I’m a fallible vessel, imperfect

though always good I seek.

Who am I to dare,

such love to know,

love as yours that I,

a god on earth would make?

©GayUganda 17 Jan. 08

Must admit I feel it incomplete. Somehow. Something missing. Will possibly change it at a later date?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I am back!

Yeah, back in Uganda.

This small country of mine, controversial, the epitome of Africa in its promise and the way it so consistently fails to live up to it. I do love it.

Basket-case continent? So what? It is mother Africa to me. However ugly the rest of the world will see her, I see only my momma!

Got in early yesterday. Rushed through customs. Found my lover just outside. Waiting.

I had promised him a hug on seeing him. Did give it to him. Held him tight to me, drank in his essence. Had to let go, it would have been too noticeable.

He had come with a friend of ours, who I greeted, and we set off for Kampala.

Entebbe is beautiful. It is like the door into the country, and I feel, always, when I enter, that I am home.

This country is small, relative to others. Course we do have a huge population, relative. But what I have seen of it, one can cross from one end to the other in hours, despite the roads.

A whiz through Kampala, to home. My lover besides me. I was feeling too dirty, grimed up with the days of travel. Travel and sleep, and dozing, half asleep on planes and lounges etc. That is why I do not really love travelling. The time it takes to get to the places of interest!

Cut a long story short? I had a shower, and he welcomed me home, in style.

Through the day and night since, seems we have been sleeping and making love in turns. Helps that my internet connection had lapsed, so I could not take my dose of internet as would have happened long since if I was connected!

And, during the night, it drizzled. Loved it, as I pulled closer to him. And in the morning, the drizzle strengthened to a shower, and a longer one has just washed the air again. I am home, and it is raining.

We are a people who notice the occasional things of life with an awed eye. The fact that it has rained, weeks since it last did, impressed me. Because rain is supposed to be a blessing. A guest who comes with rain is coming with blessings.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have not learnt many of these so called signs. Call it my upbringing being defective.

My lover killed a chicken in honour of my return. Must have been a cock, I don’t know! I asked him why, and he told me his husband had returned safely from a very long journey. He had to touch blood.

He asked me to go slaughter it. I demurred. I think according to whatever custom he was following, I was the one supposed to. I watched with interest as he debated internally. He knows I am not amenable to following traditions that I do not believe. And of course we are from differing cultural groups, which always makes him wonder whether I don’t because I do not know the custom, or whether I am just not interested, because I am not interested!

I had to bring him something from my travels. I was lucky. I made a hit with it. Makes me smile, knowing that I am back home, and that he was so happy with his gift. Was worth the long debate on what to bring. He says he would not mind anything, but I know he is so critical and particular, I prefer to let him choose anything. Prevents a lot of comments on the dearth of my ‘taste’.

The guy loves me. And I do love him.

It has been seven years now, since we got together. Seven.

Sounds like a dream, sometimes. In a country like Uganda, homophobic, with such a fear of gay people, to say that we have been together seven long years is something. I know of few people like us. Couples. We are very lucky. There are too many things that would push us apart. Real and imaginary ones.

Of course, we are together, but our neighbours presumably do not ‘know’. Some genuinely, others have to fain it, but well, what the hell!

We have to celebrate this anniversary. It is past, but something has to be, just to mark the passing of seven years of love and partnership.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mexico City


Yeah, that was the final destination. I have been a globe trotter for the first few days of the year. Maybe will travel more, later in the year. More than likely, I will not travel.

I have admitted to myself that I much prefer the conforts of home, and the beauty of Kampala, to the variable advantages of being outside my country. I have always been a romantic, and unrealistic, as some people insist on telling me. But i find no reason to prefer Kampala´s hot sun to the ghost of sun that I have seen in Mexico City.

Ok, it is granted. I am no expert on Mexico, and Mexico city. It is true that I have spent most of my time closeted in a conference room. And then when I was out, I was sleeping, or feeling too tired.

I did have a chance to explore the night life. It is too famous for me to lose that chance. And I was realy suprised. I was suprised by the freedom that I saw in Accra, Ghana. In Mexico City, suffice it to say that it was too hot in the bar, and I had to leave to cool myself off. The rest is left to your imagination!

Yet the land of amigos is like a huge jewel that I have not had the chance but to look at. I want to touch it, I want to explore it, I want to feel its warmth.
Alas, I am here for too short a time. In a few hours, I hope to be on a plane away from the land of Amigos. Have not even bought myself a sombrero, just to boast that I have ever been to Mexico! Hopefully, if this life is not too short, I will come back.

If it is too short? I will become a spirit and wander all around and see that which I was not able to see. Maybe I will not feel it. But I will be able to touch it and feel its warmth like a glance through my then cold fingers.

Hope the New Year has been treating you well.

I think I will blog again when I am in my beautiful Kampala. So, Ciao!