Vulgarity Vs Violence In Uganda!

By Abbey Semuwemba

I am a bit of Stella Nyanzi fan, so it will be a bit biased to say this but I will,because, not even the horrible Computer Use Act will stop me. I feel that in the light of her imprisonment,we should try to understand the metaphorical nature of her postings. Messages like hers which are subtle yet vulgar-beautiful, graspable yet undefinable - like nature herself - will undergo a great revival, if it hasn't started yet. I feel that the people centred on her usage of certain words they don't approve of, are lost in translation, and ,therefore, want her to write like the way the rest of us write.

They are suffering from MASS CULTURE which is a form of making everything the same, making everybody "do the same thing" (whether they like it or not). For example, the modern way of mass education forces everyone to go through the same classes and learn the same things.This in no way helps the individual who may have a higher capacity for life. On a political front,It's called censorship, Stella's case is objectively about online censorship by the government. They want to control how they are criticized.

Secondary, the anti-Stella people have written enough to demonstrate that they don't understand the purpose of satire.The best definition, from the 18th century, is that it "exposes to laughter the vices and follies of mankind". Satire makes fun of the powerful; at its best it acts as a sort of accountability check, at its worst, it brings them down to size. That's why the best satire is aimed at politicians, monarchy, etc, or at celebs or civvies who 'bring it on', and the least successful is aimed at belittling ordinary people or the dispossessed. President Museveni and his wife are politicians, and therefore a legitimate target in a country where power is centered almost in one man.

Yes, there is usually an implied serious moral or artistic standard by which the object of the satire is held to account. But I feel the vulgar definition, to which Ms.Nyanzi appear to adhere, is meant to attract people to the serious points hidden in her messages. Nobody in the government should expect critics to be nicer.If one analyses her messages, Stella seems a bit more focused and more informed about exactly what it is she's criticizing. She's not like attacking Museveni's tribe(as some people carelessly do), she is attacking Museveni, the president of Uganda.There is a difference between criticizing a 'choice' e.g presidency and criticizing something inherent e.g being Kabakaship, Muganda (or Munyankole). Organised write-in campaigns against governments are notorious - I've participated in a good few myself, through mainly the Ugandans At Heart Forum.

Uganda as it is now needs real soldiers-in-writing and Ms.Nyanzi seems to have upped the game.We shouldn't need to wait for the infection to fester before the real pus comes to the surface. We're 'officially' a military state and nobody had the courage to write an opera called "Buttocks and the Buttocks" till when the allegedly 'mad' lady(according to the state) now in Luziira prison showed up from nowhere.

On my last trip to Uganda a few years back I was amazed to see how so much violence was depicted in our television programming. It's all guns,teargas,land grabbing, acid attacks, fires in schools, killing Muslim clerics, murders, e.t.c. It seems that showing brutal murders, eyes gouged out, limbs chopped off, sadistic torture, rape, etc., is less bad than if one of the victims yells 'kabina'(bum) as such acts are being committed.In Uganda, people find it easy to slap,or clip anyone.

If there should be any compromise I would propose it be this:Let's scale way, way back on the gratuitous violence on television and Facebook posts, and, in exchange, let's not throw a fit about vulgarity(popularity) and/or sensuality.It is clearly not a big deal in Europe, and I would offer that it does far less harm to children (if it does any at all) than depictions of violence. Naturally, I don't think this would fly at all with complaint-factories like: the Uganda Communications Compromise(UCC) under Mutabazi, Father Lokodo, etc., whose real battle is against sex, and to whom any depiction of the human body is scandalous.

That said, I'm far more opposed to exposure to violence than vulgarity, yet it's much easier for a child to be casually/accidentally exposed to violence in our culture.--

*Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba*
Stalk my blog at:
"My journey is long and my preparation is so little, and weakness has gripped me and death is chasing me!"

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