By Ernest Bazanye
Fifty five years.
Fifty five years ago there was no Uganda.
One flag went down another flag went up and now look.
Fifty five years later.
I’m proud of us. I can say I am proud of our history.
I mean, I know we have had a bogus history. It’s been shit. These fifty five years have been…
War, pestilence, tyranny
Put together, over half of our history has been wasted to civil war.
Then we had the aids epidemic that wrecked us
Then dictatorships after dictatorship
World championship corruption.
Why should Uganda be proud? Why not ashamed?
We are still here.
We’ve been through everything. It’s all been thrown at us.
The boot of tyranny. Men with guns chased out parents through the streets. They hid in ditches and while the gunshots cursed above them they prayed in silence.
Our economy, our livelihoods were shredded and turned to waste; what we sweated to earn became worth nothing.
AIDS was merciless. Our families were poisoned, our loved ones faded away from right before our eyes, they shrunk and faded away, faded away.
Thieves stole from us; first they stole our hopes with their false promises then then they came and took everything else. Took what we had and made it theirs. And then came back to take more. And came, back and took. More. And came back.
We saw the tragedies of the past circle back and return and we winced at this pain. Until it was so familiar we wore it like skin.
All this in less than the space of a single lifetime.
Why am I proud?
Because we are still here.
Because even after all this we are still here. Still making incredible music, still cooking amazing food, still falling in love and giving our hearts to one another, still holding our children close, still melting inn the hugs of our mothers, still here.
We are still speaking our languages, still dancing, still watching the sun rise on Uganda and seeing a Ugandan sun, still watching the stars spin above us like Ugandan stars; we are still here.
None of that could move us away.
True Ugandans, the Ugandans to whom it means something to be Ugandan, Ugandans who love Uganda and live their lives to make Uganda’s today better than Ugaanda’s yesterday, true Ugandans, we are still here.
We have never been broken. We have stood. We have remained. Through it all we are still here.
And we will prevail. We will make this nation as great as beautiful as prosperous as free as the one we see in our dreams.
We have taken fifty five years of these blows but we are too proud to fall. We stay standing. We are still here.
And still proud. Too proud to give up. Too proud for despair. Too proud to walk away and too proud not to believe that as long as we are here we have a future that will be worth our faith and our sacrifice and our struggle and yes, our pride.
Photo : Flickr