Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Ugandan alter-ego

Ever since I went to Uganda for the first time, I have been imagining what my Ugandan alter-ego would be like. You might already know about my Nigerian alter-ego, Ayooluwaato Eze. No one has really told me I look like a Ugandan but given the similarities between Ghanaians and Ugandans, I could really pass for one. But then again, all Africans aren't the same so let me introduce you to Richard Nshuti Mayanja.

My father is from the famous Buganda kingdom. We speak Luganda and we are part of the proud Mayanja family. Yes, the same one the famous Ugandan musician Chameleon aka Joseph Mayanja is from. The name 'Mayanja' is as Ugandan as you can get. Unless you have a name that starts with two s's like Sserugo. My middle name is Nshuti because my mother is from Rwanda. Uganda and Rwanda have some really good relations as there are Kinyarwandas living in Uganda.

Now why am I called Richard? Because there are 256 Richards in Kampala alone. I must have met 10 of them while in Kampala. I think I only met 4 Ugandans who didn't have English/Christian first names. That was pretty crazy to me. Then again, Richard signifies riches. You know my friend Chameleon has renamed himself Chamillion or Cha100000? Million, mulitple zeros, riches. Mayanjas don't play and my family blessed me with a rich name like Richard so I could take care of my huge family in the future. Uganda is a very religious and conservative country. Hence, the Richard. If you visited Uganda and moved around a bit, you'll see how much Christianity is part of the Ugandan lifestyle.

I can't speak Luganda that well because my father is a diplomat and I didn't stay in Uganda too long to learn the language. My father is well travelled as per his job and he married a Rwandan too. My Kinyarwanda command is very bad as well but I can say a lot of words in Zulu, Shona, Hausa and I could make you think I was Tanzanian by my Swahili. We spent a lot of time in Kenya like most Ugandans because of the Last King of Scotland, Idi Amin. If all you know about Uganda is Idi Amin, you can stop reading here. Shame on you! So I grew up a bit in Kenya, but don't get it twisted, Uganda is the pearl of Africa and we carry East Africa. We are older than Kenya too.

Now, you must also know that the World Health Organization claims that Ugandans outdrink all other nations. 19.47 liters per year for per capita consumption in liters of pure alcohol. Like Juliana sang, "I am Ugandan", I am really Ugandan. Richard Mayanja loves to drink but he is not drunkard, he's in complete control of his alcohol consumption. I have been away from Uganda too long so I cannot even compete with the Mbabazis, Okellos and Sserugos who live there. But you see, us Ugandans, we channel our beer drinking skills into merrymaking and partying. If you visited Kampala, you would realize we can party with the best of them. Especially in Kabalagala, which our visitors leave without forgetting. Our party nature is reflected in our music, dancehall music reigns. Unlike Kenyans, we don't drink and then sit down, we drink and then dance. "Kyaba too much like that".

Like most Ugandans, I don't play with Matooke or my Kachumbari. I love to eat. For breakfast, I like to have watermelon, pineapple, and orange melon. You guessed right, these colours go well with the Ugandan flag. Matooke is made from plantain and we don't joke with our plantains. As such plantain chips are very popular with us too. When the whole world was infatuated with Barack Obama, we named some chapati after him. We made two worldwide phenonemons - chapati and Barack Obama - our own. Check out "Obama Chapati" Take-away. I am also a huge carnivore. I cannot eat a meal without some kind of meat. Like our elders say, "when the meat is gone, the meal is finished, eating is allowed to stop".

Kampala is built on 7 hills and the landscape is breathtaking. We have nice safaris and parks and all but our people are the best reason to tour Uganda. Ugandans are very friendly and happy people. It's not just a place to visit, it's a place to settle. That's why we are the best people to party with. If you are a social animal like me, you need to make it down to Kampala. And this maps onto the rest of Uganda. You must really visit Uganda because you haven't met a real Richard until you've been there.

So next time you meet Richard Nshuti Mayanja, that will be me. And I'm not on Facebook. I normally check some other guy's facebook to stalk all the pretty Ugandan girls from time to time. Ugandan girls are well endowed. Don't let what you saw in that Jangu music video fool you. You can catch always me here on this blog. Because kyaba too much. Richard Nshuti Mayanja says "I am Ugandan".
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