Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

This morning, I woke up reflecting on the rich proverbs and riddles in my mother language- Runyankole that I used to  hear and learn when I was a little girl between five to ten years of age.  When I reached office, I opened my computer and started typing a few proverbs and riddles I know from my head. As  little  girl, I used to like  reading  Runyankole Children  books like Alifu, Rutaro na Kengoro among others.  I remember, one day, while in  Primary One, at Runengo Primary School, our class teacher  Mrs Busingye, wrote on black board a Runyankole word for us to read and as you might  know  in the lower classes especially from Primary One up to Primary Three, pupils have a tendency of raising  their hands irrespective of whether they know the right answer or not.  (sometimes with great energy and enthusiasm)  for the teacher to see  and pick on them.

We all raised our hands to read the word several times, but we failed.  Mrs Busingye gave us enough time of about fifteen to twenty minutes to reflect and re-read the word. When we were almost giving up,  I raised my hand  again like any other pupil  and read the word  correctly. I cannot remember it very well but it was something like Omugurusi which means an old man. Momentarily, noisy class went into  loud silence and  I took the show for that day and from then, I became the Celebrity of the Class. This is to show you how early, I learnt how to read and write Runyankole and my passion for it.

Another incident was when I was in Primary Two and it was during the examination period. It was a practice that during examination period, primary one and two pupils stay at school the whole day unlike during normal school time when they leave school at 1:00pm. It was after lunch and I was busy playing with my class mate and someone called me out and said that the teacher wanted to see. At first, I was scared and asked myself, what have I done?  Then I went and reached their, I found my class teacher and few other teachers and female student who was in Primary four.  Her name was Nora. She was a big girl with big breasts and I think she was around fourteen and fifteen years. Then they gave me a text in A Runyankole children’s book to read and I confidently and eloquently read it and after I heard my class teacher saying. I didn’t I tell you and I left. Little did I know that the girl could not read that text and my class teacher told her fellow teachers that she has a student in Primary two who can read that text. It is now that I reflect on that incident and imagine how humiliating it was for the big, primary four girl who could not read what a primary two pupil can read.  I guest, the teachers must have insulted her and I feel bad about it. My parents were always proud of me and they used to give verses in Runyankore bible to read which eloquently read.

Today,my ever ending curiosity and desire to learn  new things  including  Runyankole proverbs and riddles led me to a google search about Runyankole proverbs and guess what I found  a Facebook page called Enfumu Zaitu.

The climax of it was opening the Enfumu Zaitu page and I find a post explaining a misconcept about my clan that has been bothering me since my childhood. I must say reading it was very exciting   and heartwarming. I felt a thigh of relief and gained my self-confidence as  a daughter of Abasingo because as I young girl, I used to hear people say  that the whenever a Omugabe- the Ankole  King wanted to spit, he would spit in a someone’s mouth and that person  was from the Basingo clan. So, I used to feel bad about it  to the extent of hating my clan and I  could not imagine a King  spitting his sputum in my great great great grandfather.  

So the discovery of this explanation has overturned tables in my life and this is how it is explained on Enfumu Zaitu Pafacebook Page

 In actual sense, Okucwerana omu kanwa n’okugamba ebirikushushana. (Spiting in someone’s mouth) was a ritual that symbolized the special relationship between Omugabe and the Basingo clan. Basingo were historically confidants and messengers of Omugabe. That is why they are called “Abashongore”, i.e. they were sharp, reliable and straight forward. Whenever a musingo messenger delivered omugabe’s message or directive, he would say “omugabe yaancweera omu kanwa” (Omugabe has spat in my mouth) meaning that the message was transmitted in full without distortion or deviation. At the time when messages were delivered by word of mouth, “spitting in the mouth” was simply a way of saying that Omugabe’s message was accurately conveyed to the intended recipient. Unfortunately, this figurative meaning was later on distorted to achieve political ends and has been unquestioningly swallowed by the younger generation

And truelly, I agree with the above explanation. Abasingo, we are very Sharp,Reliable and Straight. My father is exactly like this. For him, he will tell you the truth and will not hide anything from you. He is a very successful businessman and a Farmer who never saw the inside of the classroom.

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In July 2014, I attended a training on creative writing. As you all know writing is a daunting task and it involves serious thinking, reflection, putting down on word, sentence or phrase and you pause a bit, then write again and the process goes on and on. This training inspired me to write this short story which actually was part of the assignments during the training. I swear, if I had not attended this training, it story would never find itself on this blog.


IramDeep in my sleep, I was, and my mother sneaked away leaving me behind at my Grandmother’s home deep in the village. On waking up I was told that my mother has gone to the shops and she is coming back. I waited for her to come back but all in vain until it was dark. It is from then, that I started to sense something and I started crying, refused to eat and sleep. Shut it up! Your mother is not here! my grandmother shouted at me. She scared hell out of me and I momentarily stopped crying and sleep carried me to the dreamland. My grandmother is a no nonsense woman, even up to now she is a tough women.

While at my grandmothers’ home, two major incidences happened that I remember vividly. The first one was when my grandmother she decided to take me to a nearby by Nursery school at a local church. This was my first day at school and the classes were conducted in the church and it was an open hall. I remember, it was a windy morning and you could hear the sweet sound wind blowing through the trees.

It so happened that very morning, the children had to go out in the field for physical education. ‘Children, remove your clothes, it is time for physical education’ the teacher said. All the children started removing their clothes and running outside in the field. Poor me, I did not know that we only removed dresses and remained with pants. I removed all the clothes including my pant and happily I ran outside to join other children in the field. As soon as I got out of the classroom, all the children started staring at me and I did not know what was wrong with me. Ooh, I was still very young and still in shock of the new environment- remember this was not home and the environment was completely different from the one I knew. I was still lost.

On seeing me completely naked, the teacher quickly run towards me and told me to go back and put on my pants. I went back in the classroom and picked my pants and put them and joined the rest of the children.

The second incidence was during Christmas time; my mother brought for me a very beautiful pink dress with beads allover and white shoes. I remember dressed in a pink dress with a web of nets and beads and my white shoes that were whiter than milk, I looked like a princess. All the children at the church surrounded me and started touching my dress. I felt so uneasy but at the same time felt elevated because I was completely different from all of them. Inside within me, I did not want the church service to end because I knew when we go back home, I will be told to remove the dress which I didn’t want to do. Finally, the church service ended and we went back home and I had remove my lovely dress which I did not want to do.

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My Name

My Name

My Name

A name, many people say, is a map or a signpost – in Uganda, a name tells people your ethnic group or the clan. In some communities, a name tells people the family you come from, the position you occupy in the birth hierarchy (that is to say, if he or she is first- or middle- or last-born) or the circumstances surrounding your birth. In English my name means gift or given. In my mother tongue it means too many letters-Kyogabirwe. It was given to me by my father telling God that you have given me a girl when I already have many girls. This is a given, I cannot change it.

As a young girl, I was proud of my name but as I grew up I begun to hate it- just because of how it sounded. To make it worse, when it is shortened Kyoga, it becomes a name of a lake in Northern Uganda-Lake Kyoga. While in secondary school, I used to admire other students names because they sounded good and had better meaning. As an adult, I have come to appreciate my name as a gift from God and I am proud of it.

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