Thursday, July 06, 2006

YOUNG UGANDANS TO WATCH NO. 1

To meet Countryboyi, I had to leave behind a roomful of fine women in Africa (a girls’ hall in Makerere University) because I had stupidly agreed to the first and last interview request I’ll ever grant on the same day as I was 'benching'. This was one day when I finally suspected that the hit two birds with one stone philosophy was not going to work for me!

And I had been on a roll! (Uhm…is that I was desperately angling for a roll in the hay? Nah, I just wanted to be friends, REALLY.) Still I was sore (why am I so into double entenderes today?) to have to leave a roomful of eagerly listening, pretty girls for the company of a guy who had sent me an email that spelled my real name right requesting an interview. Moreover at Makerere University of all places! Have I told you how many issues I have with THAT University? Decades of therapy ahead.

But I had wanted to be here. Dennis’s email (that’s the Countryboyi’s real name) had piqued my curiosity. Me worthy of an interview? On a radio? All I was was a newspaper writer (I can actually write so don’t even suggest I’m a journalist!) and sometimes when the planetary alignments were right, conjurer of some fiction that made a number of people countable on my right hand believe I might some day write the great Ugandan novel. But that’s all I was: another potential. Countryboyi was trying to single me out of the field and I wanted to see for myself and confirm he was crazy.

That was not the only thing. I wanted to ascertain for sure if his name was really Muhumuza or a ruse. Anybody called Muhumuza is instantly a friend solely because Muhumuza is the name of my favorite brother (is one allowed to have one of those?) Anyway life had conspired in this Dennis’s favor. I had a delightful walking companion from City Square on Kampala road and for that company,

I mean a guy who tells you that he’s come from a place as remote as Kabale in a village called Karukara in western Uganda and has a colorful family background of being raised by a midwife step mother who used his services in the business (young Dennis got to see women give birth many times over and lugged pails of blood-socked plancentas) is someone worth meeting!

I expected Dennis to be like way too many hosts of literary shows, on radio as on TV: BOOOORING! The mere 30 minutes on Campus had re-ignited the belligerent bastard in me, the stir up a controversy out of nothing Puck. I was going to blow and take this five by four studio cell writer’s show with me! I thought. I never had to. The atheist met the believer. Dennis wins you over with his eagerness, an eagerness until I met Dennis I was sure three years of Makerere University, if you’re bright and aspiring with loads of ideas and the unfortunate passion to drive toward achieving them, was sure to snuff out. Dennis was not like that. This guy actually believed in this stuff, writing! Was this guy on something???

Then I realized something. This is how I used to be.

Dennis believed being a writer is the greatest job in the world. He was so eager to be in contact with people who write he was doing this show for free long after the necessary period his internship demanded to get that journalism degree was over. As long as you wrote, you were a writer and Dennis had no snobbish hang-ups, my horror at discovering that a Smut editor had been the person last interviewed before me was, I believe, well masked. Dennis actually found me interesting enough to go back and read stuff I had written so long ago I had even forgotten I wrote and could quote some of it from memory! The shock of that. The blushing pride. He actually believed it was an honour for me to grace his show. The tricky bastard had me purring me on his show!

I was the one who did not wish that show to end. Graciously, Dennis insisted I was the most interesting guest he had ever had on the show and, standing outside Lincoln flats the sky darkening over us after, said he was going to keep the recording of the talk. I have heard myself speak on record and I heartily don’t recommend that!

But I would get my ‘revenge.’ Putting Dennis on the other side of the microphone, well, email interview anyway. And now I can’t put up the Countryboyi interview because it’s copywrited. Oh shit!


6 comments:

Just Rich said...

There's no such thing as a writer. It's true. There's simply people whose stuff gets published and read and then everybody else who deludedly thinks their stuff is way better. I am in the way better group.
You're not allowed to have a favourite sibling. That's the rule. You can only have a favourite parent.

Lovely Amphibian said...

true about Dennis being one of the guys to watch. When IWAYA wrote about young Ugandans to watch sometime ago in Education Times, i thought Denis would feature sometime. Another 'star writer' actually raves about Denis at Monitor all the time.

undo said...

I first met Dennis at Namuwongo, he touted himself as the villager who likes writing...and I was like what is it exactly this guy wants with being called a villager...I found out a later...when he wrote out a menu of what he does in the village on Christmas...

Innocently I have never thought of Christmas in the village...but this time I gave it a thought…

CountryBoyi said...

Hey guys, u make me sound like someone, O, from mars! But i doubt am one 2 watch. True, i love writing & writers but um, well, lets see where i'll b years 2 come.

A few corrections, I spell ma name as Muhumuza not 'Muhumza.'
I carried pails of blood-socked plancentas, not polythene bags. And before i did host Iwaya, i had interviewed 'Pato' then an editor at another steamy paper [it's no more] called the 'Mirror.' Not Rugyendo.

And Iwaya, isn't he the one to watch? He's as passionate about books as writing. Was given the nod by the British Council 2 b part of the Beyond Borders festival for Contemprary African Writers that took place in Kampala some time back. He's written great short stories you can find on nicestories.com
Iwaya has a conversational touch 2 his writing that u can't help appreciate. I know 'cause i respect what he has achieved as a young writer,i interviewed him about writing,i follow his works in the papers & if he doesn't give me a job some time in future, i'll. Thanks guys!!

Iwaya said...

damn! he's an editor too! okay, the stuff corrected.

kisiki said...

Thats the country boyi!- Dennis...yeah my Boy. Men D is my inspiration...he walks writing, sleeps writing and thinks writing.

He will make it in this world of interlectuals....wait and see...Chinua Achebe of Uganda.

Good peoplez