Monday, November 24, 2008

Why Edirisa Matters

The weekend was like WOW!

I met this crazy Slovenian. No, that’s not right. You cannot say that about someone who has bought you a beer (in your drinking days) not once, not twice, but every time you have met when he was in Kampala at City Annex hotel on Dewinton road! Okay to start again.

I thought 2008 would be chiefly memorable for one thing. Getting sucked into Mark Zuckerberg’s world when I opened a Facebook account. Facebook like blogs is like a cult, a religion, discovering your favourite band, musician or movie; once you’re in, it is an addiction hard to turn away from. But there are some addictions worth having. Like Edirisa that Slovenian Miha Logar introduced me too.

I thought the name was strange. I did not like the name at first. I still have some doubts about it. But when I met the originator of the concept behind Edirisa I began to understand why he had named it so. It also helped that when I first logged onto the website there used to be a photo shot that showed a panorama seen through a huge window. Edirisa is not the most elegant of names but it is perhaps the most apt.

In my understanding, and from the several meetings I have attended with some of the people who are working patiently and hard to make this website a success, Edirisa is supposed to be a window on Uganda and eventually East Africa. As seen, felt and told by we, the Ugandans, the Kenyans, the Tanzanians, the Rwandese, and hopefully one day, all Africans.

Edirisa, like some of the more popular radio talk shows on the Luganda FMs and in memory of some of the best that used to exist on the English language ones, is supposed to be the initial stomping ground of ideas, a forum for expressing from whimsies to stand-points one is willing to defend with one’s heart’s blood because they believe in them so much. Edirisa is supposed to be a dating site of great minds, a place you go to, like some gigantic cathedral to meet people who will seduce you as much with their ideas as they way they want you and themselves to live.

This is what I love the most about Edirisa. It’s present fluidity. It’s ability to be a cathedral of ideas. To hold any and everything. I love that it can be so high handed it will take a philosophical dissertation as much as it will give equal consideration to a fashion question of Is it right for men to perm their hair? I love the fact that when I’m pompously trying to show off that I can identify the head and tail of a Henri Matisse painting in a MOMA online gallery, someone based in Kabale will get up and put me to rights that what that old man Festo Karwemera is doing is actually far more important in not merely the preservation of the culture of the Bakiga but in ensuring that he passes it on to younger people.

But I used a poor choice of words to call it a cathedral of ideas. It is more accurately a katogo of ideas. A buffet in one place like that meal comprises everything you will ever need to eat all year round in one meal. Strengthening, invigorating, exciting, maddening, a scrapbook and a polished final draft thesis. Edirisa reminds me a lot about used notebooks and a computer that has been in my possession for more than a year and I have no fear that it is going to be taken away from me: you will find everything there because it is not written by one person, one mind and if sometimes it seems like it is, it was written by a free ranging imagination unafraid of censorship or ridicule or being told that cannot be expressed out loud. So this is why Edirisa matters to me. This is why I will be writing for it regularly and inviting you too to.


nevender said...

Finally back to writing ways!!

So how does one write to Edirisa?

Eh, hmmm, I am going with these socks.

Kenyanchick said...

What does Edirisa mean? A window?

jny23ug said...

Off to Edirisa.
Sounds like a local name.

jackie said...

thanx for the link. good writing btw.

Sybella said...

yes kenyanchick, tis means window

Minty said...

I followed a link to Edirisa some time ago and found it a bit uninspiring. Today I decided to check again to see why you describe it in such hallowed terms. Well, there is definitely a new freshness about it. Good going.