Sunday, November 20, 2011

Museveni's Children

I lusted, I longed, but I could not have. 

That has been my life. For a decade and more. 

Longing. Desire. Being thwarted. For three decades or this tadoba light, it’s hard to tell, the cataracts foam time.

I’m writing all this down for the first time. 

Writing it down, I’m surprised I’m not bitter, or tired or ready to give up. 

What is it that impels me forward still? To try again. To keep trying? We've been dream carrying bigger ambitions in smaller carriers...

I cannot explain it myself. I do not find it in some fortune cookie mystery unwrapped with fingers of laughing impatience. Some haiku wisdom from centuries of human endeavour. It is not in the (Kwata) split sayings from the clan and tribe I was born in, whose sayings do not easily drop from my mouth like saliva but everything of it I’m, more and more I’m told, I’m. 

The older I have grown, the more I have become attached to my past. Not my past of three decades or so existence, but my past, the communal past of our clan and our tribe and our where did we come from. The past of so-and-so was born here, he was a great wanderer, he could not rest, so they gave  him the name such-and-such for his wandering, but he left his mark, he had four wives and 20 children, of those 20 children came our great, great grandfather. He was a wanted man all his adult years, because like a true man of our clan, he did not know what it meant to kneel before anyone, would not kneel, so that is who he was. It was no surprise that he gave birth to so-and-so who always spoke his mind, who admitted his heart ruled him before his head....

That past, I’m attached to it more and more. It makes sense and I’m not running from it anymore. This Apple MacAir fancier, Aljazeera TV messages decoder, Samsung camera phone fanatic, who has surprised himself by a late discovery, love of Elvis Presley, king of the blue-eyed boy music used to scoff stole from the proud black is beautiful struggle. I go back to the past to make sense of the future that is here now, I cradle in my arms and who’s crying pangs I lull into a staring contest then gurgle of love. The future is here and I’m becoming a part of the past, comfortable with my antique becoming. 

The past places grenades in the fallow earth of the future, so I’m wary where I tread. To live 30 plus years in Africa, eastern, Uganda; a living, creative, dedicated to a principle and dream, unwavering, staving off the compromises and well meaning corruption traps; now that is something. After these decades, these thwarting, these missed chances, in the after midnight hours starting up in your bed of panic to face new mornings yet to come, still focused, dreaming and working. That is astonishing. Even to me. Unbroken by the contradictions and paradoxes we live in and live with everyday, real dreams in unreal situations, never giving up, not even thinking of it. 

I salute you my generation. My age-mates. Parent-becoming while still confused about whether childhood is really over and what is this world without permanent rules you are coming into, where every dream seller almost always turns out to be the rapist of your nightmares. I salute you, conscious-becoming of your heritage, throw-back referencing in the YouTube videos of your lives.

 We are who we are. Learning to accept this.