Just the other week, we read an article about a phone assembly plant situated here in Uganda. A number of months earlier we read an article about a plant that builds cars in Uganda.
But in between the two articles, a certain man, shaggy hair, scruffy beard, bleary, glazed eyes –general demeanor of a goat that has been rained on– had this to say: “Uganda? We can’t even manufacture toothpicks.”
Which leads us back to the topic of manufacturing in uganda.
First of all, we manufacture plenty of toothpicks so lekelawo okusinika ebinnyo (or stop snickering your teeth and pick them, preferably with a Ugandan-made toothpick). But even if we didn’t, even if you don’t count the phones or the cars, Uganda makes a lot of things.
My spectacles, all five pairs, because the price made me so patriotic that I kept buying every new design they put out, were made by a Ugandan designer out of recycled plastic. I am looking at Uganda through Ugandan eyes. All four of them.
While I walk on Ugandan-made shoes, carry a Ugandan-made bag, and if I am in the mood to impress you, I am wearing a Ugandan-tailored suit, too. Looking like such a delicious home-grown snack that you should call me a budaddy.
And that is just small-scale stuff which is manufactured in garages by compatriots who preferred to be industrious instead of joining some dull, unproductinve activity like, I don’t know, whatever goatmen do while they are standing beside Ugandan-made roads, outside Ugandan-made buildings sneering about an imagined lack of Ugandan-made toothpicks while waiting for a taxi to take them away.
Incidentally, every taxi is not only full of Ugandan-made upholstery but given the number and frequency of repairs each one has to undergo, it is safe to hazzard that there are over 50 percent Uganda-made components in the chassis, under the bonnet, turning the wheels. Are you going to import a sub-capacitor or a pump defibrilator or whatever from Japan when Kisekka market knows full well that melanin doesn’t impede the bending of wires and the welding of metal?
But the question is not what we manufacture, I say, it is “Why do the goats think they should say we don’t make things?”
Because of mental revitiligo. Uncle Ruckus, No relation.
One feels the need for a sense of value, for a feeling of worth. One wants to count in this world of ours.
One sees all the flashy, glamorous acoutrements of the peoples one considers valuable. Benzes, Iphones, helicopters and movies starring thin white women who kick battalions so gracefully all over rooms then steal their diamonds and one thinks, “That is what makes one valuable. Being a part of that.”
But one is an African. An African Ugandan. And all around one, there is no Benz, no iphone, no helicopter, except those bought from the white man (actually the Far Eastern man, because iPhones are made in Malaysia, Benzes are made in Brazil and go to Mumbai and ask the head of Tata Motors where he or she makes Jaguars and Land Rovers. But let me not digress from my point) so one cannot derive that coveted sense of value from being Ugandan– because one sees no glamorous luxury brands here.
So one instead picks another Western invention and adopts that instead– something easily manufactured, assembled and distributed right from ones goat-face: racism against Africa.
Just sneer at black negros, deride black Africans, scorn black Ugandans and call them useless, backward and inferior. That produces a feeling of sharing a place with the white world one so admires, a sense of being, not among the losers, but one with the winners; much like being a Man U fan feels like a winner even without being on the actual team. Just snicker your teeth and say Africans can’t manufacture benzes or iphones. If that isn’t enough, go further and let your goat obblongata imagine that they can’t manufacture toothpicks.
This is not just so fully deserving of the darkness at the bottom of the heap of a full latrine because we actually do manufacture things– didn’t you drive past sofas and beds on your way to the office? — but because of the presumption that manufacturing is an indicator of national value– specifically that manufacturing fancy things with self-aggrandised brand names is.
So what? The Nazis are the modern era’s benchmark of national evil and they manufactured all sorts of machines.
The value of a community, a nation, isn’t in how many cars it makes or phones it assembles, or flyovers it builds or airlines it buys. It’s in the people. What the people do, among themselves, and towards others.
I am running out of time, space and patience with this. As you can see, I am quite annoyed. But I have made my point: which is, shut up, goats. Uganda makes Uganda. We manufacture an awesome people. That’s more than enough to be proud of.