Uganda’s latest viral video hit features one Veronica O’cough (from her pronunciation it is not clear what the actual name is, or how it is written) who woke up one morning with the kind of mangled, twisted, mongrelized gibberish that Ugandans from the dark ages used to think was an American accent.
You know the one where you just spray random Rs into your paragraphs with as much care as that shown by a marabou stork’s cloaca, which allows its effusions to land on whichever unfortunate head, car or street happens to be below. Then the stork looks down at the mess and thinks it has whitewashed Kampala.
Hard vowels would smear themselves into soft vowels and soft vowels would constipate into confusion. Radio presenters would wreng about Owsheer Rrermound and Joy-Zeer, Sillirng Doyorrn and Dustineer’s Chilled.
That was the accent they used on TV and radio in the ‘90 and 2000s.
Thank goodness for the improvement in education standards that brought international schools into Kampala. We are now able to hire presenters with competent axa without having to import Rs.
Anyway, Veronica Okay was on a viral social media clip to tell us that she woke up one morning with what sounds very much exactly like a badly-faked American wannabe accent.
She tells us it was a punishment from God.
A few people have offered their diagnosis on social media, saying it is Foreign Accent Syndrome, a rare dysfunction of the brain’s speech centres.
If this is the case, we hope she gets treatment and counselling and gets better soon.
There is another dysfunction called Tourette’s Syndrome. This is when one has the impulse to shout things that are socially unacceptable, like obscenities and curse words.
A woman named Veronique O’keefe, from a small town just outside Dayton, Ohio in the US suffers from Tourette’s. She’s a sweet middle-aged white lady who has an uncontrollable urge to shout out racist slurs– especially those typically used against black people.
Some examples of what you will hear from Ms O’Keefe include these words:
Sambo, coon, jiggaboo, darkie, kaffir and, of course, nigger.
For Ugandans who tend not to receive the full brunt of black racism, and therefore may not know all of these epithets, enjoy the education I just gave you.
So,do you know what Ms O’keefe does in her condition?
She avoids TV stations.
Yes, I equate speaking with a fake American accent on TV with blurting out racist slurs in public. That behaviour is offensive; deeply and intensely insulting, because it implies that talking “white” is good and talking “African” is somehow inferior.
It perpetuates the colonialist mind washing ideal that “African” was savage and barbarian, intellectually and culturally lower than the imperial ways of doing things, that unless we leave our negro behaviour behind us and learn to be more like our white masters we do not deserve to be treated with the same respect and honour as those who clarify the difference between “cat” and “cart”.
It sneers at Lawino and calls us to emulate Clementine for our own good.
If you don’t know who Lawino and Clementine are, stop listening to Taylor Swift for a second and go talk to your grandparents.
I am going to stop short of saying that Vronrkkrr Acwww deliberately means to cast African speech as vulgar and dirty as the colonialists did. If the Lord did curse her with a colonised tongue, we can only hope that He delivers mercy soon.