As the local tourism bug bites, the culture of “Tulambule” has brought to my attention not just to Uganda’s beauty, but Uganda’s silent but growing problem that must be addressed.
You have probably seen pictures on social media with the hashtags, #Tulambule, #VisitUganda, but as more and more Ugandans fall in with the balambuzi, pictures have gone from just scenic breathtaking views of the country to pictures of several travel groups each with a bottle of alcohol, “living the life.”
And for good reason perhaps, alcohol is just the cherry topping on the cake for travellers, but perhaps because of social acceptance of alcohol use in our community, we have failed to look at the bigger picture but instead accepted those seeking cheap endorsements and recognition from alcohol companies.
A popular Facebook group on touring Uganda for example has gone from simple travel excitement, to sexualised content, those “searching” and endorsing a culture of alcoholism and drunkenness.
Don’t get me wrong, alcohol use is accepted in many cultural, religious and social practices and perhaps provides pleasure to many users.
But the prevalence of alcohol consumption in Uganda has been on a steady high with no difference in consumption between men and women especially in the Tulambule culture.
Given substantial effects of alcohol on the health and well being of individuals, it is justifiable to worry, because Uganda has one of the highest annual consumption rates of alcohol in the world.
Due to excitement and impaired judgement, heavy drinkers often get involved in risky behaviour under the influence of alcohol including irresponsible sexual behaviour that can lead them to contracting STDs even HIV.
What we see on social media today in relation with tourism, simply affirms a strong culture of alcoholism being acceptable in society. Does the country even have an alcohol control policy? I
Uganda societal norms are under constant attack as we see increased display a normalisation of alcoholic beverages now more with women. Social media will make you think it is trendy and cool, but as more and more women follow suit to drinking habits, their roles in society have changed as well, positively or negatively….you can only decide that through your conviction.