CULTURE

23 Jul 2020

First Published by Mail & Guardian 

After a five-year unexplained hiatus, one of Uganda’s most famous cartoon characters is back on TV. Katoto hasn’t changed at all. His frayed yellow hat still sits atop his shaven head, a distinctive beard giving way to a toothy smile. His fashion sense is still awful and his agility is remarkable given the size of his potbelly.

Katoto first hit Ugandan screens in 2015, becoming an instant sensation. The locally-produced cartoon is based on the mythical adventures of a folktale character called Ishe-Katabazi, who, in the vibrant Banyankole oral tradition, exposes the lies and...

22 Jul 2020

“The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”.

When ​Chumani Maxwele, a black South African student, threw a bucket of shit over a statue of Cecil Rhodes, I wondered if he knew that it would kick off protests that would spread from Cape Town to Accra. Five years on, Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has borrowed the tactic and statutes of racist former colonisers that ​embed false narratives about history into its landscapes are falling globally.

The destruction of those statues may be satisfying, but abolishing the system that upholds white supremacy involves...

18 Apr 2020

It’s the time of year again when pilgrims complete their journey to Namugongo, to pay their respects to long-dead Christian converts who suffered public execution at the hands of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda. The story of the Uganda Martyrs is well known, and for readers not yet in the know, the bones of the story are detailed here.

14 Dec 2017

Eric Mwiine Mugaju continues a new series looking at African women who resisted colonial oppression.

The 20th century marked a continuation in the voice of female resistance to colonialism  and the patriarchy. Mekatilili wa Menza, prophetess, warrior and activist rallied a movement against male domination and colonialism with a dedicated following that could compete with today’s Insta stars.

As with our last figure, Muhumza, we know little detail about Mekatili’s life. In local and colonial cultures, men predominated. In terms of written records from the time (almost exclusively the product of the colonial pow...

13 Apr 2017

Interestingly, micro-credit companies have exploded at the same time gambling companies. Could it be that hapless debtors are turning to gambling to repay swollen debts? Under-regulated micro-finance has a track record of wreaking havoc. In India, it led to a spate of face-saving suicides by unsuccessful farmers, who chose drank the very pesticides they became indebted for in order to escape the their creditors. There is evidence to suggest regular gamblers in Kampala use betting to improve their liquidity, so it would not be a huge leap to connect the two booming phenomena.

23 Feb 2017

In December 2016 Facebook released its new strategy for tackling the spread of fake news on the social networking site. Yet, the planned structure of the fact-checking operation means that fake news stories targeting users in African countries are almost certain to fall through the net. What will it mean for 146 million+ African Facebook users being left to the lions with fake news?

What do Kenyan doctors, Mole Soup and Nigerians living South Africa all have in common? In the last week, they have all fallen prey to fake news stories spread on social media. In Kenya, the legality of the 3-month long doctors’ s...

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African news, satire and analysis with a focus on East Africa