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Reflections on Ugandan who inspired ‘Cycologic’

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Added 13th August 2016 09:21 AM

The notion that a woman or girl who rides a bicycle risks losing her virginity is nothing but a myth.

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Besides her role as lecturer at Makerere University, Amanda Ngabirano is also a member of the World Cycling Alliance Steering Board

The notion that a woman or girl who rides a bicycle risks losing her virginity is nothing but a myth.

Exactly four days from today, a short film titled ‘Cycologic’ will premiere in the Swedish city of Malmo. The film tells part of Ugandan urban planner and university lecturer Amanda Ngabirano's spirited journey towards seeing her country become more bicycle-friendly. It is a work of a group of Swedish directors who, in their pursuit of an ingredient of inspiration for their final film project for their studies, decided to travel all the way to Kampala to tell Ngabirano’s story.

Ahead of the August 17 premiere, one of Ngabirano’s students, inspired by what has been written about her, decided to pen his reflections on her story.


Francis Alimpisa, a fourth year student of urban and regional planning at Makerere University, writes:


“Before you become an inspiration to human kind in as far as the European continent is concerned – Sweden to be exact – I must admit that you have been and will always be an inspiration to me.

I only imagine a woman (African woman) who inspires the white race (people that are known to have colonized us). ‘Who is Amanda?’ is a question that ran throughout my mind for a while. I then remembered a book that I read about two years ago titled ‘The science of being great’ by German writer Wallace De` Wattle. He writes that ‘…nothing is born in man that is not in every man…’ This is where I picked my inspiration when I said to myself strongly at heart that ‘yes, I too can!’ I kept nodding in acknowledgement that indeed you are a true inspiration.

Let us face the realities told by Amanda`s story:               

  • The bicycle industry is profitable and good for growth although it takes the commitment of the public and local authorities.
  • A woman riding a bicycle on the streets should not be looked at as a sign of fearlessness or courage but rather as an indicator of safe cycling infrastructure.
  • The notion that a woman or girl who rides a bicycle risks losing her virginity is nothing but a myth.
  • Bicycle transport is not for the poor but rather our attitude and the fact that is not provided for.
  • Cycling is a space-efficient mode (road space and parking); answers the question of congestion on the narrow city roads of Kampala. And many more other facts.

These are key points that I never contest nor disregard or even dissent but rather rhyme with as I nod in acknowledgement.

I always wondered why I studied gender and as well as always contested the potentials of the course as part of my program; my classmates then can testify the heated debates and arguments we always had especially during the gender classes. Today however, I believe I have found all the answers I have always sought and answered all the unanswered questions of the day. Impatiently waiting to watch the English African woman-inspired film.

Indeed, Amanda you are a commander championing the great campaign. I look up to you with great pride. Always an inspiration. Thank you.”


Amanda Ngabirano: the Ugandan who inspired Swedish filmmakers

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