Letter of the day
EDITORâ€”In the article, â€œBreastfeeding puppies: NGOs are right to speakâ€, Atuki Turner claims that NGOs have got their hands dirty. Turner was commenting on a man who had forced his wife to breastfeed puppies. She b
EDITORâ€”In the article, â€œBreastfeeding puppies: NGOs are right to speakâ€, Atuki Turner claims that NGOs have got their hands dirty. Turner was commenting on a man who had forced his wife to breastfeed puppies. She blames the manâ€™s behaviour on bridewealth.
Contrary to Turnerâ€™s assertion, â€˜NGOismâ€™ can avail privilege as it does elevate to a higher status in Uganda more than if an NGO were to remain in Britain. In Britain, a typical Ugandan woman would be an ethnic minority, a marginalised and racialised Black person.
To some Black women and men, the idea of marriage to a member of the dominant mainstream group in Britain is not innocent, but a political and social strategy aimed at status-raising that ensures escape from poverty or class oppression as well as certain African cultural requirements.
I find that Turner makes use of the existing troubled marriages in the countryside to justify a new re-civilising mission through over-emphasis on bridewealth and its violence while ignoring its possible pluses.
This mission may now be necessary because during the actual 100 years of Ugandaâ€™s colonisation, the British were not interested in what Ugandan men did to their wives but rather extracted their labour to pay taxes and grow cash crops for consumption in Britain.
We cannot simply overlook the effects of British colonialism on the men here and blame them for their state of mind or marriage systems alone.
Intermarriage with the whites can also be a way for both Black women and men to go around the strict immigration laws that tend to exclude and restrict immigrants from Britain, Ugandaâ€™s ex-colonial master. Moreover, an African marrying a European is, in itself, a dowry that perpetually brings wealth back home.
This kind of status-raising is not new and it is known as â€œweaving the culturesâ€. Some decades ago, Jamaican immigrants did it in Britain as well as other Blacks in North America as a strategy for acquiring lighter skins and status for their children to escape the intensity of discrimination on account of skin colour.
The darker one is, the more discriminated against one is in the West. Paradoxically, Professor Henry Louis Gates recently did not escape an ugly encounter with a white police officer in his home, even though his DNA shows him to be 56% white (by his own account).
Black males are criminalised on account of their skin colour in most of the Western world.
To go back to NGOism in Uganda, white privilege does raise status for white male spouses of Black women who engage in civil activities. In Britain and any Western country, a white man married to a Black woman can also encounter marginalisation because of his spouseâ€™s blackness.
Black women in the Western world are the most marginalised due to the process of racialisation and patriarchy that maintains sexist attitudes towards them. Western women earn only 75% of what men earn for the same work! Black women with white spouses are privileged in Uganda. The very concept of sacrificial NGOs is a big farce. An NGO project in rural Africa is an island of excesses in a sea of poverty and deprivation.
The lack of education, lack of income, poor housing, lack of nearby waterholes, lack of electricity, coupled with biting poverty that female or male folks experience in rural areas, contribute to the wretchedness of life in the village.
In this, I am not digging holes in the road for others to fall in as senior columnist John Nagenda once said. But we could all do something for change in the villages.
Not all NGOs address real issues