What have I been up to? Well, a lot apparently.
On Thursday 12th I was invited on behalf of Speakers Without Borders to attend a stakeholder workshop hosted by the Bank of Uganda on rolling out a National Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection Education Policy to provide insights gained from working among young people on how to approach “these things”. Basically, the “banks are fucking the consumers” and we need to tell people to avoid getting well, screwed. The discussion ranged from simple things like the cooling off period between loan applications and funds disbursement to the glaring gap in the report on how to actively engage and sustain the financial literacy discussion among the young adults in Uganda despite the sheer weight they exert on the demographic tables. Also there are over 150,000 Ugandans on Face book. Most of those are not my parents’ age. So, why not? Use everything available as long as they are getting the message. I gave my two cents there.
On Friday the 13th, I was invited by Mambo Guy, an old buddy who I’ve known for forever, President of the The Lantern Meet, connoisseur of fine things, and architect - to attend the Final presentation of Kitenge Spaces. This cat is really smooth. About a year ago he won a grant from The Youth Action Fund under the auspices of the Open Society Institute (EA) to run a competition for architecture students to design Afro-centric spaces. His belief that architecture is culture and therefore a reflection of our common identity is a debate that’s raged on over the years between him and I. Basically because I think that the spiel that spaces define people is academic hogwash but rather that people define the spaces they live in. Anyway over the course of a year he has had the contestants design and submit objects and space designs to a panel of young and rather erudite architects. This competition is Kitenge Spaces.
Mambo Guy"Just as a noun is only a noun if it possesses a “verbal companion,” a house is not a house unless it has a proper primary function, from which it will derive its spirit. So the house gives, and the house takes, but the house cannot be unless needs qualify it... like a genie that one summons out of a lamp, to answer to ones needs."
Yesterday, as I sat at the National Theatre and listened to a young man talk about the communality of the African meal and why, that, of all spaces, should be the most well lit space in the house, I knew that Guy had done it. He’d come from where 3 of us sat 5 years ago and talked about being “that man” and taken the road. “That man” is the guy who does not take what he is given, but rather will consistently, infect, affect and effect everything around him with change; constantly saying “NO! This isn’t enough” and asking for more soup, re-defining his own boundaries, pushing the horizon a little further and, without knowing it, making the lives of many, many people mean so much more. Now the world has to watch out. He is coming.
Later in the evening I attended the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) Excellence Awards Dinner where they were awarding the best PR campaigns, practitioners, companies, agencies and organizations. In what was an almost serendipitous occasion, URA swept three awards all in the corporate communications category, The “ONE LOVE” Campaign by ZK Advertising for UHMG (the “sexual network” campaign for those of you who don’t know it yet) was voted the Overall Best Campaign of 2009/2010. I for one was happy because having personally worked on the submissions for and designed the communication materials for two of the winning entries –Best Event PR, The Johnnie Walker Launch in Uganda (covered aptly in this post here but also very well taken care of by Google. Hehe!), and the Best Crisis Management Award for President Lager - a Uganda breweries product that was interdicted right before Christmas last year by Nile Breweries from bottling the product in a long neck bottle.
It’s been very busy but also sexy and exciting; literally sexciting. I drunk texted my ex. She is going to have my head. But who cares. And I lost the keys to my place on Thursday night and so spent the night on the floor outside my place waiting for morning so I could find a locksmith. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately cooking, reading and writing – generally just being alone. It hurts. It hurts so bad. In other news I’ll probably be going away for a while, but that’s news for another day.