By Frank Gashumba
Last Friday, I was invited by Motivation Foundation as one of the keynote speakers at a dialogue that had many youth in attendance and the topic of the day was, “Are you school or street Smart?” I was informed by the emcee that my talk was to last not more than 20 minutes as the next programme on the agenda, which was a coffee break, had to commence immediately after that. I went on to let him know that the youth present had paid their 10k for this dialogue to come and listen to us, share with them our life experiences, to learn and be empowered and not to take coffee! If they wanted coffee, coffee is sold all over Uganda.
This is a disease that has killed Ugandans and the continent as a whole. Lately, attending conferences to drink coffee or tea, indulge in three course meals (buffet) has become a lifestyle: a bad one at that.
Isn’t it strange how Ugandans will spare time to attend overnight prayers, Ebigunda b’yomwaka, drinking and smoking all night, but will not spare time to sit down for a few minutes and listen to someone sharing some life help skills?
JESUS!! Basically, people don’t come to exchange views to better their lives, but rather enjoy whatever amenities are being served. These conferences that are organized by the international community (NGO,s) in Africa have successfully killed us. It is in this county that you will find a conference to do with poor and underprivileged women in Bundibugyo being held at Speke Resort Munyonyo! When you interact with the participants, you will find that majority of these reside in Kololo, Mbuya, Nakasero etc.
They hold the latest iPads and gadgets, and wear the latest designer perfumes. They drive posh cars and only the latest models. If you showed them the map of Uganda, they can’t even locate Bundibugyo or Kotido.
If these various seminars and conferences that take place in Kampala were driven towards transforming the lives of Ugandans, our economy and livelihood would compete with nations like Japan. I think 90% of these conferences in Kampala are held for accountability purposes.
And that is why I made sure there was no coffee break during the dialogue I was attending Last week-end. The dialogue was meant to end at 8:00pm. We pushed it 11:00pm and I don’t recall seeing any one demanding for Coffee. The people that these youth admire and look up to work 16 hours a day. Every successful person I have read about from Richard Branson, Sir Gordon Wavamuno, Sudhir Ruperalia, Aliko Dangote to Warren Buffet rarely talk about coffee breaks!
And as Sisimuka Uganda, the conferences we have held before are usually run like a marathon. No coffee breaks!
To those of you who showed up yesterday, thank you for turning up. My next engagement will be with students of Islamic University of Uganda.
SISIMUKA UGANDA TERI KULINDA KULALA
Changing Mindests, Creating Self Belief, Transforming lives and Communities