Today, there are two things evolving at a breakneck speed. So much that if you went into coma you could wake up and be lost in a society where you previously comfortably existed. One is technology, and the other is pop culture and its constructs. One of those being pop language. The diction of the present day is nearly as hard to keep up with as the technology of the day. Just when you thought you had seen the latest smartphone you watch another get launched at a Tech summit. Similarly, just yesterday, you ran to Google and asked him (for some reason I think the search engine is masculine like God) what that word you saw being thrown around on Twitter means and today, you’re back again to ask about another.
A day does not go by without me running to an online urban dictionary to help me understand what the latest street lingual means, how it is used and where it was birthed. I don’t want anyone dropping bombs on me while I play dumb (apologies, this is about to become a strictly urban post. Run to Google if you find yourself in the dark alley of I-don’t-know-what-that-means). Dumb never gets you a comeback. Dumb only gets the floor mopped with your reputation. Thanks to social media, we now live for comebacks or should I say clap backs. The least you can do is be civil but not to play dumb.
Anyhow, two weeks ago, a lady I was previously acquainted with slides into my DM. She wanted to know how much the steering wheel covers I’m selling cost and how she could get her hands on them. We got to talking. I would deliver at any place of her convenience and at no cost to her. To which she agreed where I would be delivering her order. But for over a week we failed to meet. Something always got in the way. I started getting worried I was about to lose this particular sale. In fact, two sales because she bought two pieces at the end of the day. I pressed on for the meet until we finally got to sit down and do a handshake when the deal was concluded.
Seeing that the products I’m selling are new I always press for feedback from the customer. I want to know what the customer thinks of what they just forked out a few thousands of shillings for. This got us talking even after the real business was done and dusted. Later on that day, she calmed my nerves. The two pieces she had gifted to two people were very much appreciated. Both people were elated Santa had come before 26th December. I couldn’t help but thank her, again (I had done a whole load of thanking when the initial deal fell through).
It was then that she dropped my new word of the day. #BUBU, she had signed off her response expressing her satisfaction with the 100% Ugandan product. I didn’t waste no time running to Google for my daily lesson. But for once he was also in the dark. He asked whether I meant to search for something totally different but I stood my ground. When he failed to admit that he can’t fashion an answer I left him to nurse his arrogance. I went back to the lady asking what exactly she meant when she said, #BUBU.
Be Ugandan. Buy Ugandan.
That was it. How on earth did I miss that? I thought to myself, kano kapya. Even Google doesn’t know it, yet. How more Ugandan can this get? I must confess, as I tried to decode the text, my mind wandered off to hell and back but still returned with no answer. This got me thanking her again for not only doing business with me but also being economically patriotic. For staying true to her roots. Because for the past few years, a few initiatives, both private and public have sprung up to rally Ugandans to consume more Ugandan products but still, we are yet to embrace what is locally manufactured as much as we clamor for imported products.
When the debate on the economy comes up, time and again, statistics reveal Ugandans import nearly everything and export close to nothing. Our exports largely being agricultural produce. And Eddie Kenzo’s music (I pray for the day we export Maddox’s music). Within the same time, commerce and industry has grown, a lot of stuff now gets manufactured here but still, Ugandans who have “made it” prefer to go to China and Dubai rather than buy the very same item that is made in Uganda.
Some ship in these products because they have not explored the market at length to unearth Ugandan made gems or live under the pretext that the quality of product they want can never be made by a Ugandan. Others have been plagued by the infamous inferiority complex. Never mind that they have “made it” they believe boasting of imported products is the only way to be up-to-the-minute. At the end of the day, they end up with for instance synthetic furniture whilst they could have got custom-made furniture from fine wood at a local artisan’s workshop.
You can never tell what is out there unless you do your research. I was one time shocked when I discovered the fine dry wine I was sipping was largely made from soursop (locally known as kitaferi) and an assortment of other locally grown fruits. I can bet an arm and a leg, you will find many a Ugandan who appraise themselves as wine connoisseurs but they know nothing about such a product. But do not be shocked when that the very same people can review a bottle of wine in their sleep, know wine brewed as far back as the last coming of Jesus and breweries across the globe. What else explains such a person other than the fact that they have an imported expertise? That is why all their knowledge bares no mark of Uganda. They have never bothered to touch base with the Ugandan in them.
What am I getting at? Be Ugandan. Buy Ugandan. #BUBU