Of Uganda’s Ethnic Prejudice and Why We Should Keep-off Children When Smelling Alcohol


Being an Itesot and a proud one at that comes with its undoing as well. One of it is the biased association with booze that is tagged on  anyone who salutes with ‘biai bo ijo?’ The general rule appears to be that all Iteso (especially men) consume alcohol. People who have met me for the first time cannot believe that I have actually never tasted alcohol in my life. By alcohol I mean the local brew “ajon” and bottled beer or some of those local bitter drinks.

But like the equitable doctrine of election states, one should not take a benefit of something without its associated burdens. Since I derive my identity from Teso, I also have deal with the prejudice that comes with being one. So am okay with it!

That aside, I want to share one lesson with my friends, especially those who consume alcohol (yes, you know yourselves!) My High School teacher of European History, a one Namunyondo-Ssempa told us a story of a man who used to consume a certain potent drink called molasses. This is a viscous by-product of the refining of sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. It is usually transported in 1000-litre metallic tanks on lorries (they actually transport it like fuel!).

The man, who we shall call AA, would always come home smelling this inconveniencing drink.

Now for those of you who normally ply the Iganga-Kampala highway, there’s a place between Jinja and Iganga called Magamaga–famously known as the “Waterloo” for Holy Spirit Movement rebel leader Alice Lakwena where she was defeated by the victorious National Resistance Army forces in late ’80s.

In Magamaga, which is around the sugar-producing Kakira town, there’s a huge depot of-sorts of this drink and the smell around the area tells it all.

Sugarcane Truck

A truck transports sugar cane for processing. The by-product of the refining of sugar cane is a popular intoxicant in Magamaga town

Forestry officials estimate that about 80 bundles of firewood on average are sold per day to Magamaga for this Waragi distillation.

One day, AA’s wife and daughter were travelling in a taxi and upon reaching Magamaga, the girl innocently poked her mother and loudly dropped the bomb;

Mummy, this place smells like daddy.”

Attempts by the mother to disregard this statement attracted repeated pokes and emphasis from the daughter. The helpless mother could only look around her, full of shame!

Just imagine the embarrassment that she had to endure in a 14-seater car!!!

Moral of the Story:

Never come home when you are drunk and mix with your family, especially if you have kids.

If you must, chew strong mint or brush to disguise the strong alcoholic breathe.

Better still, just quit alcohol–it’s a worthy move!

Think About It…


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