Books in Uganda
What is the reading culture like in Uganda?
Not so many will talk so much about books in Uganda. Being the Africans we are, the trends do not have it yet that many of us like to read. The saying usually goes,’ if you want to hide something from an African, put in a book. But well, thank God our literacy levels are going up every now and then .Uganda’s literacy level stands at about 73% which is also a very good source of achievement as far as the millennium development goals are concerned. This just indicates and gives us hope that the reading culture is becoming better and better every day.
Like food is nutrition to the body so is reading, nutrition to the mind. Every time you read something new, your brain ‘makes room’ to fit it in. Research has shown that reading can help with any stress or turmoil occurring in your life, If you’re going through a break-up, break-down or simply just need to relax, try a new book. There are several books one can choose from depending on their taste which range from fiction to non-fiction. They could also be political, historical, Romance, horror or even biographies. Though the western continent has more reading material, be sure to read some awesome literature from the pearl of Africa. In case you’re visiting Uganda or not, here are some book titles you ought to read before get u well acquainted with the land.
Song of Lawino by Okot P’ Bitek. Every Ugandan who has gone through elementary school has read or heard about Song of Lawino. Song of Lawino is a poem that has become one of the most widely read literary works originating from Sub-Saharan Africa. It has also become culturally iconic within Africa, because of its scathing display of how African society was being destroyed by the colonization of Africa. The poem narrates the story of Lawino, an indigenous wife of an Acholi tribal leader who is faced with a literate and uptown co-wife that has captured every bit of Ocol her husband. Lawino’s song is more of a cry of Lawino for her husband to remain comfortable in his African skin. The book also advocates for the African culture that has been lost by the educated elite. It’s not until you read it that you see how great the book is especially through its informative display of African society, then and now.
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. Tells the story of Kintu Kidda, a muganda boy who decides to move to Kampala to start work as a servant of the new Kabaka (king). Misfortune brings upon him a hereditary curse that follows through to several of his descendants. For a curse born in the Eighteenth century, it’s not until about the Twenty first century that Kintu’s descendants seek to break the burden of the curse and to reconcile the inheritance of tradition and the modern world that is their future. Most African societies attach weight to aspects of culture involving blessings and curses and if you are keen, you will realize that most people are working within the boundaries that help them get blessings or even still avoid curses. Reading Kintu will purposefully educate you about the power a curse can have and the different superstitions and traditions revolving around Ugandan twins.
Tropical Fish- Doreen Baingana. With a setting in Entebbe, one of Uganda’s towns. Tropical Fish tells the story of three sisters, that is; Christine, Patti and Rosa the daughters of a relatively well off family whose father, a senior government official becomes an alcoholic and loses everything in a blink of an eye. The mother is then forced to become the sole breadwinner and the house turned into a house of “the Lasses”. Though from the same womb, life throws at each of the sisters a different destiny and as you will be lead on by the text, you will realise you’ve read more of Christine’s life.The story tells the tales on religious influence in Africa, superstition, boarding school life in missionary schools, first love, AIDS, love across the colour with a sugar daddy, the sense of alienation that comes with migrating to another country (USA) and that of displacement after coming back home. This is a short story that you can read and finish over the weekend.
The headline that morning by Peter Kagayi. If by any chance you’ve listened or watched Peter Kagayi perform poetry, you would go to any limit to have a copy of this book. He is no plain man and some have adorned him with the title of King of Satire. The headline that morning is a collection of fifty poems with themes ranging from love, disillusionment, politics, religion, and neo-colonialism. Peter’s poetry collection mirrors the past, the present and the future with rich imagery that is both profound and enchanting. It journeys between the titillatingly funny and the poignant; it both regales and rouses us to look searchingly at the realities of our contemporary lives. It is provocative; it is captivating. It is a delightfully executed masterpiece.
Upon this Mountain by Timothy Wagusa. This captivating story is set in the hills of Mount Elgon where Mwambu believes that once he is atop the mountain of Education, all his life’s dreams will have been fulfilled. With a naive curiosity towards the future, Mwambu never plans for any hardships and once life throws at him it’s hurdles, Mwambu is left disillusioned and thrown off balance. His traditional beliefs collide with his western adaptations, what he had sought right in western religion betrays him and above all society also deserts him. This book is greatly engraved with aspects of the Bagisu cultural norm of circumcision and how it’s done. In one book, you will find joy and bemusement, anger, disillusionment, hope, hate and many more emotions but above all , the mountain remain still and sane.
Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa. The book is set in the Idi Amin era and follows the life of Mugezi Muwaabi, as he plots his own independence from his parents and capitalizes on his considerable natural resources of charm and intelligence. The first part of the book centres on Mugezi, a young man growing up in post-colonial Uganda. Born in 1961, a year before Uganda attained independence. Mugenzi describes a troubled childhood living under the tyranny and strict rules of his parents. The second half of the book, Mugezi is excited about the country’s prospects under Idi Amin, following the ouster of Milton Obote and his corrupt government. Soon, however, Amin’s regime descends to the depths of brutality and mismanagement. But will he survive survive storm?
Where to find these books.
These books can be purchased from several bookshops around Uganda such as Aristoc outlets, Gustro limited, Uganda bookshop, Paulines Book and Media Centre, Book Point and many others. This is for the case of the hard copy lovers; those who like reading their book while they turn pages, fold pages and use a highlighter to emphasize their favourite lines.
However, most of these books also have soft copies available from online book stores like Amazon, goodreads, kindle, eBay and many other sites to read from. Some of the online books come free while others can be got through subscriptions and a few extra
What kind of books should I Look out for in Uganda?
All that being said, let us look at how the book culture is perceived in Uganda. You will often find a number of books for different use and audiences. Some of these may also have jacket cover images where it applies. The books in Uganda range from novels, as well as other publications.
What are Uganda’s recommended Book titles and cover images?
Books about Uganda will include titles like, The travel guide and directories which are often published as magazines .Most of these will give you an oversight of What Uganda is, the geographical features and facts, social economy and society, culture, as well as important places like churches, attractions, theaters, hospitals or even embassies. Main towns are also often referred to for specific features and history.
Where Can I buy books in Uganda?
After knowing all the possible books about Uganda, the next question would be where one can access or buy these books. A number of bookshops and book stores have been established in Uganda where you will be able to access these books to equip yourself with any information that you desire. Reference could also be made to the link below.
Otherwise,you will find all sorts of books in places like Uganda bookshop which is located just adjustment to Christ the King church that is found in the middle of Kampala city, St Paulines book center found along Kampala road, Aristoc Bookstores located in Kampala,Mukono and other towns around Uganda,to mention but a few.