On the first nite in Kampala I am going to get something to eat before going to sleep – as I return to my home I decide to have a drink in Wine Garage.
I order a glass of red wine and stay at the counter to drink it. There is another man next to me. I greet him – he greets me. We talk casually, but suddenly he becomes hostile and agressive. I am admiring the painting at the wall. He says: ”stop, stop, stop ...”. I keep quiet to respect his demand and avoid to cause conflict, but he stares at me. It is hard not to react on his wild eyes, because his attitude is very violent. He begins to say, that he could beat me. I am not sure if I shall take it seriously or not. He continues: ”I don't like you”. I realise that a conflict is unavoidable – so I decide to pay my bill and go outside. He stands up and begins to push me. The waitresses befind the counter do nothing. I pay and walk outside to finish my drink, but he follows me and I see no other solution than leaving my drink and walk away.
I still remember his eyes. They were hard and evil.
Another day I went to have coffee in Javas Coffee (not to be confused with Nairobi Java House). Suddenly a rather big man comes to me and sit down next to me. Without any introduction he asks: ”Do you remember me?” I have never seen him before. He tells me that he works in Immigration. I suggest that he has seen me in the airport. He keeps on talking to me. I am not very interested or attentive. because I am on the internet and my time is running. He begins to talk about a wedding meeting he is going to attend but he needs fuel and ask me for 20000 UGX (equivalent to 7,5 USD). I say no and explains that I can help me friends here, but not somebody I do not know. Hereafter I ignore him. He says, that he is not a bad person and walks away. He sits somewhere else for a while.
In the following days I feel scared of what he will do if I meet him in the airport as I am leaving Uganda. I also avoid to go to Wine Garage again. It makes me think. To go to Uganda a few times is safe, but if you keep coming as if you were a Ugandan living in diaspora, then you will be confronted by the same problems as everybody else – the same treats, insecurities and demands ... or are these just dark sides of the growing of a middle class?
My hostility towards the middle class can be interpreted as sociological and psychological perversion, but here I only want to present a few things that I noticed over the years in East Africa about the middle class in Kenya and Uganda. In 2004 I came to Nairobi for the first time. Here there were a middle class as opposed to Kampala. The middle class in Nairobi would act reserved towards foreigners and Kenyan men sometimes shows hostility towards white men. The tendencies can now be seen in Kampala and in the meantime the middle in Kampala has been growing. The middle class has issues with everybody else – as opposed to the upper class and the poor ... the upper class is just rich and privileged. They do not need anything or anybody. The poor have no choice – they must do exactly what they are doing and can do nothing else.
But ... then again ... the discussion of classes might just be another round-a-bout, because the main issue is that I now belong here and therefor I have the same responsibilities as everyone else. With these responsibilites comes goods and bads. I have for some years been cherised with the goods, now the time has come for the more harsh realities. I need to be careful and take my precautions. Though I do not complain. I simple try to tell what I see. The truth - no, I do not care about the truth, nor do I want to judge other people or value their actions.
Friday, 4 November 2011
My glasses has gone from transparency to white-gray as an old man's hair. After many years my optician has refused to put them back on track. Right now I am back in my beloved East Africa and just after a few hours my glasses has again become transparent.