Plainly speaking

One Ugandan’s Open Letter to Billy Ocean

IMG_9366Dear Billy Ocean,

Or Mr. Wongo right?. Welcome to Uganda but of course you do not know me. I am just a lover of your music and an excited young man. I have been a lover of your music since ten. I used to run to my father’s bedroom just to listen to your 1984 Album  Suddenly  on his cherished Electrohome- Nostalgia EANOS501 Record CD Turntable (am sure many young ones don’t know this).

Mr. Wongo, you are always neatly clad  and a perfect gentleman. We are  excited  to have you in Uganda. We can’t wait for the Black Tie Concert tonight,even though it has raised mixed concerns. Some claiming they don’t know you and others claiming that your show is expensive considering that you are a man of the 80’s. But Mr. Wongo,  it is only people like me who love classic music, who will tell you that the rhythm and harmony of your music, finds it way into the inward places of our souls!

Your great songs like Caribbean Queen, When the Going gets tough (my favorite), Suddenly and Pleasure, remain some of the greatest songs in R&B and International Pop music history. I am sure you know that already.

But Mr Ochen, I mean Ocean (you guys have crazy names),  welcome to  the beautiful Uganda.

Watch this video you might not want to go back home.

You have to know a few things about this country you are visiting

    1. In Uganda, sometimes we greet people by saying “well done” even when the person is doing nothing. So just in case someone approaches you and tells you that,  just reply thank you!
    2. Africa is not a country and Uganda is not a town. Recently, American actress Raven Symone in an interview with E!, shocked Africans when she said that she is ‘from every continent in Africa except one”. At this point, we are not sure if her foot should be so far into her mouth that she swallows leather crumbs. Africa is a continent with over a billion people, who live in more than 50 different countries and speak more than 2,000 different languages. Uganda is a state within Africa full of beautiful people.
    3. In London, you call them mini buses but in Uganda, we call them taxis. What you call taxis back in London, here we call them special cars. It doesn’t matter if you get confused on your way from the airport about that, but just know that in Uganda, we are unique
    4. There is what we call UgLish. By UgLish, It is the Ugandan variant of English. In this beautiful country, we have dry tea, Wiseaching, cowardise, benching,  now-now, bullet and you will only understand the meaning of these words if you read our guide to UgLish which we compiled earlier here.
    5. When it comes to traffic jam, it does not matter whether you say “traffic” or “jam”, Ugandans will understand what you are saying.
    6. Meanwhile do not leave your car window open at night while in “Jam”. Your gadget might disappear unceremoniously but this doesn’t mean that Ugandans are thieves but it is just a security measure. Precaution is very paramount when you go to a foreign area for the first time.
    7. In Uganda we eat rolex, we don’t wear them. Relax! we don’t mean the watch you are wearing but a delicacy and type of food which is only found in Uganda here.
    8. We have what we call boda bodas. Now these are not boarders on a map but motorcycle loved and hated by Ugandans at the same time. Where a vehicle takes thirty minutes to reach a place, they take less than ten minutes! They know the art of invisible riding and when you feel that you are late for a show, trust me jump on one and reach get there on time! Still not sure what they are, we talked about them here
    9. More so, if you are coming out of your car or crossing the road, don’t forget to first look left and right. These boda bodas are not only fast, but they also ‘fly’ in all directions. You will be surprised when you see them coming from all directions towards you but don’t run, just keep calm and let them pass (if you come close to them while in Uganda anyway).
    10. In Uganda we don’t rush. We believe we have a lot of time to do everything we want and we value deadlines since its when adrenaline levels become active. You want proof? You will be shocked to learn that most people have not yet got tickets for your show but they are waiting to pay at the entrance. Just find a way of getting to the gate during your show, you will be my witness.
    11. “Let me come”, is a sentence you might hear a lot while you are in Uganda. Now this sentence is tricky. Someone will tell you “let me come” even when they are not going to come back. Please do not feel offended, sometimes Ugandans can be busy and end up doing a lot of things that is why they will tell you “let me come” even when they are not coming back 🙂
    12. Some English accents are seasonal don’t be surprised to hear some of the guys welcoming you speaking with a British accent. That’s how we be.


    Have a pleasant stay

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Bata

If you thought Uganda was a forest, they lied to you





  1. luwagga

    April 2, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Hahahaha i love this one.

  2. safso

    April 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    you nailed bro.

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