Leisure 

Friday, November 29, 2013 

James Tumusimes What makes Africans laugh

KAMPALA, UGANDA-Reflections of an Entrepreneur in humour, Media and Culture, Tumusiime offers not only a ray of hope, but also seeks to questions the positions of African elites in the post-colonial era, about the place of culture and indigenous knowledge systems in modern political and cultural reasoning.

At different turns in the book, he questions the policy makers for the lukewarm support for the cultural industry; the bureaucrats for their conspiracy to perpetuate old stereotypes about the African’s incompetence, and the communities for the infatuation with the “made in abroad” – China, USA or the United Kingdom. And so is the story with the start of a museum – the perception that indigenous history is evil and cannot co-exist with modernity! Tumusiime narrates the breaking of ground – pointing, however, to the long journey ahead.

Although many African countries got their political independence in the 1960s and 1970s, Tumusiime shows us that the campaign for the liberation of African ideas, cultures and histories remains a modern war. It is not a fight for a return to a pristine African source, but a co-existence of both, African-made, and Abroad-made.
In the section on publishing where Tumusiime lets the cat out the bag, narrating the challenges of establishing a professional local publishing house when the space had been officially, although unfairly monopolised by multinationals. Were it not for a relentless campaign, high-level lobbying and chance encounters that ended in the Tripartite Lweza Conference of 1993 – one that created transparency in the book procurement policy at the Ministry of Education, it is likely that Uganda’s book industry would have remained outside the reach of Ugandans.

By Winnie Mandela, Friday, November 29th, 2013