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Friday, December 9, 2016

Tech | The Vision Group e-paper collection: What you need to know

So, Vision Group slashed prices for the online versions of their publications several weeks back. The latest figures show all English publications (New Vision, Saturday Vision, Sunday Vision and Kampala Sun) at a flat rate of 1,000 UGX, while all the locals are now at 500 UGX with the sole exception of Bukedde that goes for 800 UGX.

Access to the same is pretty straightforward – all one has to do is access their page at: https://vpg.visiongroup.co.ug, choose a paper of their choice and pay for it. There are several options. One may use MTN mobile money, Visa, MasterCard or even Airtel money.

Of the four, I find MTN mobile money most convenient. It’s just a two-step process that only requires you to input your number and go ahead to approve the transaction on your phone (tech junkies like Simon Peter will call it a debit request).

Cue the other option and mother of all bureaucracy comes into play. You will be asked to input about five types of your particulars before you are ushered to the next page that has a further six options including Ezee Money (which, actually, does not work).

Depending on which option you choose, you will still meet another boring catalogue of instructions that you are supposed to execute before you can complete your transaction.  

If you choose Visa, you are supposed to supply your full names, email, address, town, Zip Code and lots of what looks like irrelevant data. I suspect they will soon be asking about the last time you slept on an empty stomach.

While at it, they continue to remind you about how your payment will be processed via Pesapal so that you won’t bitch about it when Pesapal eventually sends you some redundant email seconds after completion of your transaction.

It is a similar story when you choose Airtel Money. There is a business number (111222) you are supposed to send money to, so they can send you a transaction ID that you will feed into that payment portal. You just have to properly quote the reference though – pp – and you are good to go.

Of course Pesapal won’t be done with you, yet. They’ll still tell you how they have successfully completed your transaction. And then the mail will follow, of course. Just in case you are the smart-alec that will demand for transaction confirmation.

The beauty of this is that you will still get your e-paper in pretty much the same format and layout as the printed version. The default view may appear small and illegible, but the bottom panel does have an option of zooming one’s current page to a more user-friendly view.

The default view shows the current version, but you still have the option of checking a paper that was published in the past (I am not sure how far back the history goes, though).

Dan A. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Culture | Gendered Names in different Ethnicities

Yes, we back again. This time we are looking at the existence of gendered names amongst the different cultures in our region.

We have already looked at how some cultures choose names according to prevailing conditions – weather, psychological condition or even one’s thoughts (remember that piece about the Samia?).

Today, we look at gendered names. The Baganda, for example, have a number of male names that start with “S (or sometimes “Ss”), with their female equivalents replacing the “S/Ss” with “Na”. Examples of such names include Semakula (Namajula), Sserwanga (Nalwanga), Ssebulime (Nabulime), Ssenyonjo (Nanyonjo) and others.

For others, the original male is pre-fixed with the syllable: “Na”. Examples of such names include: Mubiru (Namubiru), Mawejje (Namawejje), Mazzi (Namazzi), Mayanja (Namayanja), Lule (Nalule), Musisi (Namusisi), Buyondo (Nabuyondo) among others.

Most Nilotic communities, in general, have gendered names being differentiated by the first letter of the name, where, for example, most Male names that start with “O” have the female equivalents starting with “A”.

Examples of such names include: Okello (Akello), Ochom (Achom), Otim (Atim), Ocan (Acan), Ocen (Acen), Opito (Apito), Odong (Adong) and others.

Amongst the Western Uganda tribes, however, most names are used interchangeably. But further South, amongst the Banyarwanda/Barundi, the name-gendering shows up again.

An interesting pattern in Kinyarwanda has the original male names prefixed by “Muka”. Examples of such names include: Ntabana (Mukantabana), Rwego (Mukarwego), Nkusi (Mukankusi), Nkubano (Mukankubano), Nkunda (Mukankunda) and others.

Still in Kinyarwanda, female equivalents are prefixed with “Nyira” (instead of “Muka”), while some have both versions. One good example is the name: “Yuhi” that has both “Mukayuhi” and “Nyirayuhi”.

What gendered names exist in your culture?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Lifestyle | Festive Season Vandals

Vandals. Thugs. Goons. They are upon us, those violent opportunists that seem to have their appetites at an all-time high during the festive period.  They are everywhere, vandalizing anything valuable they come across.

They have snatched mobile phones off unsuspecting motorists in peak hour traffic. They have caused bodily harm to innocent people. They have broken into homes and exchanged prized property with fits of rage and trauma. And off they go. With no shame. With no remorse. Nor anything else that makes them feel for their victims. For them, it’s just another day at office.

Last night, they attacked a friend of mine from just outside his gate in Kira. They clobbered him to near death before making off with his car, a Silver grey Toyota Kluger Reg No: UAX 477D, and its contents. If you saw this vehicle at awkward hours this morning, then you know it was still in the wrong hands.

The car has since been recovered. But Jesse still lies in pain, having been admitted with multiple injuries – head and everywhere else – at Nakasero hospital.

This is the third or fourth incident I am getting to know about, this week. Mamerito Mugerwa, the ex-Kira Municipality mayor, is currently admitted at the same hospital having sustained multiple gunshot injuries in a separate attack last night.

Just yesterday, I saw photos, posted in one social media forum, of another horror show. Thugs, probably armed with machetes and chainsaws, broke into a home and made off with valuable property in a swift but ruthless heist that is reported to have lasted less than 10 minutes. By the time police arrived at the scene, the thugs had vanished.

Bloody times we live in, today. Should we all acquire guns?  

Lifestyle | Depression

Every one of us has that friend who will crave for attention, usually, by not necessarily seeking it. They are mostly loners. They do not do crowds. They are the type that will keep to themselves even when on a night out and everyone else is screaming their lungs out.

Like a startled centipede, they will curl up in one corner, face pensively glued on some smart phone in their hands. Some people gradually slip into depression with no idea what they are getting into.

A little over a decade ago, one young man sat in a form 1 class with kids several years younger. For some reason, he mostly kept to himself. Other times, he kept a small circle of friends he felt understood him. He probably felt out of place. Sometimes.

He had forged friendship with students a couple of years and classes his senior, despite his calm and reserved persona. Once in a while, he and two of his friends would pass by State House (as our room was then referred to) for the occasional chitchat.

Sometime towards the end of second term, James came by. He looked a little bothered and pensive, though one could easily have mistaken his veneer for his usual behavior. I do not recall what he mumbled, and would not have made much sense of it had it not been for an incident that happened a couple of weeks later.

James had known about the existence of a mini home armory for a while. He was friends with the guys that were entrusted to take charge of the place. He could sneak in and pick a gun and (almost) do anything he wanted.

He did, one day.

It was a cold Saturday evening when James eventually found his way into the store and reached out for an AK47. His guardian – then the army chief – was away, having travelled on some official assignment. Cold muzzle pointed to one side of his head and one hand in firm grip on the other end of the Kalashnikov, he pulled the trigger. In a flash, James was no more.

News of his death spread like wild fire. We were both in shock and total disbelief. I still recall Radio West’s Birungi Michael Bahinyoza’s headline that evening like it was yesterday. Then followed Capital FM, and Sunday Vision carried a screaming headline the following morning. James, indeed, was gone.  

A suicide note, probably written in haste, did not say much, save for the fact one could only hazard implied betrayal and frustration.

James Kikukule Kigo would probably still be alive, going about his business like any other 28 year-old would, had someone whispered words of encouragement months before he made that tragic decision to take his own life.

- Dan A.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lifestyle | A toast to 5!

So, last weekend happened to feature one of those days I never miss in a calendar year. With one year officially struck off my shelf life, I was left with no choice but to do the things an average bloke does when anniversaries suddenly start showing up in (seemingly) shorter intervals than they are supposed to. Like it’s only been six months since you feted the previous one. Like you’ve spent one half of the last twelve months in comma.

Suddenly you look back and you can actually account for every single one of the months – which may or may not necessarily mean accomplishment in the true sense of the word. Your twelve months may feature some missed goals. There could be some positives (or lots of them, depending on your efficiency and the efficiency of those around you). Or it could just have been a smooth sail all through.

I pondered about the goals and aspirations we set as kids, and how it all panned out. It’s one of those moments when you look back at the years gone by and you can’t help but imagine what could have happened if you had done certain things differently.

The same weekend coincides with our wedding anniversary. A couple of years after University, I met a fabulous woman in Carol, who also happened to live in the neighborhood of my place of abode at the time. One thing led to another, and it would only be a matter of time before the chemistry got its permanent address, on November 05, 2011.

On November 05, 2016, we officially made five years in marriage, a few hours before I turned a year older. In an era where a spiraling number of marriages last shorter than an average presidential office term, there was always going to be ample temptation to toast to this. And boy has it been a ride!

It’s been an action-packed five years. Five years of love. New friends. Three wonderful children. Several milestones, both tangible and non-tangible. The occasional trip. And everything else in between. It’s been five years of a roller-coaster learning curve about love, life and business. 

It’s been five years of literally everything I could possibly ask for. It’s been a testament our self-coined blueprint of Communication, Commitment and Compromise (CCC), which I imagine only works when the two parties are in sync.

It’s probably down to compatibility. Or character. Or willpower. I don’t know. It’s a riddle we chose to leave unanswered as a couple of sweet red wine glasses clanged into a cameo harmonic, on a night that we toasted to a thrilling five years of marriage. We can only be thankful to God for seeing us through this, and hope that this lives on for many more years.

So, here’s to me, albeit belatedly, to yet another year on the trot. And here’s to us, to the five years of what should be a lifelong journey!