Solida!

By on April 18, 2017

Anyone who has been to boarding school in Uganda knows about a thing called ‘Solida’. In my high school days back at Jinja College, it was absolutely paramount that ‘Form Belows’ (Senior one and two students) were taken through elaborate mentorship so as to master Solida in its most raw form. Solida was the invisible glue that held together students especially during times when we needed to rally behind a common cause. The cause would mostly be good and noble but occasionally we rallied together for causes that were absolutely illegal and horribly despicable.

Solida, for many students was a chance to stand up to the system, an opportunity to speak for oneself and a chance to put one’s foot down against any form of injustice or unfairness. Solida was a reminder that real power lies in numbers. It was a middle finger to individuals (mostly prefects) who wielded their power and might with little or no regard for their fellow students.

Middle fingerSolida in one image

For the clueless one, Solida is simply a short form of Solidarity. But just like nearly every other English word you throw at young people it was shortened to Solida.

Of course with hindsight, one admits that there were times when our Solida was probably a little irresponsible, somewhat foolish and a tad reckless. For instance there was that time when Mr. Bagole the Morning Prep Master at Jinja College came over to Muggaga House and just as he was getting in, someone threw a shoe at the bulb and it went out. Then in the darkness, two fellas poured water on the poor guy. Imagine! When the entire dormitory was lined up for question, no one volunteered a name, even though we all knew the culprits. The whole thing had been orchestrated the previous night in the presence of everyone. However no one was particularly interested in morning prep on the Monday Morning after Visitation weekend so we all conspired to unanimously say NO to Morning Prep.

As a young man in growing up in Jinja College, the lessons of Solida got drummed into my head so hard that when I left the school after my Seniour Four, I could easily go to jail just to protect a friend’s deep dark secret. I could easily (and happily) stand up against a system if I felt like it was unfairly treating myself or anyone close to me.

Years down the road, I look back and think that perhaps when we were younger we had more soul and more fight – we took less BS and we were not afraid to stand up to whatever system there was. Of course one might argue that it was the adolescence creating unprecedented levels of defiance and stubbornness. One might also argue that when you grow older you feed off less from friends and you rely more on what you as a person think and feel and you worry more and enjoy life less. They might also offer the argument that when you are younger you are capable of recklessness and throwing caution to the wind because you have fewer responsibilities and other people are in charge of your life.

However, I would like to think that no matter what stage you are at in life, you need to have a pair of nuts down below so you can stand up not just for yourself but for those who need a voice. When someone says something that does not appeal to your better judgement or does not seem to make sense, you can and should stand up for yourself and perhaps ask a question or two – assuming you can not go the extra mile and actually defy whatever instructions are thrown at you.

In light of the recent ridiculous directive that every Ugandan register their Sim Card within 7 days, there has been quite a lot of discussion back and forth by Ugandans. Many have used words that would probably have them rounded up and thrown in the same jail cell as Stella Nyanzi while others have simply expressed their genuine frustration in simple and straight language.

As a Ugandan who is a strong believer in systems and who loves for my Country to move forward, it pisses me off when the powers that be continue treating citizens like teenagers who can not think for themselves therefore need to be policed lest they swallow poison in the name of adventure. You see, telling a nation of nearly 35 Million People that they have seven days within which to register their Sim Cards or they will be switched off isn’t just ridiculous but also disrespectful. People suddenly have to drop whatever they are doing to adhere to this draconian decree that was whipped up with the flimsiest of reasons and the most archaic explanations? Absolute hogwash!

It is likely that some of us will polish up on our Solida from the high school days just so we can show UCC and the powers that be that naffe tuli bantu atte tuli bakowu.

Letter writingPerhaps I might need to revisit my letter writing skills when/if I get switched off.

(Photo – www.dearhomeland.com)

Of course knowing the nature of this nation, this Blog Post might be construed to be inciting some form of defiance against the Sim Card Re-Registration process – and perhaps it is. However, one must ask the question – if no one defies a shambolic process, how shall we claim that the citizenry are aware of their rights? Questions must be asked and satisfactory answers offered regarding this Sim Card Registration process.

Some of us were extremely reluctant about registering our Sim Cards the last time but we went through with it anyway, being the peace loving Ugandans that we are. We were threatened with potential switch offs and we adhered – very much against our personal will. And now UCC is turning around and telling us we wasted out time? Such BS shall not be tolerated.

UgandansUgandans lining to re-register SIM cards at an AIRTEL outlet on Ben Kiwanuka Street Kampala

(Photo – www.thespearnews.com)

I will not pretend to understand the plight of people deep in the villages for whom this Sim Card Registration madness is something that will just continue flying through their local radio stations with as little impact as possible. I will also not pretend to speak for Ugandans living abroad who can not be in the country within the stipulated time. And neither will I attempt to speak for the hundreds of thousands who have registered for their National IDs but have never gotten them for one reason or another. Don’t even get me started on those who are incarcerated (those probably don’t need mobile phones anyway), those stuck in remote places for well beyond the seven stipulated days, those who are in hospitals around the country having been admitted for over seven days, one could go on and on but like I said, I will not pretend to speak for them.

I will speak for myself.

I might end up being the only person who says Fuck the System and therefore won’t re-register my Sim Card until UCC accords us the respect we deserve not just giving us ample time to re-register but also making the process less strenuous and more convenient for Ugandans. I will not even say anything about the fact that I have a Passport and therefore I feel like the Government always has enough information about me to make my life considerably better or horribly worse.

I will wait till I am switched off, perhaps venture in the deep dark waters of being offline and see if I lose an ounce of weight. A round of applause to all those Ugandans who have decided to show a middle finger to the system and not be shoved and pushed about like little kids who need to be shouted at for them to get anything done. We are in this together!

“If you wait until you find something to speak up for, something that you’re passionate about that concerns you and attacks your own beliefs, then eventually, when the day finally arrives, you might also find that you have forgotten how to speak.” ― Kamand Kojouri

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Baldie. Ailurophile. Social Media Junkie. Blogger. Pluviophile. Fixer. Sober Drunkard.
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