Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi`s book is about being Ugandan in the UK and her vibe is about having the right to write. Just because she can’t sit on a boda-boda doesn’t mean she’s not a Ugandan any more. She lived in Uganda for more than 30 years before she lived in the diaspora. If her creativity can give her the power to write as a man; or about the 1970’s? How much more apt then, that it allows her to express her Ugandan identity?
Being Ugandan is who she is first. That’s what makes her human. Living abroad however makes her question her African-ness. As she read to us an excerpt of the second story in her new book, ‘Manchester Happened‘ Jennifer explained that for most Ugandans coming into contact with white people for the first time, they experienced a certain shock at how some people saw them. They did not see the ordinary middle class educated person, but instead imagined a naked, starving African child with open wounds and hovering flies. The media-created image of the African is alive and it is liberally applied to anyone from the continent, irrespective of your background. It’s an identity that becomes a part of you when you live abroad.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi launched her book at the Uganda International Writer’s Conference. Published as ‘Manchester Happened’ in the UK and ‘Let’s Tell This Story Properly’ in the USA, it’s a collection of short stories about living life as a Ugandan in the UK. If you enjoyed her first novel, ‘Kintu’ you’ll definitely love this one!