Archive for January 19th, 2009

January 19, 2009


A Sunday Times photographer has been beaten up and punched repeatedly in the face by the wife of President Robert Mugabe. 


This is what Mama Mugabe was wearing at the time:

  • A red cashmere shawl over her head
  • Cavalli rhine-stone-framed glasses
  • A Jimmy Choo-style bag estimated to be worth at least £2,000


Lesson one: if you must punch someone into a near-comma, do it in style.

Lesson two: nothing.  There is no lesson in ridiculousity.


Mama Mugabe joins the elite class of MMMs – Mad Mullah Mamas.

January 19, 2009

Book Adventure Kampala

Explaining the perennial book drought in Kampala to a foreigner is almost as hard as explaining by bumblebees fly.  Kampala is a city of the educated, upwardly mobile, the moderately wealthy and the world wise.  Why we have only one comprehensive bookstore in the city, is inexplicable.  Why there is not much hunger for more is sad. 


We can’t buy books online because we are still a cash culture and the little plastic card is still foreign to us.  The few regional and international outlets willing to ship books to Uganda charge such exorbitant fees for the mailing costs that it is not worth the investment.


Thankfully the growing number of used bookstores in the city offer exciting options.  In 2006 Rent-A-Book on Collin House took K’lanerds by storm, 2007 was the year of Fareeds and in 2008 all roads led to The Bookend.


This year, I’m exploring the ‘seedier’ side to the used book business in Kampala.




At the behest of my sometimes-friend, Baz, I went in search of Katongole, the ‘manager’ of a used book stall just outside the Old Taxi Park in Kampala.  Katongole’s makeshift plywood and cardboard stall is home to a vast array of secondhand novels, children’s books, biographies, text books, comics, classics and encyclopedias sold at only 1,000 shillings.  Most of the dust-covered books are tattered, several of their pages are missing and some are not even in English (I found books in Japanese, French, Russian, Afrikaans and Portuguese).  However if you have the time to look through the heaps, you will be surprised by what you will find.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,494 other followers