I was told a rat that desired to better its self. Fortunately, the genie gave it three wishes. The rat could choose whatever or what it wanted as long as the three wishes were to be maintained. The rat said, ” I think the first thing is to make me become a goat! Their voices are so musical and I really would like to be a goat!” His wish granted he began to trot all over the place in full majesty as a goat.
Sooner than later, he came upon a duck, he admired the way the suck was floating on the water and asked, in full speed to be come a duck! The genie warned him that he had just wasted two wishes in transformations without anything tangible; the rat said its okay let him go about a bit in duck form and return to genie with his last wish. Angered the genie said, “it really doesn’t matter you will always be a rat at heart!” And with that rendered him back into a rat. The rat was suffering from an identity crisis.
Tourism expert, Amos Wekesa, recently said that there was a need to expunge the word “Pearl” from our marketing campaign as a country. Admittedly, I too harbor some sentimental attachment to word but for the life of me I cannot fathom the nature in specific and accurate detail of this pearl. What makes it a pearl? How do we convert this pearl into economic sense of Dollars and Cents?
And pray don’t throw me something nebulous like tourism; that is a very broad spectrum without distinct marks to spur the wheels of advancement and progress. As a country we need to have a concrete sense of identity so that when the world thinks of Uganda that thing comes to mind; today the thing is “Amin!” It is Amin without any pecuniary benefits. Let us either redefine our identity or commercialize the Amin and Aminism.
Consider a few examples I have patched from the wind:
Vodaka is identified with Russia
Football is identified with Brazil
Tequilla is identified with Mexico
Coffee is identified with Ethopia (although Capuucinno and Expresso are words in Italian)
Textiles are identified with China
Car parts are identified with Japan
Spices are identified with India
Culinary delights France and Italy
Spain for bull fights
Gorillas identified with Rwanda (you know the kwita izina annual ceremony?)
Perhaps the challenge of national identity will not be solved until we sort our selves at regional levels. Identifying that which stands out in our varied diversities as Bakiiga, Bamasaaba, Atesots, Acoli, Baganda, Langi, Jopadhola, Batooro, Lugbara etc. There is emerging a trend of cultural festivals which in the main have been successful. These can be the building blocks as we seek for clarity of our identity and what we represent; and what we want people to know us for. If we fail or are slow in identifying this let us quickly and urgently commercialized the Amin, Aminism and its attendant brand linkages.
In this quest we cannot be shy about competing or bench marking our own products/ services with the best that may be! Indeed I know from a first contact of a Russian chap that our varied waragi products are unique and could attract the approval of several connoisseurs. A Kenyan colleague once extolled for me virtues of the Katogo that I could scarcely believe it was the same humble product we had continually ignored.
Whatever it is we need to get clarity of our own sense of identity and be in position to put our candle on the table and show our light to the world.