Tag Archives: Peace

Happy Independence Day to Uganda.

9 Oct

Happy Independence Day to Uganda.
Anybody who knows me or who follows my work knows that I have a great love for our continent and a special deep rooted love for Uganda. So it is no surprise that I along with my Ugandan family, will be celebrating its independence. As much as the country boasts beauty, tranquility and splendour, like every other county it has its problems and areas that need attention. I will address all of these in this blog.


Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria. Its abundant wildlife includes chimpanzees as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary. Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 43m-tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos.It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate.
Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala. The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking populations migrated to the southern parts of the country.
Luganda, a central language, is widely spoken across the country, and several other languages are also spoken including Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga, and Luo.
According to oral tradition, the Empire of Kitara covered an important part of the great lakes area, from the northern lakes Albert and Kyoga to the southern lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. Bunyoro-Kitara is claimed as the antecedent of the Buganda, Toro, Ankole, and Busoga kingdoms.
The culture of Uganda is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking people, who dominate much of East, Central, and Southern Africa. In Uganda, they include the Baganda and several other tribes. In the north, the Lango and the Acholi peoples predominate, who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who speak a Nilotic language, whereas the Gishu are part of the Bantu and live mainly on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. They speak Lumasaba, which is closely related to the Luhya of Kenya. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda.
The geography of this beautiful country are marked by mountains on its eastern and western borders. In the east, there are a number of volcanic mountains, Mount Elgon the highest at 4,321m. In the west, the Ruwenzori mountains run down much of the border (with Uganda’s highest peak at 5,109m) and in the south are the northernmost of the Virunga range. Lake Victoria is sometimes said to be the source of the Nile. But really, this huge lake has many rivers which feed into it. The Ruvubu and Ruvyironza rivers (in Burundi) are regarded as the ultimate source of the Nile; these are upper branches of the Kagera River (in Rwanda) which flows into Lake Victoria
The Nile is the longest river in the world (at 6,695km). It has many different stretches and flows through a number of east African countries. Uganda’s rivers are mainly seasonal and can be slow and swampy in stretches. Uganda is rich in wildlife and habitats. The country has semi-desert areas in the north-east, swampland along the Albert Nile in the northwest and savannah across some regions. The country also has areas of forest, including the tropical montane forests of the southwest. However, much of southern Uganda’s natural rainforest has been cleared.

The history:
Beginning in 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the British, who established administrative law across the territory. Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by intermittent conflicts, including a lengthy civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Northern Region, which has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties. Uganda gained independence from Britain on 9 October 1962 as a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. In October 1963, Uganda became a republic but maintained its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.

The first post-independence election, held in 1962, was won by an alliance between the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and Kabaka Yekka (KY). UPC and KY formed the first post-independence government with Milton Obote as executive prime minister, with the Buganda Kabaka (King) Edward Muteesa II holding the largely ceremonial position of president.


Uganda came into the spotlight for its laws against LGBT rights in 2007, a Ugandan newspaper, the Red Pepper, published a list of allegedly gay men, many of whom suffered harassment as a result. On 9 October 2010, the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published a front-page article titled “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak” that listed the names, addresses, and photographs of 100 homosexuals alongside a yellow banner that read “Hang Them”. The paper also alleged that homosexuals aimed to recruit Ugandan children. This publication attracted international attention and criticism from human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, No Peace Without Justice and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. According to gay rights activists, many Ugandans have been attacked since the publication. On 27 January 2011, gay rights activist David Kato was murdered.
In 2009, the Ugandan parliament considered an Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would have broadened the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, or are HIV-positive, and engage in same-sex sexual acts. The bill also included provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited back to Uganda for punishment, and included penalties for individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental organisations that support legal protection for homosexuality or sodomy. The private member’s bill was submitted by MP David Bahati in Uganda on 14 October 2009, and was believed to have had widespread support in the Uganda parliament. The hacktivist group Anonymous hacked into Ugandan government websites in protest of the bill. The debate of the bill was delayed in response to global condemnation but was eventually passed on 20 December 2013 and signed by President Yoweri Museveni on 24 February 2014. The death penalty was dropped in the final legislation. The law was widely condemned by the international community. Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden said they would withhold aid. The World Bank on 28 February 2014 said it would postpone a US$90 million loan, while the United States said it was reviewing ties with Uganda. On 1 August 2014, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the bill invalid as it was not passed with the required quorum. A 13 August 2014 news report said that the Ugandan attorney general had dropped all plans to appeal, per a directive from President Museveni who was concerned about foreign reaction to the bill and who also said that any newly introduced bill should not criminalise same-sex relationships between consenting adults.

Ugandan Cuisine:

Ugandan cuisine consists of traditional and modern cooking styles, practices, foods and dishes in Uganda, with English, Arab, and Asian (especially Indian) influences. Like the cuisines of most countries, it varies in complexity, from the most basic, a starchy filler with a sauce of beans or meat, to several-course meals served in upper-class homes and high-end restaurants. Most tribes in Uganda have their own speciality dish or delicacy. Many dishes include various vegetables, potatoes, yams, bananas and other tropical fruits. Chicken, pork, fish (usually fresh, but there is also a dried variety, reconstituted for stewing), beef, goat and mutton are all commonly eaten, although among the rural poor, meats are consumed less than in other areas, and mostly eaten in the form of bushmeat.
My absolute favourite dish is Matooke and ground Peanut sauce. Matoke, is the fruit of a variety of starchy banana, commonly referred to as cooking/green bananas. The fruit is harvested green, carefully peeled and then cooked and often mashed or pounded into a meal. The fruit is steam-cooked, and the mashed meal is considered a national dish in both countries. The Buganda tribe of Uganda do however pride themselves in making the best matooke dishes. Matooke are peeled using a knife, wrapped in the plant’s leaves (or plastic bags), and set in a cooking pot atop the banana stalks. The pot is then placed on a charcoal or wood fire and the matooke is steamed for a couple of hours, water is poured into the bottom of the cooking pot multiple times. The stalks in the bottom of the pot serve to keep the leaf-wrapped fruits above the level of the hot water. While uncooked, the matooke is white and fairly hard; cooking turns it soft and yellow. The matooke is then mashed while still wrapped in the leaves or bags and often served on a fresh banana leaf. It is typically eaten with a sauce made of vegetables, ground peanut, or some type of meat (goat or beef).
Ugandan traditional meal with Matooke steamed and served with luwombo, meat or gnuts steamed in banana leaves. Matoke are also used to make a popular breakfast dish called Katogo in Uganda. Katogo is commonly cooked as a combination of the peeled bananas and peanuts or beef, though offal or goats meat are also common.

Some other traditional and historic Ugandan foods include:

Posho or Kawunga – called Ugali in Kenya, it is usually made from maize but also other starches, regional names include kwon. Ugandan expatriates make posho from cornmeal, masa harina or grits. Kwon is a type of ugali made from millet (called kalo in western Uganda) but in other regions like eastern Uganda they include cassava flour.
Groundnuts (peanuts) – groundnuts are a vital staple and groundnut sauce is probably the most commonly eaten one. They are eaten plain or mixed with smoked fish, smoked meat or mushrooms, and can also be mixed with greens such as borr.
Sim-sim (sesame) – A staple particularly in the north, roasted sesame paste is mixed into a stew of beans or greens and served as a side dish, though sesame paste may also be served as a condiment; a candy is made from roasted sesame seeds with sugar or honey.
Luwombo – A traditional dish from Uganda, in which a stew of either chicken, beef, mushrooms or fish is steamed in banana leaves
Malewa – A traditional dish from eastern Uganda (Bugisu), made from bamboo shoots
Kikomando – A chapati that is cut into pieces and served with fried beans
Uganda is also know as the La Vegas of Africa as it sports a wild and vibrant entertainment scene. In certain parts of Kampala, there are bars and restaurants that operate 24 hours, whether its a quiet drink with friends and dancing to Uganda’s favourite po artists, there is a place that will suit your requirement.

My favourite dinning spots are:
Zone 7, which is co-owned by Gaetano Kagwa. The restaurant/bar is the perfect location for a lunch or dinner or after work drinks session. The establishment hosts a number of of events from sporting to live bands and the well know School party, where revellers are invited to wear their school uniforms and party down to the past decades top 40 hits.

I discovered a great eclectic bar for The Embers, run by two amazingly crazy New Zealanders, who like me fell in love with the country.


Their speciality are their infused cocktails and shoots. My favourite is the chilli tequila.

They also have live events and I was able to catch the performance of ‘Young Cardamom & HAB’. These artists are both Ugandans with roots that reach far beyond their borders.Though they represent the sound of their city, Kampala, the duo’s tracks also blend several influences from South Sudan, India, Atlanta, and Lahore. Cardamom’s parents are actually Ugandan scholar Mahmood Mamdani and filmmaker Mira Nair (Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding). Their song, #1 Spice features in the Disney film: Queen of Katwe.
A lot of their specialised cocktails are made from the world famous Ugandan Waragi.


My favourite chilling to spots include the cocktail bar or poolside at the Serena Hotel, as well as The Royal Suites. I have had the opportunity of living at both 5-star residence. Both boast comfort, safety and true East African hospitality.

The Ugandans entertainment industry is growing at a great speed, with the rise of some of Africa’s most celebrated stars such as Flavia Tumusimme, Gaetano Kagwa, Brian Mulondo, Cedric Ndilima and Sheilah Gashumba. Of course all of these artists are represented by Waka talent Agency, http://www.wakaagency.biz
There has been an emergence of powerful channels being broadcast from Kampala, including the establishment of Kwese TV.


Keeping our girls in school!

18 Jan

 I have been working within the activism space for over a decade now. I started with www.powa.co.za; I did an intensive three month training course, understanding what abuse is, the myths and misconceptions surrounding abuse, court preparation and what our rights are. On completion the course, I started working as training and public awareness volunteer, later I became a member of the board and soon I sat as vice-chairperson for a few years. I began my activist career with POWA as I came to the realisation that I had not truly healed from an abusive relationship. The relationship happened when I was at university and nine years after the incident, I still blamed myself. It was at the point of my life that I knew that although I had some of the best private school education, I was still uneducated. With my training at POWA, I used my public status to talk about my abusive partner, thus bringing healing to myself but I wanted to create awareness around the myths and misconceptions of abuse and let women know that they are not alone and more importantly, push the truth that if it is happening to you, then IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Over the years I have worked with many women and children’s organisations and I have helped promote various campaigns, including working with the V-day foundation, founded by the award winning playwright Eve Ensler, who wrote the award winning book: The Vagina Monologues. I have worked in many disadvantaged communities across Africa, where the main focus has been on education, empowerment and knowing what your rights are. As those messages are incredibly important, there is an important factor that many of us have overlooked when it comes to women empowerment and girl power. That is acknowledging the stigmas that are attached to menstrual health and the reality of how it affects many lives. This includes the fact that due to various living conditions of living below the poverty line, many women and girls cannot afford the necessary tampons/pads nor do they have access to constant running water and washing materials.

 After researching through various websites and organisations, I soon discovered that approximately 50% of the female population is of reproductive age and most of them are menstruating every month. The majority of these ladies have no access to clean and safe sanitary products, or to a clean and private space in which to change menstrual cloths or pads and to wash. In many communities, menstruation is supposed to be invisible and silent, and sometimes, menstruating women and girls are supposed to be invisible and silent, too. Millions of girls and women are subject to restrictions in their daily lives simply because they are menstruating. Besides the health problems due to poor hygiene during menstruation, the lack or unaffordability of facilities and appropriate sanitary products may push menstruating girls temporarily or sometimes permanently out of school, having a negative impact on their right to education. This is a serious problem.

 I then began to research other alternatives to sanitary pads and tampons, as they are incredibly expensive.

 According to http://www.africa.com, Stuart Lewis wrote:

“In her lifetime, the average woman uses 11 000 tampons, or 22 sanitary products (pads or tampons per period). In South Africa with the average tampon costing about R1.50 each (yes, that means R33 a period, or R16 500 in her lifetime) and a pack of 10 sanitary pads costing R18 (which translates to about R36 a period, or R19 800 in her lifetime). This means that having a period is an expense that many cannot afford. Most South Africans still live below the poverty line, which means that they must use alternative means of stemming the flow. These include using towelling or material which is rewashed. However, in some cases this too is unaffordable.”

 As there are many communities across the continent where people live below the poverty line, the situation is the same if not worse, as many communities across Africa do not practice gender equality and the challenges for girls and women are much higher.

 According to Africacheck.org:

Since 2014, various people have claimed that 7 million girls in South Africa are missing school every month because they don’t have access to or money for sanitary products.

 A UNESCO report estimates that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. By some estimates, this equals as much as twenty percent of a given school year.

 So what is the solution to this problem? How can we ensure that girls do not have to miss school due to their menstruation cycles?


  1. We need to break the stigmas and misconceptions that surround menstrual cycles.
  • According to University of Melbourne research fellow Dr Carla Pascoe is that money can still be made from promising women a more effective way to conceal their period.
  • In some societies, menstruation is perceived as unclean or embarrassing, extending even to the mention of menstruation both in public (in the media and advertising) and in private (amongst the friends, in the household, and with men). Many traditional religions consider menstruation as ritually unclean. 


We need to create platforms and educate young ladies, that menstruation a part of womanhood.


  1. Finding a cost effective, hygienic product, that will allow them continue with their lives as normal.


I came across the PrincessD Menstrual cup.



The PrincessD Menstrual cup is a reusable, eco-friendly, cost-effective menstrual cup made of the highest quality medical grade silicone. It is available in 2 sizes (small and large).

The menstrual cup is the ideal, sustainable solution for girls in disadvantaged areas in the world.


How does it work?


  • It comes in two sizes.


– SMALL (20ml)

For girls and women under 30 years old.

Suitable for a light flow.


– LARGE (25ml)

For women over 30 years old.

Suitable for a heavy flow.

 Why is the PrincessD menstrual cup so amazing?

  • It offers up to 12 hours of leak-free protection.
  • The cup is ultra soft and made from hypo-allergenic, non-absorbent medical grade silicone.
  • It is biocompatible and approved by the FDA.
  • It contains no bleach, deodorant or absorbing gels.
  • It is eco-friendly and does not contribute to deforestation.
  • It is easy to insert and remove.
  • It collects and does not absorb.
  • Depending on the flow it can be used for up to 12 hours as a time.
  • Suitable for use during any sports and sleep
  • It is reusable for up to five years.
  • Washing it requires hot water. This is ideal for communities who have limited access to water. After wearing the cup for a full day, it can be removed, rinsed under hot water and reinserted.
  • It is the greener alternative to disposable tampons and pads.


I have decided to partner with this revolutionary product after using the cup for three of my periods. I found it incredibly cost-effective and comfortable.

I will be pushing the brand across the continent and I am looking for Pan African partners.

We need to keep our girls in school.

If you are a corporate company or government or simply an individual who wishes to buy this product or help promote it across Africa, please do contact us. 





The Botswana incident is now behind me.

1 May


This morning as I woke up from a deep and beautiful sleep, I can only but feel the relief and enjoyment of being able to exhale. Last year I was injured during an unfortunate incident that occurred in Botswana where I was punched in the face, which lead to nasal surgery. The incident took place at The Lansmore, Masa square hotel where a fight broke out and I was punched in the face accidentally. The punch was not aimed at me but at David Baitse, who was standing next to me.The events that occurred after, took me through an emotional and psychological roller coaster and I’m happy to say, the matter has been resolved.

 After making an additional trip to Botswana and making copious amounts of phone calls to Botswana police, trying to find out the status of my case and not getting anywhere, Bissau finally called me.

It was last Monday afternoon and he called to apologise for what had occurred in December. To be honest I did not take him serious and he suggested that we meet, so he could make an appropriate apology and that he should take responsibility for his actions. A mediation meeting was set up for 30 April 2014, at my lawyer’s office in Gaborone, Botswana. He was accompanied by is lawyer.

Our meeting was an amicable one, where he acknowledged his wrongdoing and apologised for not acting in the appropriate manner. He also agreed to take care of my medical costs that I incurred from the surgery, hospital and post doctor visits.

The week after the incident happened, Tata Madiba had passed away. On the Sunday after his death was a day of reflection for the world, I lay in bed watching documentaries and tribute pouring in for this phenomenal man. Madiba left us with an amazing legacy and taught us all so many things and forgiveness being the most important and difficult. It was that day I decided I would need to find forgiveness in my heart for Bissau. I prayed and processed my pain, both physically and emotionally. My December holiday i did a lot of resting, crying, praying wondering why this had happened but more importantly focusing on finding that inner peace again.

South Africans must recall the terrible past so that we can deal with it, forgiving where forgiveness is necessary but never forgetting: Nelson Mandela.


So when the apology came through, the past five months of my challenges, struggling and dealing were finally coming to end. He made a comment, that the incident created a lot of attention on him where he should have supplied empathy and support to me. This is common in many assault and abuse cases. I thank him for acknowledging that.


From every negative situation, one can derive positivity and he suggested that this matter is no different. He has agreed that, in the future he will be working with various women’s organisations. NGO’s across the globe struggle with financial support and creating awareness, he has agreed that he will create synergies with NGOs to see where he could assist with their needs.

Since I had received a lot of support from Gender affairs and Emang Basadi in Botswana, perhaps he could lend assistance there as well as the Kagisano Society women’s shelter.


As I asked for assistance from my government via twitter, the incident went viral and I received messages, comments, and retweets etc form across the globe. My host Berry Heart received many calls from around the world, offering their assistance and support and checking if I was safe and alright, she received calls from women in the entertainment industry such as Connie Ferguson and Kuli Roberts and this sparked an idea. Women have had a history of not supporting each other but this was different, she saw how we collectively we can do so much more. We then had dialogue with other women in the arts and we have now formed a synergy titled: Women in arts. WIA is made up of women in the arts space, whether it is singing, poetry, acting, dancing etc. We aim to use our craft and skills to create awareness and create a better and harmonious environment and more importantly we intend to be the voice for so many voiceless women. We need to create dialogue in areas where women have never been allowed to express their feelings, we want to address issues that governments should take further and create change. We want to give inspiration to girls and women and prompt them to live their best lives possible.


The social network attention also created a lot of negative and skeptic comments. One message that came through that really hit home for me was from a woman who tweeted; ‘Women are beaten up everyday, why is it a big thing because it happened to Rosie Motene’. For many days I thought about this and realised that the statement was hurtful but very true. Women are being beaten ever day, in fact every second, why is there only selective noise? This made me realise that we still have a long way to go and that the problem of abuse worldwide needs greater attention.


As I move on and rise like a phoenix from the ashes, I’m grateful and give thanks to many people, including:

The team from Proudly SA

Mr. Clayson Monyela, South Africa’s head of Public Diplomacy.

Mr. Maurizio Mariano.

Ms. Corra Skenjana (Admin Attache) and Ms Mauku (Home Affairs) both of the SA High Commission in Gaborone who attended to the matter on the morning of the incident, they insisted that the police take my statement and transported me to the airport for my emergency flight home.

The department of women, children and people living with disabilities, with he National Council Against Gender-based Violence for connecting me to Interpol.

The SA high commission to Botswana.

Mrs. Wendy Griffiths who assisted with my emergency response.

The V-day team: Cecile Lipworth, Barbara Mhangami and Gina Shmukler.

Lebo and Simba who tried to get the police to attend to the matter and for taking care of collecting my belongings from my hotel and meeting me at the airport before my departure.

Nicole and Sheldon Artman for taking care of me the week of my surgery.

Mbali Kgosidintsi and her family, for offering their assistance on the ground.

Mme. Setswaelo

Emang Basadi

Gender affairs.

Hlomla Dandala for alerting Phat Joe and Pearl Thusi and METROFM for allowing them to broadcast my plea on air.

The RGB team.

The Barbuzano’s

The Ferguson’s

Akin Omotoso and Katarina Hedren.

To all my friends and family, thank you for your support, prayers and love.

My legal team at Radipati and co.

If I have left anyone out, please now that your love is appreciated.

 To my powerful, soul sister Berry Heart. Your strength and love is astounding. I know you endured a lot during that time and I thank you for standing your ground. I thank you for your honesty and bravery.

And finally I thank Bissau for standing up like a man and taking responsibility.


Aluta Continua.


For more information on Women In Arts: WIA, on what we plan to achieve and how you can assist, please contact

Rosie Motene; Rosie@rosiemotene.biz

Berry heart: Berryheart@googlemail.com


Women’s organisations in South Africa and Botswana.

POWA: www.powa.co.za

Department of women, children and people living with disabilities: www.dwcpd.gov.za

Emang Basadi: www.emagbasadi.org.bw

Gender affairs: www.gov.bw


Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.