Dec 9, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Stella Nyanzi: Uganda’s ‘rudest woman’

Her sexually explicit protests have been likened to pornography, but Ugandan activist and writer Stella Nyanzi says sex is the most effective – and fun way – of breaking people’s apathy.

“II I learned very early on that there are some issues in Uganda that are tired and … the only way to attract attention is to introduce a shock value, “the 47-year-old told AFP in an interview in Kampala / p>

And many people have been shockedby Nyanzi’s methods, including President Yoweri Museveni’s call to range “a pair of buttocks” to baring their breasts during a court hearing.

Yet the former university researcher who holds a PhD on Sexuality in Africa and has almost 300,000 followers on Facebook, is unrepentant.

“We do not see or pretend we do not see what is happening in society, especially the excesses and the Violations “under Musevenis Decades of authoritarian rule, she said.

“To tell a violent, militant, brutal regime that you vi olent, stop, doesn’t have as much effect as to say … f * #! the r #! ^ * &! militant p! # * & the dictatorship. “

She paid a high price for her willingness to question authority – was arrested in 2019 for” cyber harassment ” after she posted a profane poem on Facebook about Museveni and a miscarriage after she was beaten in prison.

Although she insists that her losses are “not worth writing home about” , grief is at the center of their efforts to bring Museveni down.

After Nyanzi lost her parents in quick succession six years ago – unable to find life-saving medication or get an ambulance on time – Nyanzi turned to this Humor too, in part to escape the overwhelming sadness that gripped her.

However, in her hands, humor has also become a weapon to channel her anger against a government she has for the death of her parents and hold thousands of Ugandans responsible who do not have access to reliable health care and other public services.

Read: Stella Nyanzi: My activism comes from grief and pain

‘Radical rudeness’

A polarizing figure, Nyanzi has drawn contempt from religious conservatives and even some feminists who criticize their relentless focus on sex.

“I’m fed up with feminists telling me how wrong I am and how wrong I am how I can’t do this is anti-feminist, “she said.

” Just allow me to be free to make my own thinking and protest, “she said, pointing out that her uncompromising approach to sexuality has its origins in pre-Christian Ugandan culture and aims to empower women by encouraging them to discuss taboo topics.

Their tactics are also based on a political tradition of the “radical Rudeness “which has its roots in the anti-colonial struggle.

And while her glowing online diatribes comparing Museveni’s regime to parasitic pubic lice have earned her the label “Uganda’s rudest woman”, she has the strategy of becoming a social outside of the country as well -Media star made.

Online threats from government-loyal trolls don’t worry her.

“I’m not looking for love and hugs,” she said.

“I very consciously and very deliberately go to social media to tell the truth to power, a truth that our traditional public media no longer speak.”

Also, the poisonous rhetoric she encounters is fading Compared to the very real risks faced by many activists in Uganda.

Nyanzi fled to Kenya earlier this year after her partner was allegedly kidnapped and tortured.

Although she is now after Having returned to Kampala, she is considering the possibility of a life in exile with her three kin to protect.

Read: The Ugandan activist Stella Nyanzi flees to Kenya

“Expression of anger”

But the self-proclaimed optimist who arrived in January who voted and lost the general election is not about to throw in the towel.

“The hope that (Uganda) can change and get better for the next generation is what keeps me going,” she said .

With an average age of less than 16, most Ugandans have no memory of life before Museveni. The former rebel took power in 1986 after overthrowing two presidents.

At 77, Nyanzi said he was part of her “father generation”.

“Museveni lives on borrowed time. .. his family and his system will one day be inoperative. “

If that happens, she hopes that her urge to protest will also be a thing of the past.

But until then she will be ready and armed with an arsenal of explicit images intended to shock and provoke change.

“What I do is not erotic and not pornography. It is anger and the expression of anger with my body.”