Why do people leave their homes to go visit other countries?
Why would they save their monies over the year for a holiday? In the Aristotelian tradition, we would say it is happiness we are looking for – though that may be a lower level of happiness because it is for the sake of another, not for its own sake.
More specifically, for the hedonists, it is for the sake of finding pleasure and avoiding/reducing pain. What then is the pleasure in travelling?
Bill Bryson says: “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.” You do not want to travel all the way to another land for a new experience only to find the same stuff you left at home.
Therefore, every place that seeks to attract tourists should cut itself a niche for some uniqueness worth convincing a foreigner into abandoning the comfort of their home. As viewed by Lucy Long, “the basis of tourism is perception of otherness, of something being different from the usual.”
One of the low ends of making the world a ‘global village’ is precisely in the homogenisation of the globe – travelling to other places and having nothing to bring back home because all is almost the same! Diversity makes the world a beautiful place; attempts at building one uniform world are going to make it so boring.
In view of this fact, I propose that Uganda capitalises on its disorder and bits of chaos to boost tourism. Partly, my suggestion is based on doubt that we can sort some of this disorder any time soon.
It is said that the older you are, the harder it is to lose weight, because your body and your fat have become good buddies. In the same way, we are now buddies with our kavuyo.
I can guarantee that, considering how good we already are in that sector. If only we give it a little more deliberate effort, no one can beat us. Besides, we are already internationally renowned at beating. Our veiled opportunity could be knocking while we sit inside complaining about the noise. Here are a few things we can focus on.
These hundreds of boda bodas that move in all directions in the middle of the city, crossing, knocking, bumping, and turning at whichever point they wish could be a tourism gem.
A tourist coming from those extremely organised societies would be awed at such sights and find a lot to tell back home – especially where they enjoy hearing stories that confirm their assumptions about Africa’s primitiveness.
The insults hurled by these bodaboda riders and taxi drivers at their victims will also be of particular value. We can employ some guides to translate them for visitors, or write some handy ‘Guide to Kampala Insults.’
Generally, as a society, we are advanced at the art of insult. For quick verification, visit the Facebook pages of the President, Bebe Cool, and some other called Mama Tendo.
It is quite unfair that the world has not considered an Insult Tournament; may be because it was obvious who the winners would be. We may not engage you in a physical fight, but are capable of verbally paralysing our target.
Many people do not actually believe that in some parts of the world humans are still caned on the streets. They desire to witness these scenes that they may never have a chance to see at home.
I have seen soldiers matching in lines with guns and huge canes/timber on Kampala streets and suburbs. That is amazing! Make sure that such images circulate all over the globe with catchy captions such as: ‘You doubt this? Visit Uganda’.
Images of journalists being assaulted with canes and pliers should be appreciated for their potential contribution to our GDP. Some have argued that such scenes scare away potential investors, but I think that is a shallow analysis. In basic economic terms, that is simply opportunity cost.
Doesn’t it make economic sense if in the process of attracting one thousand tourists we lost about 50 potential investors?
So, let the ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities take charge of circulating these pictures and videos. Besides, it is also a good way of internationally showcasing the civility of our army to naïve critics and imperialists.
They will appreciate that, whereas our soldiers were carrying guns, they did not use them. They only flogged intensely and kicked, just that.
And they are humanly cautious not to hit delicate parts of the body. They only hit hard parts such as the head. Never mind that a few journalists will scream as though someone has stolen their large intestine.
There are some behavioural phenomena that the psychologist Sigmund Freud refers to as ‘penis envy’ and ‘castration anxiety’. We should encourage tourists to come and see how these theories are tested and put to practical use by our security forces through utilising the genitals of suspects.
That ‘wuuwiiwuuwii’ video (©Lukwago) plus images of these limping MPs would work effectively in spicing up our innovation. Note emphatically that democracy is not going to attract tourists here; it is the bizarre that the other world desires to see.
We have these other seemingly minor phenomena but highly potent if we publicised their presence. For example, those notices: ‘do not urinate here – Fine 200,000/’; ‘do not dump rubbish here’, ‘this land is NOT FOR SALE’…
Oh, and the writings on cars: ‘Faridah wampisa bubi’ (Faridah you mistreated me)… The random trucks with huge speakers announcing concerts and merchandise at maximum volume in the city! Tourists might also need to see all these several very important ‘leaders’ that we must give way on the road.
The author works with the Center for African Studies at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi.