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Those From Among You: An Empowering African Story

Those From Among You is a docu-series that follows Uganda's history, from traditional societies to the time of colonialism, the tumultuous periods after Independence, and up until the modern day.
posted onJuly 10, 2023

By Jonah Ruhima

In the words of Graça Machel, "Africa's story has often been told by others, but it is time for us to take the pen and write our own narrative. We are the protagonists, the heroes, and the authors of our own destiny."

The importance and need for Africans to tell the African story cannot be overstated. For far too long, the narrative of Africa has been shaped and controlled by outsiders, often in a negative and stereotypical way. This has led to a distorted view of the continent, one that is often associated with poverty, disease, and conflict.

By telling our own story, Africans can reclaim their narrative and provide a more accurate and nuanced portrayal of their continent. In the past few years, Africa has produced many writers and actors who have made tremendous efforts and achieved success in telling the African story.

Telling the African story is essential for promoting cultural understanding, celebrating diversity, inspiring pride, preserving history, and empowering voices. It is a crucial step towards a more accurate and balanced portrayal of Africa and its people. Using her social media handles (Instagram and Twitter), Mrs. Karugire Natasha Museveni recently announced that on July 27, she will be releasing Those From Among You, which is another effort by Africans to tell our own stories.

Those From Among You is a docu-series that follows Uganda's history, from traditional societies to the time of colonialism, the tumultuous periods after Independence, and up until the modern day. The series chronicles the rise of the National Resistance Army/Movement led by Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, as told by different participants, comrades, observers, and historians. The series will contain never-before-seen archive footage that presents a compelling account of Uganda's journey thus far.

Mrs. Natasha Karugire is not new to these Pan-African efforts; she's a remarkable individual who has made significant efforts to tell the African story. Through her work as a filmmaker, writer, and fashion designer, she has endeavored to tell the African story and help young generations take pride in their heritage and identity.

In 2018, she directed a biopic of Uganda’s Bush War called 27 Guns. In this movie, Mrs. Karugire Natasha Museveni, who was the writer and director, gave viewers a deep understanding of Uganda's journey of liberation and the sacrifices made by NRA revolutionaries to liberate the country.

In 2020, Mrs. Karugire published an autobiography titled 'What’s in a Name: Kainembabazi', in which she gives readers a peek into her life and her account of Ugandan history. In this book, she talks about the need for Africans to tell their stories. She talks about an incident in 2016 while writing the script of 27 Guns, when she went to a British lady who was part of the film industry for advice.

On page 144-145, she writes: "In October of 2016, I was in England for a few days. The Script I had been writing was almost complete. I met a British lady, who was part of the film industry, whom I had met a few years earlier in Kampala. I asked for advice on the best way to go about making a film, especially one based on true events and on living legends. She said she did not think it was a story worth telling. I asked about the film 'The last king of Scotland' about Idi Amin, a film made by a British production company. I asked what, in her view, made one story worth telling, over another.

"She explained that with the latter, the advantage is that it was told through the eyes of a fictional Scottish doctor, whereas the story I had written was all about the Africans who had fought and, with the Lord as their help, won a hard war, assisted, in part, by fellow Africans. I countered again by saying the Bush war was similar, in modern history, to the Cuban revolution, led by Fidel Castro and his lieutenants, like Che Guevera. To which she responded, 'No offence, but your father is no Che.'

"I thought: 'No, he is not. He is Yoweri Museveni, son of Kaguta. African revolutionary and visionary. A giant among men.' She shared that it may matter to me and my family, but not beyond that. As I drove away that meeting, I wrestled with so many emotions. I felt she was from handing me a clamp to place firmly over my own mouth. My heart was pounding in my ears. I got back to my room and shut the door and prayed. I poured my thoughts and feelings out to the Lord. In the end, I forgave myself for seeking advice from her. She, in many ways, represented the system that was crumbling. I realized that I did not need permission or validation from parties so far removed from our story. Her words and general demeanor worked as a propellant.

"It was Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, who said, 'The story of Africa is not just about poverty, disease, and despair. It is about resilience, innovation, and the indomitable spirit of a people determined to write their own story.' And Miriam Makeba also said, 'Africa has her mysteries, and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them."

This story of Mrs. Natasha Karugire's encounter with this woman speaks of her commitment and courage to tell our African story, and it's a great inspiration to many of us as we pursue our goals, provided our conscience is clear. Let no one's negativity distract us from the bigger calling. The story of NRA liberation or Uganda in general is not only about President Museveni or his family, as this woman tried to portray it out of ignorance and the usual white stereotypes about Africa. It's a great story of courage, resilience, and honestly, miracles that involve many Ugandans who have made and continue to make great sacrifices for their country and the generations to come.

Preserving and telling this history through these movies and books will help the current and future generations in every choice they make to know the history of our country and the sacrifices made to build the great homeland that we now enjoy.

Former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said in his speech on April 14th, 1988, that Uganda’s world had "collapsed" and could not be rebuilt even in 100 years. Yet it took only 14 years (1986–2000) for our country to rebound and reach its 1970 peak in GDP per capita. This recovery, in the face of such doomsday predictions, shows how remarkable Uganda’s economic reconstruction and state reconfiguration have been, and this is part of a prestigious story we must tell the world.

The engagement between Mrs.Karugire and the British lady exposes the global issue of Anti-black racism where horrific stories that are very important in black history have been ignored or given less attention by the world, especially the West that controls the media, amongst many other reasons to avoid accountability on their part for their contributions to those horrific incidents, and the urgent need for Africans to start documenting and filming our own stories.

Consider the example of the Holocaust. No Jewish person allows the world to forget the genocide of over 6 million Jews, and there are laws in various states that criminalize Holocaust denial. It's embedded in the USA's foreign policy, but somehow the world never mentions the massacre of over 15 million Congolese by King Leopold II of Belgium or the massacre of millions and millions of Africans during the colonial period and slavery.

Brian Kagoro, a renowned Pan-Africanist and Zimbabwean lawyer, recently said, "The most fundamental challenge of our times is not white supremacy but black inferiority and the abiding appetite of African elites to function on the basis of white embrace."

And it is for this reason that I want to appreciate Mrs. Natasha Karugire for not giving up on her calling simply because one white woman, despite her influence and experience in the film industry, didn't approve it. Africa needs more of these bold people to stand up against white supremacy and this system designed against us and courageously advance our Pan-African agendas.

I conclude with the words of El Commandante Fidel Castro, who said, "There is only one formula to win; there is only one way for our people to get ahead; there is only one way to achieve victory, and that is courage". I commend Mrs. Natasha Museveni Karugire for her courage in telling our African story, her deep love for Uganda and Africa, and her unwavering support of the NRA revolution. You're an inspiration to many of us, and we are eagerly waiting to watch, 'Those From Among You' docu-series.


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Kp Reporter - Chief editor

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