Uganda’s Exogenous Knowledge

During the colonial period, knowledge systems of the English, who colonised the territory now known as Uganda, were overtly enforced in the territory. The older generations of the descendants of ‘African-Ugandans’, for example, will recall how severely they were forced to learn English at school and to abandon speaking their own ‘African-Ugandan’ languages.

Evidence of success in enforcing the English language is apparent in the territory. As recent as 2014, for example, Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire penned a critique titled: “Why are schools punishing children for speaking African languages?”

undefinedGovernment cautions teachers against punishing children for speaking vernacular.”

Mwesigire criticised schools that still punish pupils for speaking ‘African-Ugandan’ languages; which according to the schools, apparently, the pupils are punished for they committed the offence of ‘speaking vernacular’.

The English ceded physical governance of the territory, but exogenous knowledge covertly continues to influence the ‘independent’ territory. ‘Global-westernised-Recaptive-Ugandans’, who are persuaded of the need to ethnocide ‘African-Ugandan’ culture, clearly remain significantly present in the territory.

After all, Uganda is essentially an African nation-state that was formed and is governed on European models. This phenomenon, for example, is well described by Basil Davidson in his book “The Black Man’s Burden – Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State.”

At ‘independence’, after physical colonisation, when the ‘independnt’ nation-state of Uganda was formed, the territory was not restored back to the cultures of the legitimate owners of the territory, the first nations of the territory, the pre-colonial ‘African-Ugandan’ cultures. Instead, Uganda the nation-state was modelled on English culture.

This was done covertly, with the population hoodwinked into believing that the ‘new’ nation-state would be constituted of a positive fusion of exogenous and endogenous knowledge. Such deception is deducible from the first Prime Minister Apollo Obote’s inaugural speech, as it was published by the Daily Monitor. In his inaugural speech Prime Minister Obote said:

“It is up to us now, more than ever, in shaping our new country to achieve a consolidation in which neither the rapid progress of recent years nor the age old customs of our forefathers are lost or diminished, but rather fused onto a new national characteristic in which the best is preserved, while the worst may be thrown away.”

His Excellency Apollo Milton Obote, the first Prime Minister of Uganda

Uganda the nation-state did not fuse into its design the best of the “age-old customs of our forefathers”. The Prime Minister Obote led Administration of ‘global-westernised-recaptive-Ugandans’ did not ensure that the best of the “rapid progress” and the best of the “age old customs of our forefathers” were preserved and factored into the design of the ‘new country’.

In failing to fuse the two sets of knowledge, Uganda’s endogenous knowledge and the exogenous knowledge of the English, into the character of the ‘new country’, right from day one, Uganda the nation-state is structurally designed to sustain cultural imperialism; the kind that equates progress or being progressive to exogenous knowledge.

Not only did the Prime Minister Obote led Administration base the design Uganda the nation-state on exogenous knowledge, it did not sort through the exogenous knowledge, in order to take only that which was the best and throw away that which was the worst. The best and the worst of exogenous knowledge were equally accommodated.

undefined“Kill that mother tongue, or conserve it? That, in ‘English’ Uganda, is the question.”

‘Global-westernised-recaptive-Ugandans’, such as was Prime Minister Obote, after all, associate exogenous knowledge from the global-west as being inherently the best. Consequently, within the formal context of Uganda the nation-state, the age old customs of ‘African-Ugandan’ culture of the pre-colonial period are diminished and subjugated, at best; or are completely disregarded, at worst.

While the colonialists physically left the territory, their knowledge remains and continues to wield significant influence Uganda the nation-sate. English, the official language. It is not an ‘African-Ugandan’ language that is the official language of Uganda, but rather it is the language of those who colonised the territory that is the official language of the nation-state.

Featured post photo: “Do they speak English in Uganda? A question often asked by tourists.  

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