‘Tupakasa’ – changing the slogan of the Ugandan youth from ‘Tuchakala’ and ‘Tusaba Gavumenti Etuyambe’

ONE of my favourite questions when meeting new, potential employees, workmates or professional associates is, “What’s your favourite TV programme?”

I don’t ask this in the spirit of my youth when it was followed up with an offer of video tape exchanges, but to establish what type of person I am about to engage in business or professional interaction with. Some confess to being addicts of thrill TV shows and others proclaim a love for comedy and music; all natural since TV is generally just light entertainment.

I’m forcing more and more of them, though, to go for business entertainment; programming that entertains while igniting one’s entrepreneurial spark. Business entertainment develops one’s business knowledge, sharpens one enterprise, inspires one to work and act better with ideas and business-related motivation.

I myself only discovered this part of life – not just TV – recently, otherwise I would have done many things very differently earlier in life. Last weekend presented a set of options as the Pakasa Forum took course at the same time as the Navio Daytime Rap concert just a kilometre apart from each other – one in a school auditorium, the other at a popular entertainment hangout. The irony of hearing that more young people went into a school auditorium than to a popular entertainment hangout during school holidays stuck with me for a while.

That morning, as I arrived at the venue – of the #Pakasa4 forum of course, I noticed that Panamera was right across the road and empty, then both tweeted and twittered lightly that some people might have spent the night at Panamera on the pretext of waiting up for #Pakasa4.

Of course there were none; all the faces I saw inside the auditorium from as early as 7:30am were avid, agog, and other such adjectives. By 8:30am the room was filling up steadily and I was gratified that I had made it – my mission was to be inspired, not by Uhuru alone, but by the youths in the room; young people hungry for inspiration in entrepreneurship and business, seeking networking opportunities, asking for knowledge, information, wisdom.

My hopes were well-met.

Even without speaking directly with many of them, I was happy to hear their views, ideas and frustrations well laid out; and overjoyed when a couple of them took to the microphone to tell us they had written books about one thing or another! One chap, Emmanuel Emodoi I heard his name pronounced as, was only twenty-six (26) years old and told us he had started out after school about a year ago with Ushs70,000 which he used to start up his own motor vehicle workshop (aka a garage).

“What?!” you mentally exclaim? So did I.

Ushs70,000 went into the premises and some motor oil, since he figured that what he needed most was good customer service and technical know how. Fast forward to #Pakasa4 and he has three (3 – SATU – TATU – ISAATU!) garages and might be going over to service a client in Nairobi, Kenya soon (NOT Uhuru Kenyatta, as far as we know).

How is that NOT inspiring, even for me?

I’ve used Ushs70,000 many times before on very many things that have not resulted in three garages employing thirty (30) people…and continue to do so.

I’m still considering a way to hunt him down so I test his method with even ten times that Ushs70,000 and see if I will have profitability to speak of a year down the road.

That’s the inspiration #Pakasa4 provided; rather than the ones who keep going on about inequality, unfairness and other ills of society.

Refreshing. 20140823_153105

So was the Kenyan President, whose ordinariness in conversation was more than balanced out by the intellectual connections he made in the room; another reason I was there – to hear a politician speak more than platitudes and pledges and promises.

I like politicians like CEOs – stressing good performance; showing urgency of delivery; expressing seriousness of purpose; placing focus on specific objectives; identifying reachable, measurable targets; paying attention to reputation; listening clearly rather than speaking loudly.

And I despair at the way, instead, some CEOs act like bad politicians – exaggerating their importance at all times, demanding for title recognition, comporting like lords, and wallowing in unaffordable excess.


Uhuru gave me hope that more corporate, middle-class fellows can join politics and be useful, positive, progressive, profitable, people-based, realistic, grounded…(insert more words here). Uhuru ticked all boxes as he interacted with the switched-on youth who were not drinking or doing drugs; or trying to get their photo into the papers; or rack up more Facebook likes and Twitter re-tweets; or get paid an attendance allowance.

One day, we can hope, our favourite CEOs of successful local, home-grown brands or a national President, might declare that they spent more time at such forums or watching business entertainment than at concerts, nightclubs and consuming mind-numbing thrill TV night after night.

And the youths that are the majority in this country will say ‘Tupakasa!’ instead of ‘Tuchakala‘ and ‘Tusaba Gavumenti Etuyambe‘.


4 thoughts on “‘Tupakasa’ – changing the slogan of the Ugandan youth from ‘Tuchakala’ and ‘Tusaba Gavumenti Etuyambe’

  1. Good! Ugandans need inspiration,but this article fails to note that Uganda’s Total Entrepreneurial Activity index(TEA) is one of the highest in world according GEM reports. This means that Ugandans (youth) are actively starting-up businesses. The same reports show Uganda having the highest businesses closure rate, and they put it to the poor business environment. The focus should be on how and who to support the businesses started. As long as we fail to realize the core issues, the slogans will remain Mutuyambe or bakoowa.


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