In 1993 the movie “Cool Runnings” tickled our sides and our imaginations, those of us in settings similar to the Jamaicans in that movie. The plot had a village of rural Jamaicans (aren’t they all?) sending a team of bobsledders to take part in the Winter Olympics.
It was unbelievable but gave us hope that ordinary, unlikely people were capable of doing anything if they had the determination and focus for it.
The Jamaicans didn’t even have snow or ice cold conditions to help them train, but they persevered enough to dispatch a team to the Winter Games.
Watching the movie, we focused less on the cold, wintry location of the games (I can’t even recall what country hosted the event) but saw a lot of Jamaica’s sunny climes, warm, clean sandy beaches, fun and lively atmosphere and those musically charged, highly entertaining people.
Whereas the film itself earned its backers more than US$150million (back then), it earned Jamaica even ten times that in tourism dollars because of what we saw about the country and the Jamaicans.
These thoughts were running cooly through my mind as I watched the Jamaican netball team extinguish our hopes of the She Cranes bringing home the Netball World Cup this year.
Those thoughts made me realise that even if those heroines haven’t brought back that trophy, they have given us a massive opportunity we shouldn’t let go begging the way we let them go begging in order to honour us with their sweat, talent and positive energy.
We should make a movie about the She Cranes.
This movie would tell the world an inspirational story about the triumph of hard work and perseverance – by this small group of young, energetic, patriotic, hope-filled ladies and their backers fighting all odds to get to Australia for the World Cup.
The movie would portray the girls in their home setting as they go around training for the games with a backdrop of fantastic scenery that will involve waterfalls, national parks, bird sanctuaries, and beautiful forests.
In between training sessions the movies will depict the girls following an organic diet of fresh food from bountiful gardens full of well-arranged crops, and prepared by jolly chefs whipping up different types of Rolex and buxom cooks using things like endaggala to make delicacies like oluwombo.
The banter within the movie, meanwhile, will be full of the positive vibes that most Ugandans represent in their day to day lives – the humour, the hope, the resilience that the She Cranes themselves showed throughout their journey to the World Cup.
And all throughout, the movie script writer will ensure that the icons that represent Uganda are made visible all through so that wherever they are seen thereafter they sell the country to tourists and investors.
On that note, actually, stop for a minute and clap your hands for that Ugandan chap who was wearing the Uganda Cranes t-shirt during the Uganda-Jamaica nailbiter and got featured widely all across Africa (and the world) on TV.
THAT is how to advertise a brand!
Every ten minutes of the She Cranes movie should, for instance, have a shot of the Uganda Cranes and She Cranes t-shirts – which will make our icons even more recognisable and loved wherever we go.
And like the She Cranes, the people wearing those t-shirts will always be engaged in activities that depict hard work – not hanging around in bars ‘living it up’.
Like the She Cranes, all the Ugandans in that movie will be shown heroically solving problems using the meagre resources available to them. Like the She Cranes, all the Ugandans in that movie will show great amounts of strength and resilience, such that our children – boys and girls alike – will all take up netball as their sport of choice!
That movie, ladies and gentlemen, can change very many things for Uganda here and abroad. The script writers can do such a good job at it that we could get the top 100 tax payers in Uganda to donate netball pitches and equipment to schools in every district, and build a stronger supply of players for the She Cranes.
If individuals like Pamela Ankunda (she of National ID fame) could do so much leg work raising interest and funds for this team to go to the World Cup, imagine what the rest of us – individuals, families and companies alike – can achieve?
But we won’t get that message through articles like these or from a barrage of SMS messages – even though that certainly does help; in fact, you must go and read this blog post by Joseph Owino making even more hefty suggestions.
Let’s get a good team of movie makers to make a movie that will draw everybody into Uganda, rallying around the superb work of the She Cranes.
I even have a title suggestion already: ‘For God and My Country’!