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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Every man’s healthy body needs

By Dennis D. Muhumuza

In Uganda, the man is the leader and provider in the home. Even the emancipation of women has not changed that status quo as most men confess they do not know how their working wives spend their salaries.
The women go on the defensive, saying a woman’s money is a woman’s money and the man has no business poking his nose into how she spends it. But that’s a story for another day. For today, the focus is on the healthy choices the man must make to live long and strong to fulfill his roles in society.

Good health and wealth is God’s will for man: “Dear friends, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2).
But how can it be well with your body, soul and mind when you feed poorly, have inadequate rest, and rarely do exercises? And if it’s not well with you in body, soul and mind, how will you be able to lead and provide for your family efficiently and sufficiently?

At a recent Men’s Conference organised by the Men’s Ministry of Makerere Full Gospel Church, the key presenter, Dr Joseph Mwebe, told men that despite advances in research and the glut of accessible information, people are more unwell than before: “Because of poor healthy choices, many men have been hit by an epidemic of diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, allergies and asthma, obesity, low immunity, ulcers, infertility, dehydration, stress and other illnesses that could have been prevented with better health choices.”
Dr Mwebe proposed healthy choices that will keep some common diseases at bay, help in better blood circulation, and keep the mind alert, helping the man to stay vibrant physically and mentally.

Know your health
First, every man who values life should go for a health screening. Test for HIV, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats, know your waist circumference, body mass index, do a liver function test especially if you drink alcohol, screen for cancer (testicular and prostate for men) and visit a dentist. Prevention is better than cure and a timely health screening can prevent all sorts of diseases.

Secondly, most men focus on making money at the expense of their health. They often catch a quick late lunch washed down with soda before they rush back to their desks.

But Heather Morgan, a nutrition expert, says, “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding a disease or fighting it.” It is important for men to feed on a balanced diet.

What your body needs
“Ninety per cent of our diet must be based on plant foods because plants have complete protein and more protein per calorie than animals,” says Dr Mwebe, “and 50 per cent of our foods must be eaten raw. Foods must ideally be eaten ‘whole’ - unrefined and unprocessed; preferably with their seeds and skins.”

Health benefits of eating vegetables such as spinach, nakati, dodo, sukamawiki, cabbages, cucumber, carrots, not forgetting tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic are well known. Even the Bible vouches for vegetables. Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego refused King Nebuchadnezzar’s choice delicacies and wine in favour of vegetables and water.

And in 10 days they were healthier than those who were eating the king’s delicacies (Daniel 1:5-16). So forget chips and sausages. According to Dr Mwebe, sausages cause cancer and are as dangerous as cigarettes. Also, ditch red meat in preference to white meat (fish and poultry - preferably local chicken).

It is important to have enough rest to relax the mind and body after a good day’s work. Doctors recommend at least eight hours of sleep for a reason. That is when the body recharges ready to take on another day. A well-rested body and mind can hardly be stressed. MPs doze in parliament because most of them are unfit and rarely have adequate rest. Realise how important sufficient sleep is and do not stay out late with the boys drinking alcohol or watching soccer.

A man who applies the above healthy living principles will live long and strong.

Drinking lots of water is also a great healthy choice because water is the “single most important nutrient for our bodies.” Dr Mwebe says we are 65 per cent water, our brains are 75 per cent water and our lungs 80 per cent water.

Basically we would be doomed without water. So men, we must drink at least two litres of water each day; room temperature - not hot nor cold.

Also, do not drink while eating, rather drink thirty minutes before and two hours after your meals. Some of the signs that you are not drinking enough water include headaches, backache, constipation, joint pains, fatigue, memory loss and weight problems.

To the workaholic men who rarely have time for exercises you’re unknowingly committing suicide. As Dr Mwebe said succinctly, “Money and insurance can’t make us healthy!” So it’s better to rise from that swivel chair and engage in some sweat-breaking physical activity.

Jog, lift weights, punch a sand bag and achieve maximum fitness. Before you know it you’ll be walking as if on springs like Okonkwo and will become superman to your wife and children.

--Sunday Monitor, June 12, 2016

Fifty years of Song of Lawino

By Dennis D. Muhumuza

The year was 1966 when Okot p’Bitek’s lengthy poem, Song of Lawino as published. Fifty years later, it is still recognised as one of the finest piece of literature to come out of East Africa.That’s why on March 18, Makerere University’s department of Literature together with key players from the humanities and writing sector held a day-long symposium to celebrate the work and its author.

“We organised this to recognise and celebrate Ugandan literary icons that have left indelible marks on the East African literary scene and beyond,” said Dr Susan Kiguli, head of Literature department at Makerere. “In doing this we hope not just to stimulate and revisit critical and cultural debates that the publication of p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino provoked, but also revitalise Ugandan writing.”
Jane Okot P’Bitek Langoya, deputy registrar general Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Prof Taban Lo’ Liyong of University of Juba, South Sudan, Prof Dumba Ssentamu, the Vice Chancellor Makerere University and Prof Molara Ogundipe, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, during the launch of Omulanga Gwa Lawino at Makerere University recently. Photo by Alex Esagala
 The leading critic of African literature, Prof Simon Gikandi, in his keynote address, said Song of Lawino became a canonical literary text very early: “In 1972 the school edition was issued. Apart from the fact that students were reading it for exams, it was also read by the general public, using the language and debate in the book to carry out a conversation on cultural change.”

Prof Gikandi, who has produced an encyclopaedia on African literature, said in spite of the book being very important, it doesn’t always get taught as world literature in American or European universities because the Western world have a very limited notion of the world. “Song of Lawino speaks about a very specific world and Okot is aware of how that world is connected to the other world and one of the advantages of teaching the book is for it to help us expand the notion of the world.”

Prof Gikandi attributed the book’s lasting appeal to its resonance with the people. “The questions and the issues Okot was asking at the time are questions we still ask ourselves. We are always going through periods of cultural transition.”

The Luganda version
Three years after publishing Song of Lawino in English, Okot p’Bitek released the Acholi version because he wanted his book to be accessed in as many languages as possible.

It has since been translated into more than 30 languages; German, French, Spanish, and Indonesian, among others. And during the symposium, its first Luganda version, Omulanga gwa Lawino by Prof Abasi Kiyimba was launched.

In a country where even people with formal education struggle to express themselves in the English language, having our finest literature translated into local languages is certainly a progressive move. As Austin Bukenya commented: “Song of Lawino is the jewel of East African and Ugandan literature. Its translation and making it available to people who do not necessarily speak English is a very remarkable achievement.”

Joshua Kigongo, a teacher of Luganda at Oxford High School in Kyebando, said the Luganda translation will help his students to “gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the language” and hopefully inspire them to write powerfully in the local language.

Isaac Ssettuba, an expert in Luganda, said Prof Kiyimba struck a good balance between the spirit and the letter although for personal reasons he said he would have preferred the title to have a direct translation, ‘Oluyimba gwa Lawino’ not ‘Omulanga gwa Lawino’. “Omulanga is more serious, it’s a call, appeal.”

Gains from the conference
Jimmy Muhangi, a student of literature at Makerere University, who performed a 14-stanza recital of the ‘Buffalos of Poverty Knocking People Down’ from the Song of Lawino said: “There would be no life without inspiration, and all the speakers and writers at the symposium are faces of inspiration that have left me with a creative longing to work harder and represent the face of literature some day.” Such conferences, said novelist Goretti Kyomuhendo, could provide the spark for a reading and writing renaissance reminiscent of the golden years of Ugandan literature – the 1960s.

“Developments in the sciences are very important but no society can call itself a civilization without a thriving arts and culture industry,” said UPC party president Olara Otunnu.

Prof Mahmood Mamdani talked about “hard power and soft power”. Hard power is wielded by rulers and soft power by common people through their culture. “Culture is what makes us human beings and that’s what Song of Lawino is about.”

“We need more literary conferences because they give us the conviction that we can make it like Okot p’Bitek did,” said Judith Uwimana, a student of literature.

Prof Taban lo Liyong’s word to aspiring writers is to work real hard. “Not everybody who puts pen to paper is a writer,” he said. “Writing is difficult. You’ve to know the language fully enough to express what your thoughts are.”

About Okot p’Bitek
Born June 7,1931, in Gulu, this poet with international acclaim to his name for the famous Song of Lawino died July 20, 1982. He self-translated the English version from which Omulanga gwa Lawino was formed.
He followed Song of Lawino with the pendant Song of Ocol (1970), the husband’s reply, Defence of Lawino, White Teeth and Modern Cookery among other works.

As the legendary poetic work of Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino marks 50 years, the literary fraternity across Uganda met to celebrate it with a translated version Omulanga gwa Lawino. Translated by Prof Abasi Kiyimba, this Luganda text is a successful treatise of an attempt to tell our own stories; by our own people.
Prof Kiyimba paid critical attention to the language in Omulanga Gwa Lawino, staying true to Bitek’s meaning despite the word/lingual changes.

“Much as we are saying he eliminated most words in English, it is still a good text, because there are words you can speak in English but cannot say in your local language,” said Rosemary Nakasolya, a Luganda scholar and teacher at Mityana SS.

Kiyimba cleverly rephrased verses like my husband’s anger is “ like the penis of a bee...” to simply obusungu bwe “tebumanyi Njuki”. In English, that translation would mean my husband’s anger ‘does not compare to a bee”.

Therefore, the aspect of language, culture and representation was a very large part of discussion at the symposium. While he was not present to defend his treatise owing to ailment, a consensus was reached that translating it the way he did was marvellous. Charles Kamulegeya also a Luganda scholar said, “It does not take away from the text with text. Even Bitek must have had trouble translating from Acholi to English but at least he is the original author.”

“Translation from English to Luganda, pertaining to the differences in Acholi culture to Buganda should have been tricky. But we appreciate what Prof Kiyimba did,” he said. Prof Kiyimba still maintained general themes in the text.

Justice James Ogoola, the guest of honour, launched the book at Makerere University Main hall, hosted by the university’s Literature department. Panel discussions studied the language, thematic concerns like neo colonialism, immorality, culture, the representation of women in the text and Prof Kiyimba’s choice maintain Bitek’s Acholi words as in Song of Lawino.

Saturday Monitor, March 26, 2016