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How Marketing Tourism in Africa Remains a Frustration to Local Journalists

Besides the cost of doing business skyrocketing am this kind of guy who always wanted to give a push to my country and African dream in particular. Way back in 2012 I became a guide of a popular TV reality show on BBC TRAVEL CHANNEL that finally became an eye opener for me about a world westerners had enjoyed for long and to us were busy enjoying writing political stories without showing the best side of Africa. I hate to see only negative on TV and pictures

Am a passionate blogger and video blogger (VLOGGER). Having applied for Journalism at Makerere University and my passion was frustrated by PUJAB (Public university Joint admission Board) a body mandated to admit students into public universities in Uganda. The passion of writing and presenting positive vibes remained in me even after going for a marketing degree which was even better to use my skills and sell the better side of Africa.

Not so long ago it birthed into one of my most creativity child of all times. Travel with Darius TV show. A reality show that’s meant to market destinations especially in Africa my homeland. But listen if you are planning to grab that simple camera like a phone or even big ones I tell you Africa is not the right place to start that. Am serious on this.

From partners, authorities to your neighbors and friends you look like it’s a crime to capture images of videos of even my home country. Actually people resist than animals. While you have a task of zooming in that antelope, you also have a task of fighting security agencies grabbing your cameras or your belt. Today I will narrate to you few instances I have met only in the two countries I call home. Maybe next time I will add DRC story, CONGO BRAZZAVILLE story where I bought a tourist visa and they told me its meant for Land not air arrival. Hhahahahahah funny indeed !! when I gave the guy 10 dollars it changed it into Land arrival visa. But save this for my next blog.

I have traveled over 46 countries and out of these 33 are in Africa. Its where I have meat a lot of challenges than anywhere else.  On my recent trip I was tormented by my own country mate at Katuna boarder that happens to be the main entry and exit of Rwanda and Uganda. For some of you who have never been to this point, this is the only busiest point I guess we should be marketing with passion because it connects to Gorilla highlands of western Uganda, where Tourists who connect form Rwanda pass to go and truck the famous Gorillas. Its Uganda’s international airport for cars in a layman language.

While I grabbed trailers that were parked and the billboard that said welcome to Uganda, a plainly clothed man I have always seen seated there grabbed my camera. I didn’t release it and he pulled me to his cabin. Introduced myself and it’s a very long story.

Despite my efforts to explain to the guy am not mentioning here for the case of my security, he insisted I delete all the footage and I had captured from Kisoro where my trip began, to Rwanda and then to Uganda. If you were me, I bet you would lay your head to be chopped than delete. Finally, we settled on removing my card and he retained it for good. He actually told me to go get a letter from LC1, LC3, RDC and attach my national ID and work ID before I come back for my Card. Holy cow !!!!!!

Another case had happened to me in Rwanda. For some of you who are conversant with Kigali, I was found filming the oldest post genocide catholic church in Rwanda near Kigali CDB lower Kiyovu near Airtel round about. This man who spoke fluently in Kinyarwanda approached me and asked me what I was doing. I pretended I didn’t know Kinyarwanda and he called a friend who spoke to me in Luganda after establishing am a Ugandan. I explained myself to the intestines and lungs and showed them all my IDs and relevant documentation. A minute later they were 3 surrounding me. They held a private talk in Kinyarwanda which I heard well and then came back to me with a  unanimous conclusion that I delete all the footage I had taken. I repeat I did not and I don’t want to tell you where the story ended but will tell you abit huh. A man turned up in a V8 land cruiser and found us arguing, he asked what it was and my purpose. I explained to him and he said, ohhh ohhhh I have watched your show on TV. Some sight of relief. I nodded in agreement with tears rolling on my cheeks. He instructed them to leave me film and go. The boy is doing a good cause. I was later told by the Luganda speaking operative that he is a minister.  I don’t love politics and politicians but We need more of him. What a Christmas gift this minister gave me.

On the last incident was again in Gatuna. Katuna is the Ugandan side and Gatuna is the Rwandan side. So I will use Gatuna to mean Rwandan side. I have used this boarder point for ages since I was a toddler. To me this should be actually a place I call home. So on another fateful day I was capturing a selfie. As a blogger I always want to update people on where I am and road network, weather etc. A different man dressed in civilian attire approached me and taped on my shoulder. Please first watch video from my phone below.

He called me to come to police offices. When I reached there he asked to explain why am capturing a selfie. I explained to him and he didn’t buy the idea. It took me almost an hour for him to browse my phone and make up his mind and return my equipment. So basically he saw everything in my phones including my kid’s nakedness just to mention a few. In Rwanda if you are a foreigner, you are treated more nicely, save the fact that even communication wont be easy for you between that civilian man arresting you and whoever comes into your situation.

But well the question that lingers on my mind is whether it’s a crime to hold a camera when you are black to black. If you know you know. Whites capture these guys even holding guns in our home continent but for us we can’t even film the exit to a national park.

Think of the lame reasoning this man gave me that I should stop filming videos of Uganda because terrorists will follow me and know where to pass and do whatever they want. Does this soldier on the Ugandan said know what tourism efforts in marketing like mine have made his life much better really? After frustrating my day, he was driving a car in front of me from Katuna to Kabale on a good road made from Tourism revenue.

After frustrating my day, he was driving a car in front of me from Katuna to Kabale on a good road made from Tourism revenue.

Are African governments really aware of such hooligans who spoil and frustrate our individual efforts like mine to market this continent or that’s what they are trained to do? If I have all papers that show am a responsible citizen why frustrate my efforts to do my part of keeping the African dream really?

I have more experiences but let me stop here for today and go back to my positive vibes. I have forgiven all that have my memory cards, cameras and content. Keep it and we shall meet when I have bought new ones, you take them again and we market Africa together. Its our home

Please share your experiences while holding that camera…..

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By Edmund Kagire

When I got an invitation to attend the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan the week running October 21 to 27, 2018, I was a bit hesitant to accept it but then I said what the hell, let me just take it on. After all I am the adventurous type.

I set off on October 21 to what turned out to be a whirlwind week of new experiences, exposure and new human connections. The journey was smooth, taking Rwandair from Kigali to Dubai & then Air Astana from Dubai to Astana. I had never heard of the airline. It is a very pleasant airline with good service -one of the best in EuraAsia, if not the best. It boast of over 30 aircraft in its fleet and operates in at least 64 destinations.

Interesting. In Kinyarwanda they say “Akanyoni katagurutse ntikamenya iyo bweze”, literally meaning that a bird that never flies will never know where the millet harvest is. I had been told that racism is rife in Russia and all Slavic countries formerly linked to the Soviet Union. I expected to be ‘unwelcome’ but it was not the case in Kazakhstan. Kazakhs are very hospitable people and will do anything to help you even though you might struggle to communicate if you don’t speak Kazakh or Russian. Right from the airport to the conference centre and malls, they would go out of their way to make sure that all is well. Occasionally, they will talk amongst themselves and laugh but it all seemed in good faith (I didn’t read much into it) and in line with helping you to get what you wanted. Kazakhstan is a very organised country. The discipline and time keeping is impressive.

The Palace of Independence where the meeting was held is a beautiful piece of architecture and hosts thousands of people. The organisation was top notch. The Astana Opera House experience was out of this world. The opera house, which was right opposite my hotel, was breathtaking. It is said to be the 3rd biggest opera house in the world in terms of capacity. I haven’t seen anything well built as that architectural marvel. The performances were overwhelming. Astana is a young city. It turned 20 recently in June but it looks more established than most cities that are over a century old. The architecture in Astana is unbelievable, almost science fiction stuff. I am working on a travel piece for The East African, you will read more details there.

All in all, I just wanted to say that everyday presents us an opportunity to learn and be more informed on what the world has to offer. My perception of Kazakhstan has forever changed for the better. The more we learn, the better we become as human beings. We just have to be open minded

Views expressed in this blog are 100% an experience of the traveller or writter not of Travel With Darius TV Blog

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Some Baganda chauvinists believe and think Kakungulu was a great philanthropist who took religion and education in that area. They sometimes go as far as saying he took civilization in the area. In a distance of 2-3 miles away is a primary and secondary school that was put in memory of Kakungulu. Steve says these are community initiatives to keep the name of the great statesman far high. I passed by the school to see if I can meet anyone who had an idea of what their school name was and whether they could have had an idea to see the man whose banner shines on each corner of their school, they replied me with a big no. From the head teacher to the gateman, they had all studied him in history just like me. At the school you can enjoy drama and plays about Kakungulu if you came at the right time.

Besides being a country home and natures’ hidden paradise, it’s a unique experience of its own. Camping in the middle of the bush with birds singing for you has never been enchanting more than that. To be honest it was my first time to pitch my own tent and I lost a finger nail while pinning screws to hold it. But its worth an experience you should never miss on top of Gangama hill. I cannot forget when heavy rain came at night and my cameraman kept joking Semei Kakungulu has come to visit us. Am not a fun of such jokes but well it scared the hell out of me and have since loved camping even the more. For a photogenic like my friend Mark Metternich, I guess it’s a perfect place for natural photography environments. Sunrises are things to hold onto. When you are seated right in the gardens early morning with all sounds of nature making melodies, you will still see across MT Elgon highest point saying hello handsome.

On the other hand close to Kakungulu’s old home you can view the whole of Mbale town and the whole of Wanale ridge peeping like a beautiful Bamasaba cow.

In March 1899 Kakungulu joined Major Avatt in the operations that captured Kabalega and Mwanga in Lango. Kakungulu himself was responsible for capturing them as they tried escape from the village of Oyam in current Dokolo County. Kabalega had been so wounded that his arm had to be amputated. Kabalega’s three sons were with him. That was Jasi who died of bullet wounds, Andereya Duhaga who later became the Omukama of Bunyoro. Before Kakungulu and Mwanga were handed over to Major Avatt they were incarcerated on this this stone and later went into Exile. Mwanga died in Exile and Kabalega died in Uganda after Omukama requested for his release.

Am not doubting that you can have a full package filled with learning and adventure at Gangama hill in Mbale. I highly recommend you take a trip and you will come back with your own story.

Please note that all views expressed in this blog are my own and from my experience. They not the views of my sponsors or my partners.
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