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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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There are some things we take for granted when we are still in college or high school only to find it’s actually where our career and passion belongs. Little did I know at one particular moment, I will pack my bags, fuel the car and take a long trek to the land of Bamasaba and Sebei.
After close to 4 hours of a busy highway drive, am ushered into the old historical town of Mbale. By look of things this ancient majorly inhabited by Indians and people of Asian origin, is getting back on its feet in terms of hygiene. Clean and new roads can be seen everywhere with new paintings on buildings and so on. I called Steve who will be my guide on the Semei Kakungulu Heritage trip. From now onwards you will hear more of this name coming back.

Who is Steve?

Steve Posses for a picture with Darius.

Steve as I prefer to call him is a soft spoken young man in his early 40’s or late 30’s by my eyes judgment. Apart from being the proprietor of Semei Kakungulu country lodge he is also married to the great granddaughter of the Mighty Kakungulu, Rachael Kakungulu who also double as co-shareholder of all Kakungulu establishments including the famous Kakungulu Safaris and Semei Kakungulu Country lodge.

Rachael Kakungungulu. The grand grand daughter of Semei Kakungulu


It’s hard to talk about the history of British imperialism and imposition in East Africa without the mention of Kakungulu. He was a mercenary that the British used to impose their rule in major parts of Uganda but especially in what was referred to as Bukedi (East and North East Uganda). From my early years in primary, his collaboration with the British is not contestable but his role as a person is something am yet to know.

Who is Semei Lwakirenzi Kakungulu?

Semei Kakungulu. Internet Picture


Semei Lwakirenzi, who was later awarded the honorary tittle Kakungulu, was a son of a muganda called Semuwamba who was originally from Kazinga village near Seguku in current Busiro County. At an early age Semuwamba left Busiro for the Kingdom of Koki. There he joined the service of the Omukama of Koki, rising to the high post of katikiro. He had seven children one of whom Semei Lwakirenzi. Semuwamba later fell in disfavor and was executed together with his wife.

How did Semei rise to fame?

Kakungulu fled to Buddu in Buganda where he became friend with, and became blood brother of Yusuf Bijakuno, the son of the Pokino (county chief of Buddu). It was around this time that Semei on his old career of elephant hunting. Then early in kabaka Mwanga’s reign he became the mutongole chief of Kirumba in Buddu.
In 1893, when Colonel Henry Colville made a punitive attack on Bunyoro, Kakungulu commanded a force of 1,500 Baganda men who went with Colville and this enhanced Kakungulu’s reputation. In April 1895 Kakungulu was sent to capture two Kings in Lango sub region, this mission failed but he managed to get a lot of booty for himself and other 500 men. He was a man of missions and winning says Steve the proprietor of Semei Kakungulu country lodge and doubles as a guide for the Semei Kakungulu tour.

What do you see in the Semei Kakungulu Heritage Experience?

Me and Steve drove in Kakungulu Safaris Jeep for Just a 10 minutes or less from Mbale town rolling in the lower slopes of Mt. Elgon that ushered us into the home of the great statesman. A man who came from Buganda and conquered the East is none other than Semei Lwakirenzi Kakungulu. What welcomes you is a natural green acacia trees before you enter the magnificent eco-touristic country lodge . Reaching on top of Gangama hill, my soul had already been crippled not to wait for what to feed my eyes and camera on the hill.

Story continues in episode……. 2

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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