I am writing this at 21:30 Ireland time. Today, I want to share with you the importance of writing and my dream for a newspaper column. You see, there is a saying that goes that, “when you want to hide something from an African, you put it into writing.” Back then, Africans were not reading that much and literacy rates were very low. Today, many people read, including Ugandans. However, most of the reading is on social media, not books or technical reports or journals. At least that is my opinion.
Back to our issue. I was saying, people are now reading. But few are writing. Many young people call me “mentor” and I get very surprised. I don’t turn down their requests to “mentor” them. And one of the things I overly emphasize is during our “mentoring” sessions is writing. Yes, learning how to write. Putting your ideas into paper. I believe that every person deserves to have the ability to communicate in writing their ideas, feelings, ambitions, and dreams.
Growing up in the early nineties, the last P.O. Box decade, I learned the technicalities of writing and also posting letters through the post office. Although we now have computers and digital technologies, the writing has shifted from paper to digital media. These include digital media such as word processors, blogs, websites, and social media. I do not buy the idea of reading people’s ideas all the time, while you contribute nothing to the world. As you digest other people’s ideas, they mix with yours. Resultantly, your attitudes, thinking, perspectives, knowledge, and beliefs may change. These can be both positively and negatively. For me, writing allows you to express yourself, sometimes in ways can you cannot do in words. It is a very powerful and forceful way of pouring your ideas out into the world.
I encourage young people, right from primary school to learn how to write well. At A-level, your writing should be very good, because at university, you spend less time there and nobody teaches you to write. That is why at university, many students fear “research” in the final year.
For young people, good writing allows you correctly communicate your ideas, write your profile, apply for jobs and helps people understand you better. Keep in mind that, through writing, your ideas travel faster than you. For the projects I have been involved in, I emphasize the need to document everything.
Over the years, I have read and followed many writers and columnists in newspapers. I started buying newspapers in secondary school (S.3). In the Daily Monitor, I always look forward to Charles Onyango Obbo (Wednesday), Daniel Kalinaki, Odobo C. Bichachi, Norbert Mao, Allan Tacca (Sunday) and Josue Okoth. I have also keenly read articles of my Mzee of Kumi University (I forget his name). I also follow Andrew Mwenda’s lengthy and controversial articles.
In the New Vision, it is Gwynne Dyer (Monday), Opiyo Oloya and other balanced articles. Of course, back in the early 2000s, I followed the randy articles of “Tom Rush.” I greatly enjoyed his serial fictional stories that he wrote every week about women and alcohol in the Sunday Magazine, which is now no more. I still miss him.
To improve my view of the world and also get knowledge, I buy newspapers and books a lot. My collection of newspapers and books is huge. I hope to start donating them to schools or start a “community library” project and share them with the world.
Also, I subscribe to many online newsletters for different organizations, companies, projects, and blogs. Though my reading and writing habits have developed over a quite a long time, it is not too late to learn reading and writing. I still believe that my writing will become better so that I can have a column in our leading newspapers were I can pour out my ideas and contribute to intellectual discourse in our beloved country. End.