1 May 2017

Uganda: Looking Back - Personal Memories of Uganda's Troubled Past

analysis

Looking Back: Personal Memories of Uganda's Troubled Past 1970-2000 is volume one of two books chronicling Uganda for 30 years. The other volume is Tragedies of Ugandan Women and Children 1970-2000.

Looking Back is a collection of testimonies from different individuals who experienced events first hand. The book is a compilation of experiences from 24 people from different walks of life and generations over a span 30 years.

The three decades saw Uganda go through political turmoil and the personal memories in the book are a reflection of the history. By sharing their experiences, the authors are saying to the reader that by staying with the scars of war, they are reminded of the futility of war and conflict.

In the forward, Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala calls the book an anthology of personal stories. He goes on to provide a list of first Ugandans to hold offices of importance in the country who met their death at the hands former president Idi Amin.

He goes on to describe the excitement they had when Martyr's Day pilgrims from Tanzania told them of an impending invasion of Uganda by their forces.

In the introductory note to the book, former Uganda Human Rights Commission chairperson Margaret Sekagya calls the experiences in the book a demonstration of the resilience of the people to withstand State torture.

"In fact, the more brutal and tyrannical the regimes became the more the people became aware of what they were lacking in terms of human rights and democracy," she says.

First published in 2009 by Fountain publishers, Looking Back: Personal Memories of Uganda's Troubled Past 1970-2000 is a first person narration of firsthand experience. To many readers below 35 years, it may appear a collection of works of fiction because of the barbarity the authors were subjected to at the time.

The narratives in Looking Back span from the Amin era, through the Tanzanian invasion, Obote II, NRA Bush War to the NRM regime.

Though the time covered in the book has political and security breakdown as the chief denominator, the personal memories in the book are social and economic in nature, giving the book a diverse outlook to life during the 30 years.

The 160-page book was published by Fountain Publishers and is available in leading bookstores countrywide at Shs11,000.

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