Of Ugandans And Accents

By • May 17th, 2011 • Category: Suburbans

He was conceived, born and raised on the Richter scale. His blood was used by ancient Roman kings to cure malaria caused by stray fish from the River Nile of Italy. From the immunised part of the English alphabet, we bring you this week’s third suburban legend…

Osman The Great


If you are Ugandan, then you most probably love things from “outside”. It is our hallmark. It’s our “thing”. It is the epitome of our Ugandanness (yeah, I just created that word). If you want to sell anything in Uganda, just brand it as “imported”. It don’t matter what it is, it will sell. Heck, you can even sell air if you brand it as imported (if the Chinese and Japanese did, why not us?).

So, where were we? Yes, our subject of the day – Ugandans and accents. I find it quite interesting how Ugandans are obsessed with exotic accents – American accents, to be precise. We will always find an excuse, no matter how lame, to speak in an American accent (or with a twang, if you like). Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Scenario 1:

There are Ugandans that go study in India, Korea, China, et al, and return home with accents more American than Bill Clinton and Snoop Dogg put together – “Damn you m**** f******* sh*t ********************** nigga!!!” These fellas can spew an entire swearing-in speech bleeped out and full of stars! Even those that go to the UK and get deported the instant they got off the plane follow suit.

Yo yo yo nigga meyn, you wanna gonna get dis carrrr fixed meeeeyyyn?

Scenario 2:

The other day I came across an interesting group of first year students (they prefer they to be referred to as campusers, though their other titles include FORM ONE’S and FRESHERS). So these kids were having a discussion and their leader was chewing loudly, with an open mouth, and speaking in an American accent. Now that was a winner! I laughed and felt disgusted at the same time.

Scenario 3:

This one ain’t on exactly accents per se, but it’s related-ish. We love to use the words “abroad” and “outside” – better known to some as bweru. Serious Ugandans are those that go to Kenya, Tanzania, Kigali and South Sudan, only to return and say they have been abroad. They’ll even rub it in when you call them: “I am still bweru but lemme corr yuurrrr when get barrrck.” The Ugandan will twang into your ears.

The only ones that don’t love exotic stuff? Those that give you another rap – natema akati karara, karara nikaha igara…except for going to German hospitals for the slightest flu treatments and baby deliveries.

Iwe! Haro! Are you talking about me?


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