AFRICAN TIME

This sunday, the priest at my local church had to start the servive with a congregation mostly made up of empty seats that were gradually filled as members of the congregation trickled in for the service. They had missed the introductory remarks of the service. This greatly irritated the priest as I later got to know as he showed his diappointment in his concluding remarks just before he gave the final blessing. The thrust of his argument was about time keeping. This got me thinking and I felt compelled to write something about it especially as regards the poor time keeping habit of many Ugandans.

‘African time’ were the two words that stood out from his brief speech. These two words will you find in the daily talk of many Ugandans as adefence or excuse for their not being punctual. It’s really a misfortune for lack of a better word.

Some time ago when I was reading about a success story of one of the Ugandans formerly in the diaspora in one of the dailies, he said’going for kyeyo taught me to value time’ and as the words and experiences of this man covered the subsquent lines of the article, it was evident that time management was an integral part of his success and his new status as a successful man.

In Uganda, I haven’t been to a meeting or any gathering of any kind that has began at exactly the time it was scheduled to commence, not even the opposition rallies. A few examples are the class day meetings were parents meet school teachers, public meetings I have attended includng one where the President was to give a speech to group of supproters but arrived two hours after his appointed time for giving the speech. Now I can imaging it must have been urgent for the President to take care of somethings.

That a side, I would like to imagine you too have noted this or even had it elsewhere that Ugandans are generally poor at keeping time. They always seem to give an excuse of it being ‘African time’ for their inabilty to be punctual. How pathetic! Incase you are wondering how late I was for the service, well is wasn’t. I was ten minutes early.

As I conclude, ‘lets show that we are civilised and get pricipled and keep time,’ a loose excerpt from the priest’s words.

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