Easter time and the changing perceptions around us

I will start by wishing you who is reading this, happy Easter holidays. There is something about these Christian holidays that one could say show a sign of greed when it comes to staying away from work. At my mature age I still have no real clue as to why after celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ we take an extra day in the name of Boxing Day when it is not even Muhammad Ali’s birthday.

When it comes to Easter things go a notch higher with Good Friday being a holiday. It is the day Jesus died and it is called Good Friday. Today is when Jesus rose from the dead and is indeed the big day. Just like Boxing Day, I still struggle to get my head around why Easter Monday is also a day worth staying away from work too. I am sure those with full time jobs must be thinking of stopping to read this already. In my world, holidays mean nothing to the editors whose deadlines never go on holiday.

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday and there were some pictures that got some people worked up regarding how the day was being celebrated in Uganda. In one scenario, the part of Jesus going through Jerusalem on a donkey was done by a white priest from Poland. The image of him on the donkey and blacks all around him had some complaining that it was not a good image since some argue that Jesus was not even white.

I wondered whether we preferred seeing Jesus no longer depicted as white just like in the movies and most books. And if indeed all depictions should be by a black person, can we then export blacks to countries where they may be struggling to find a dark skinned Jesus? What about those countries especially in Latin America where it is normal for one to have the name Jesus appearing on their identification cards? Does that make them more worthy of the Palm Sunday role than others?

The way things are perceived is something that always intrigues me. Transport is a subject that fascinates me a lot and over the years I have always seen how some forms of transport are perceived to be for a certain class of people and not others. I have seen people congratulate others on using air transports and getting shocked that one can survive a long bus ride when they could have just flown. The excitement about the Standard Gauge Railway passenger trains is also fascinating to witness. I have mentioned before that it is sad that we often only get to read about water transport in the region when there has been a disaster.

Motorcycle taxis popularly known as Boda Bodas have often been considered a nuisance by those moving around in cars. They are blamed for the congestion and the accidents. And yet they are a result of a wanting public transport system. They get you where the public transport won’t or won’t do so in time. They are a favourite for those on the move chasing that last shilling or franc in this rat race.

Boda bodas have become quite ubiquitous that some smart entrepreneurs have noticed them and seen an opportunity in them and changing the perceptions around them. One is Walter Wandera a Ugandan who has built an amazing tour business using boda bodas. His business solves the challenge of getting around the congested Kampala roads when you want to tour the city’s tourism sites. His business has grown in leaps and bounds and recently Safe Boda started doing what he does, taking people around the city

Safe Boda also emerged as a solution to the chaotic way Boda Bodas were doing their thing in Kampala for example. Over the time they have one over the hearts of many young people in particular who are keen on safety. Safe Boda is their cool version of Uber the car service. Interestingly, just before penning this, the guys at Uber had also taken note of how lucrative the Boda Boda business is and have launched UberBoda in Kampala. So calling an Uber in Kampala may mean the car or the motorcycle and will still sound cool.

Kigali has Safe Moto as the equivalent of Safe Boda. It had not really caught on when Yego Moto joined the business. What we now know is that Boda Bodas are the new cool business for even multinational businesses. Indeed change (of perceptions) is the only constant in life.


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