The future looks bright for the former security guard. Construction of his multi-million dream house is almost done, a few weeks to his dream wedding. The D-day has finally come and the wedding reception is nothing short of splendor. As the couple is about to cut the cake, he is scared out of sleep by a barking dog. He jumps up in panic and grabs his gun. It was a dream that probably will come true in his next life. He has to get back to work and avoid sleeping on duty, or else he might lose his job as a night watchman.
Every one dreams, but the scope of dreams and the superstition attached to them is as old as humanity.
If you grew up in Africa, superstition is not something new to you. Who can forget the belief that if a black cat crosses your path, it means bad luck? What about the one where an itchy palm translated into money coming your way?
In Africa, some people think that dreaming about eating meat means that death is looming.
In Latin America, dreaming about pregnancy is believed to mean that you are craving for change or looking to find some new, exciting, creative venture.
In Rwanda, for centuries, there were people who were and are still believed to always see what they dreamt come to pass which is termed as Gukabya Inzozi.
But what do people generally make of dreams and the superstition attached to them?
Jimmy Mutabazi, a medical doctor, says that he does not believe that dreams have any meaning.
“I have never believed dreams mean anything. You may think that I don’t believe in dreams because of my profession; you know, Science versus everything else but it actually has nothing to do with that. I think dreams are just a jumbled collection of thoughts, feelings, ideas, pictures, memories, and fears all with no actual structure,” he says.
Ian Wallace is a qualified psychologist who specialises in dreams. He is the author of the bestselling dream book ‘The Top 100 Dreams.’
He says that a dream is how you naturally express a fundamental aspect of your self-awareness.
“This is quite simply all the areas of yourself that you are not consciously aware of. Although these may seem to be of little consequence in waking life, most of your behaviours are driven by your unconscious self and all the information you absorb with it in every waking second,” he says.
And Annette Mbabazi agrees. She says that dreams should not necessarily be believed but they should be scrutinised because they tell us something about where we are emotionally and physically.
“I believe dreams are an extension of our sub conscious. They are indicative of where you are emotionally and physically. The stories your brain puts together using different images, fears, some which you recognise and others which you cannot,” she says.
Mbabazi says that whenever she has a bad dream, her spirit is shaken and she relies on prayer to feel better.
David Anjichi lost his father a few years ago and before he passed on, he says that he kept dreaming about his death. While he doesn’t necessarily believe the myths about dreams, he believes that dreams mirror our lives.
“When my dad was ill, I kept dreaming he had died and that qualified as a nightmare to me. Basically dreams are built around what’s going on in one’s life. If my car was making a funny sound, won’t I dream of an accident?” he wonders.
Daniel Kagubare says that he mostly dreams when he sleeps during the day and mostly dreams about playing with his children or driving a car and believes that trying to follow up dreams is a waste of time.
“Believing that a dream can match reality is superficial. Dreams have meaning only in Indian and American movies,” he says.
According to Michael Rohde Olsen; an expert, researcher and speaker on dreams, dreams about driving may represent the control you have over where you are going in life. He reminds us that the driver is the one making decisions about the direction taken and how fast you get there.
While Kagubare does not believe in dreams, this dream myth seems to be spot on with what is going on in his life.
He recently suspended his graphic design work to pursue business in form of an online hotel booking portal.
“It’s interesting because most of my clients come from Asia and I have never met any and now, indeed, I get to spend time with my children. Don’t be surprised when you see my face on the cover of Forbes Magazine in 2017,” he says.
Shiffah Umuhoza says that she dreams almost every day and has eased into better dreams after having a recurring nightmare for long.
“I used to dream of a ghost sitting on my son’s bed or sometimes on both of us and someone interpreted it for me as ghosts that were actually in my house. I prayed over it and one day, I dreamt about the same again and in my dream, I dragged it to the toilet, flushed, and went back to bed. It never came back and actually someone told me that I was delivered from that evil,” she says.
‘Dreamclouds’ says that dreaming about a ghost could represent an issue from your past that is still unresolved, or pain that is yet to heal, or regrets, all which Umuhoza says that were going on in her life at the time and says that it is possible that there was a connection.
For Jack Rugambwa, there is a different theory to all this.
“When we sleep, many parts of our bodies are in sleeping mode. A few parts stay awake so that we don’t die in our sleep. Those parts that keep working in a very slow mode are lungs, heart and liver. The brain has to shut down. However if any of these working organs function in a higher motion than expected, it wakes up the brain and it produces uncoordinated thoughts,” he says.
A layman divides his dreams into good and bad ones taking bad ones as omens and vice versa. Every culture and every country has their own share of beliefs. Some of them are funny while others are logical.
While we try to make sense of dreams and their myths, let us also remember that it is a fact that in the western countries like the United States, which is at least a century ahead of us in terms of technological development; dreams constitute an interesting subject for research in modern science. What does that say about them? Only time will prove to us what is myth and what is the truth.
A religious perspective
Pastor Emmanuel of Karegyesa of Eglise Anglican au Rwanda (EAR) says, “The Bible has many references to dreams. The Holy Book describes dreams as meaningful and purposeful. However, interpretation can be very difficult. Dreaming mostly depends on our needs and desires. Some come from our own individual wishes, and the bad dreams come from evil. If it is a dream about the bad things I have done, I will repent and hope for His forgiveness. You have to pray and hope that the Lord will help you overcome them.”
He adds that people should seek direction from God, especially when it comes to nightmares. “Jeremiah 29:5-7 tells us to for a better future,” he says.
The pastor advises people to be careful and not fall victim to phony prophets who claim to predict the future through people’s dreams.
Additional information by Sharon Kantengwa
YOUR VOICE: Are dreams an interpretation of real life?
Frank Kanyesigye, communication expert
Generally, I don’t take the majority of the dreams I have seriously. What I actually dwell on are the ones that are recurring dreams. I do give them great thought because they are usually the same but with slight variations.
Faith Ndamage, air hostess
There are some dreams that are intense and I wish that I always remembered mine, but I normally don’t. If I did, I would definitely want to know the meaning and probably seek spiritual guidance from say, my pastor.
Kenneth Asiimwe, entrepreneur
I was introduced to interpreting dreams at a young age as Joseph of the Bible interpreted for the Pharaoh so I get intrigued by dreams. They are just a puzzle quite often and I never really worry about them. There are dreams that are more less a reflection of the upheavals and expectations in our lives and there are bizarre ones in which we are turning into bizarre things like goats. On a grand scale, dreams largely draw from our sub consciousness I think.
Kodi Claire, businesswoman
I am very big on dreams and I now dream stuff and the same thing plays out during the day.
I interpret the dreams for myself or I talk to my pastor. My dreams are vivid and in line with questions I had and others are just dreams helping me see a direction I should take or what is ahead.
Compiled by Nasra Bishumba