It has been my custom to use one last opportunity to speak to you but this time with the medium of the written word.
It has also been my custom to provide some insights to speak to finalists.
Well, in the next few paragraphs, I would like to call you to the duty to think and look beyond yourselves.
You are about to be ushered into the world in which the major currencies are power, pleasure and wealth. There is a lot of cynicism when you see headlines relating to land conflicts, people moving with sacks of money in their vehicles.
Maybe in your life you may have had driving permits given without driving tests, marks you scored fraudulently, spent money you had to lie to get.
Indeed, we are in a world in what honesty is belittled and fraud celebrated. In the words of Paul’s letter to the Romans 1:25 (who exchanged the truth of God for the lie), “we have exchanged the truth for a lie”. In trying to and claiming to be wise we have become fools (“Professing to be wise, they became fools” Romans 1:22.).
A man cannot be taken by his word. The currency of trust has dwindled. Evil has abounded and the hearts of those who seek truth and justice have grown cold. (Matt 24:12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.).
Well, this is not another sermon to whack our conscience into a guilt trip. All I am saying is that the finalists of 2017 are entering the world that is ‘messed up’.
History tells us that by 1970, Uganda was at the same economic level as Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Ghana and Kenya. These were the countries that were on the verge of something great economically. Next time you show your LG phone, TV or Fridge or Samsung phone, laptop or washing machine, remember these were things we are a people should have been making. (Yes, use them but we are supposed to have been making them)
What went wrong? Greed overtook us. The political class and economic leaders decided to swallow many of the roads into their stomachs and braided them into theirs and their children’s hair. Yes, cancer machines, classroom blocks and drugs have financed baby showers, weddings and small castles. How on earth can we celebrate theft just because the thief bought something expensive to show off with.
The factory where some of you should have been working was diverted to restock a private livestock farm and a dream holiday on the sandy beaches of Copa Cabana, Mombasa and Dubai. Stretches of roads leading to some of your home areas have financed private medical visits to the medical tourist destinations.
Is all hope all lost? Of course not. The fact that you are alive is one of the biggest miracles of life. Imagine how you were conceived! How the bones in your body were formed? What was all this for? Was it for just a graduation ceremony, nuptials, build a house, drive a car and then die? There was so much more for which you were made.
I am calling upon you to consider that you were born in this land and have been created for a time such as this. You have been made for a moment like this.
We need a generation that is going to say enough is enough; a generation that is so mad and says right from the depths of their hearts that I am so mad and I will no longer accept mediocrity; I am so mad that I will not accept stolen money to finance my education, lifestyle, hairstyle. Please, please get mad.
Once again you were born for a time like this. You were born in the right country, in the right century and in the right city, to the right set of parents into the right family.
You cannot afford to limit your glory to how many likes you get on social media. Our great grandparents sold off their colleagues as slaves and gave away colonies in exchange for mirrors, clothes and beads. Well, this has not changed. Our educated young people like you are selling off their thinking capacities in return for lingerie, imported fabric (made to look like stylish clothes) and likes on Facebook. The capital T truth is that you are made for a bigger call. What will you do for your locality and country? Do not mistake speaking English and slang with being intelligent. Do not exchange your decency just to be a “slay king or queen”.
Time has come for you to win the independence of this nation, but let it start with getting your independence in your mind.
So don’t you dare believe a lie that you are a mistake! You are not.
“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it, Jesus Christ or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.” (David Foster Wallace, 2005)
I beseech thee to look remember that you were not born to just pay bills. “It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness — awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: “This is water, this is water.” (David Foster Wallace, 2005)
Now May God bless you and Keep you.
May God shine on your path as we build the communities we come from.