Dr. Stella Nyanzi
Today is my birthday. I am turning forty-three years old. I am certain that if my mother had not bore me, she would have grown a hump on her back. The life force in me was meant to be.
The past year… what a year full of adventure! I was suspended twice from Makerere University. The first suspension was for my nude protest against the institute’s inability to stop the abuse of my labour rights.
The second suspension was for my Facebook posts criticising the president’s wife who is Minister of Education. I spent six months of the first suspension on a prestigious fellowship in Stellenbosch. I spent thirty-three days of the second suspension in maximum security detention at Luzira Women’s Prison.
The solidarity and support outweighed the condemnation during these intense periods of my life. These were superb learning experiences for me. I wouldn’t change any of it.
There were some firsts for me. I had my first one-night stand. I created my first full-time office at home. I was put on the controversial No Fly List for the first time: banning any air travel for me. I got abducted by police goons for the first time. I lived in a safe-house for the first time. I got my very first urinary tract infection. I petitioned the constitutional court of Uganda against a bad law… Do not believe those who claim that life stops in the forties.
But the most powerful achievement for me in the last one year was being at the heart of #Pads4GirlsUg. While it was exciting to challenge our national leaders who do not fulfil their promises, it was very empowering to witness several concerned individuals contributing towards the purchase and delivery of sanitary pads to school-girls all over Uganda. Giving these menstrual hygiene products to the students was very fulfilling. I learnt the value of service above self.
And so, as I start another year of my life, I am looking forward to the prospects there are for me. I am grabbing this apple of my life, taking huge tasty bites out of it, and enjoying every munch of experience on offer. Life is amazing!