Margaret Muhanga: I used to beat Mwenda

  • Andrew Mwenda is a journalist and CEO of The Independent, a news magazine, while his sister Margaret Muhanga, is the legislator for Burahya County in Kabarole District. NICOLAS AKASULA had a chat with the duo about their childhood.

Mwenda

How would you describe Margaret?
Maybe tough, ambitious, hyperactive, entrepreneurial, motivated, talkative, and exceptionally humorous.

What is your earliest memory of her?
One time, armed robbers attacked us at home. They shot through the roof and everyone fled from the house except the two of us. Funnily, she wanted us to hide under the bed but she was yelling at the robbers, which left me wondering.

What is the craziest thing you did together?
I can’t remember, but we must have done so many things. You know I turned 102 years (pun intended) in October, so I can’t remember some of those things.

How often do you meet nowadays?
All the time, even yesterday. We live in the same estate.

What is her favourite outfit?
Maybe bitenge.

Were you always friends?
Yes, we were so close and spent much time together. We played all games whether feminine or masculine together.

What nickname did you have for her?
Kasondondo.

What is she scared of the most?
Snakes. One day, a snake bit her and our brothers made fun that she was talking to it.
What is the craziest thing she did as a child?
Margaret would deal with our father like he was her brother. He was a typical African father, stern, authoritative, tough, but she would just play with his beard. I bet even if she met the Pope, she would deal with him just like she does with Kyamuresire in the market. Whether she met Donald Trump or any other high profile person, she would approach him casually.

How often did you fight?

All the time. We must have fought like a million times, though she would always beat me. She would punish me for doing something wrong, even though the age difference is small.

Did you ever team up to fight someone?
Always.

Muhanga
How would you describe Andrew?
He is very cantankerous, but nice at the same time bambi. You know Mwenda means a dignified person; it is a mixture of nice, royal, and generous. In Rutooro if a person says to you; ‘ogu Mwenda’, they mean; that you are generous. Somehow the name followed him.

What is your earliest memory of him?
First of all, I am 107 years old and he is 102 years. When I completed Senior Four, I taught him English in Primary Six, and Primary Seven at Rutoma Primary School, Kabarole District. So, he owes me his command of good English.

What is the craziest thing you did together?
There was a time we went out to plant maize silk thinking it would grow but wapi… Because we spent a lot of time milking cows, we never got ample time to go to the garden. So when he got the chance, we tried that ridiculous attempt.

How often do you meet nowadays?
A lot, both here and in Fort Portal. Also, it is strange if a day passes by without us talking on phone.

What is his favourite outfit?
He is formal most of the time.

Were you always friends?
He must have told you that I used to beat him a lot. But that aside, bambi we were good friends. I think I was full of energy and needed to use it.

What nickname did you have for him?
To date we call him Kemudde. There was a time the Speaker of Parliament wanted his number, and I sent it to her. Later she called me saying; “But you didn’t give me the contact!”, and I assured her it was the one I had sent and she would save it whichever way she wanted.

What is he scared of the most?
I think he is fearless.

How often did you fight?
We did not, but simply put; I disciplined him. Besides him always following our dad, he and my younger brothers had a tendency of trailing me wherever I was going. So, I would return and beat them.

What is the craziest thing he did as a child?
He secretly followed our dad to eavesdrop conversations with elders. However much they tried sending him away, he would somehow find his way. And when he returned, he would narrate to us with a lot of vigour and authority, as if he had a clue of what was going on or what was discussed

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