CUT THE STRINGS

I have always loved cars and this is a passion that was honed from days of old, as a young boy, seated on my father’s lap, holding onto the steering wheel the open road before me mimicking the sound of the engine as I “drove”…vroom vroom…and hooting at any and everything…beep beep.

This was but an illusion, albeit one I enjoyed thoroughly. The truth however, was that my dad was firmly in control; feet on the peddles, one hand on the gear lever and the other hand holding the wheel from below, guiding it, and subsequently my little arms as to where they should go.

If at any point he sensed I was headed for danger, he took control and quickly steered me away from it.

My dad was a puppet master…call him my very own Mister Geppetto and I was his puppet. He held the strings and I moved as he wished and move I did. I am now a little older and I can drive (if that’s what you call what we do on the chaotic streets of Kampala) To free myself from these strings, I had to learn a skill. I had to gather the knowledge and discipline I needed to operate a car and effectively move it from one place to another (when and if I had the money to fuel the damn thing) Suddenly I was free of my dad’s strings; at least in that regard (he still controls me, though more psychologically than physically and financially), but only after he could trust me to let me do what until then was a reserve for him.

In many ways we are puppets, under the illusion that we are in control of what we are doing or whatever it is we want to do. Our thoughts, words and actions are directed by a higher power; the government, your boss…your spouse. We dance to a beat that we have been taught to love. We read from a hymn sheet whose author nobody knows, but whose tunes have become second nature to us. We are part of an orchestra playing to a phantom of a conductor…waving his baton and instructing us as to what to play, when and how. We are not in control.

Alas, we must free ourselves. We must cut the strings that enslave us and link us to our masters. Perhaps we too should become masters…of ourselves. And before I am dragged on my belly through the streets of this here city (as has become the norm by our terribly inhumane law enforcement officers), accused of mobilizing the masses against the powers from “above,” let me absolve myself.

Seek knowledge! Free yourself! The same way I was liberated from the control of my father over the car I drove, having learnt the very skills I needed to take control, so must you.

As I conclude it is only fair that I end on the same note I started; talking about cars. It is my prayer that Vitz owners seek the knowledge to free themselves from what they have until now thought was a car. To appreciate that a bike on 4 wheels is not a car, the same way a cat will never roar as loud as a lion does….

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