Do you know how billionaires have made their fortunes over the ages?
They found a need and satisfied it. Right now, there is an emerging need in Uganda that if you could satisfy, would make you a billionaire overnight. It is related to population growth and an emerging middle-class.
Now the emerging middle-class parents in Uganda have one urgent need: They need to protect their children from learning their mother tongues.
A bitter hatred for the languages they grew up speaking has hit our elite class, and they will do anything to prevent their children from learning them.
As such, they ban the speaking of these languages at home and happily for them, the teachers at school also strictly enforce the prohibition on these languages, which they regard as “primitive.”
But there is one, somewhat sensitive obstacle – their parents; the grandparents of the kids. These old people are a danger because they speak vernacular most of the time. Actually, half of them don’t know English and Uganda has no nationally acceptable lingua franca, unlike Kenya and Tanzania where Kiswahili spoken nationwide.
In Uganda, the only un-despised language is English, which people who did not get a formal education cannot speak.
The matter is aggravated by the kids themselves. They tend to love their grannies and seek their company more than that of the parents when the old folk are around. And unfortunately, these old folk tend to spend months at the children’s town homes when they come to undergo medical treatment.
And the dreaded thing happens – they infect the children with their mother tongue.
It was Shakespeare who said that there comes a tide in the affairs of men that, if taken at the flood, leads onto great things. Right now, there is a flood of Ugandan parents who want to condemn their kids to knowing only one language – English.
They pay top dollar to local international schools where their kids can be protected from their own languages. Never mind that a smart young white American who takes a crash programme in Luganda or Luo will outcompete the Ugandan kids, on merit, for a position in Uganda in future.
The parents want them protected from their grandparents and if you invest in an old people’s home NOW, you will never regret it. Middle-class Ugandans will happily ship off their ageing parents to the old people’s homes to keep them away from their precious kids.
This is not a joke. Two decades ago, when pioneers tried to set up funeral homes, nobody was willing to sell them land. How do you do business in handling dead bodies, everyone asked. Today, funeral parlours are among the fastest growing businesses in Uganda.
And opportunities never come singly. If you don’t set up an old people’s home to protect middle-class kids from their mother tongues, you can do the opposite.
Set up a foundation for preserving an endangered language in Uganda. There about 50 of them. Start at Unesco and learn about cultural conservation.
Proceed to secure some land where original Tooro, Acholi and Ganda speakers will be “conserved,” then charge scholars and tourists who want to hear how Ugandans used to speak before they became an English-speaking nation.