Shock in the System: David Kato Kisule

In Tearing Ourselves Apart, The Politics of Politics on January 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Gay Uganda

I am at work.

Fact is, my concentration is terrible. Bits and fits, that is when I can concentrate. Seems as if everywhere I turn, I see, think, hear, know only what has happened to David.
My partner was the first to hear the news. I was in the bathroom. And, his shout made me rush out to investigate. It was then I got an sms. From someone else.
No, it did not sink in last night.
My partner was crying. Me, too hardened. Have to express my emotions in different ways. But, I was unsettled.
My partner went, with a few others, to the police in Mukono, and from there to David’s home. Where he was killed. Speculation was rife about what had happened. Yes, David was much more open than I am. He used to say that he was the first ‘out’ gay Ugandan. Indeed, I saw one documentary in which he featured, filmed at his place, which he was still building.
Sad. He built the house. Has barely used it a year. He moved in, as is common here, before the house was ready. But, that is life.
Shit. It is hard. Life, it is hard.
So, of course we are scared. Too many rumours swimming around. Too easy to do something that we would regret later. Now, maybe it is just time to cry and mourn our loss, however we do that.
My partner I left in bed this morning, as I came to work. I know, I can barely concentrate. Thanks to the luck that it is very, very light.
My partner was up the whole night, following the news. I had to sleep. Or, I had to try and sleep. I know, I went to bed, and was awake for most of the night, till he rung me at near to six. Just before my alarm went off.
I am at work…. but, my mind is just not here.
We need to celebrate his life. Maybe that will take our minds off the desperate vulnerability of ours…. how quickly, how easily we can lose all, in the name of nothing, or something.
But, it is a matter of fact that he lived his life. And, was happy. A gay man in Uganda.
I happen to have gone to school with him. Funny. Same schools on a couple of occasions. Different classes. Days long gone, it seems. But, he was like one of those guys you know, faces in the mass of others. Was lost to sight for long years, until he came to one of our first partyies…..
LOL, those were the days.
We held a party in total secrecy. And here comes this stranger who we were not sure of, who wants to be part of us. I didnt remember him from school…., and, even if I had, I was a gay man in Uganda. Caution inbuilt, rubbed in day to day.
David was insistent. He wanted to attend the gay party. Held in a gardens somewhere on the outskirts of Kampala.
I wanted to tell him no. My partner, who was the chief organiser, was ambiguous. And, misled him…. Gave him the wrong address. Poor David had to use his nose to find where the rest of us where.
No, am actually not feeling bad about that. Paranoia is necessary. It is basic to survival, where we are.
But, David enjoyed the party. And, he was soon into the kuchu community. Diving deep.
No bad things talked about those who die? Well, that doesnt take me into account. David was a typical Ugandan gay activist. Persistent, in the face of adversity. Ruthless to get what he wants. Patient, when he needs to. A temper that would erupt when he found himself put in a tough situation.
And, of course, there was a time that he used to drink like a fish. Literally used to live in a bar.
We all have our quirks. And, living, working, doing what we do in Uganda, we are sore, wounded animals, fighting on, barely taking the time to heal, even when we should. That was David.
There was a time when we had to send delegations to tell him it was becoming too much. The drinking. We didnt seem to know how to help him. But, he had kind of calmed down. A bit. But, he was still much above a social drinker.
Times when he lived in Masaka. Was actually a headteacher there, if I remember correctly. Then he moved to Nansana, where he seemed to always have problems with the locals. He was too open as a gay man. He would drink, and challenge them. And, he opened his house to the likes of other gay people when they felt threatened at their homes. The likes of George Oundo, if I remember well. And others.
Then he got a place in Mukono, and started building his house. The house where he was brutally murdered, just yesterday.
Hang them….! His was the face on the front page. Next to Bishop Ssenyonjo.

Sigh… nostalgia….

Maybe for the days when he was still alive to pester us with his demands, his beliefs in what he wanted to have done. He was a doer, and, in a difficult environment, he was an achiever. With scanty resources, he did what he could, and did it fairly well.
Of course he was a human being. Cantankerous, devious, quarrelsome.
But, he was a human being, a fighter, going to the police cells to look for those accused of being gay. Going to court to stand up for our rights. I know Paul Kagaba was that one guy who seemed to be his nemesis. Kagaba says that David ‘recruited’ him into homosexuality. When I knew Kagaba, he was a full grown man, with his faculty around him, and he seemed to be very into men. And women…. So, maybe the ‘recruitment’ didnt fall very far afield!!!!
Kagaba is ex-gay. Ssempa’s new face of the ex-gay.
Even George Oundo knew David. Wonder what he would say now that David is dead? He used to go out on TV, much as Kagaba does today, to name the names of us bad gays…..
No. Is not the time for that.
Today is time to celebrate the life of a human rights activist, whose life, that basic human right of all, was brutally cut short. Just yesterday.
I talked to David the other day, on phone, about his hacked email. We were worried about that seeming non entity now……!
Kato David Kisule. RIP. Wonder where his twin is.
RIP, David



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