Contador Harrison’s day with a battler

March 12, 2014

Talk of day that I wont forget in many years to come. Although “mind my own bizzo” has been part of me, a bludger is the type I can’t spare a minute for but when it comes to a battler he or she can get an audience at any given time or day. Met one who shared with me her astonishing life story, from her traditional childhood in African village all the way to her intellectual awakening and activism in the fight against gender equality, and her current life under a domineering husband who happened to be part of the heated debate and is a close friend of mine. In fact I promised them that they would inspire me to write about their story. As one of my best and most admired figures, her husband is one of the oldest friends I have in Africa and met him while studying in US more than a decade and half ago.The lady is working on a story of the coming of age of an African girl child whose elegance of today can be distinguished with dark past despite being reviled by African men who most of them are chauvinists by nature, her social superstar status and championing of free girl child has even rubbed the husband wrong way and he does not accept the facts that women should have a say in running affairs beyond marriages. With a measured voice, the lady recounted to me and husband how the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad mentality, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of men dominance is unshakeable.

Raised in a strict Christian family and influenced by traditional clans, the lady survived northern Uganda war that ended less than a decade ago after Uganda People’s Defense Forces defeated war criminal Joseph Kony of the infamous Lord Resistance Army that left millions of northern Uganda nursing lifetime wounds.To her, rape committed by Lord Resistance Army members, brutal beatings and killings, adolescence as a devout educationist during the rise of the resistance by Kony and group, and troubled life in United States and later in Sweden serves to remind her how far she has come.  In her early teens, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the United States, where she earned a college degree in peace studies and later tried to help her tragically depressed brothers and sisters adjust to the life in US, and that was when she started fighting for the rights of women and the reform of her tribe view of women as “donkeys.” Shockingly, as we were having a chat, she showed the husband a text message from an aging bloke who had taken dowry and was threatening her with unspecified consequences. In her words, the phone is the main source of constant threats she gets on a daily basis and has refuses to be silenced. The two lives a happy life but ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, in the lady story tells how an underprivileged little girl has evolved out of dutiful obedience courtesy of suppression has become a freedom fighter for future women in African societies. As African governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with traditional pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant to Contador Harrison than that of the battler who left me yearning for more.

Contador Harrison