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Tuesday, 13 December 2011 13:05 administrator
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The good and the bad about this family car

Going by the number of Toyota Ipsums on the road, it obvious­ly is a popular buy. Could it be the price? Compared to other seven-seater MPVs like Mazda, Estima, and the Oddysey, it is a bargain but hav­ing spoken to some owners there is more to this versatile family car.

It is functional, comfortable, easy to maintain, and affordable. It also has good fuel economy, an important consideration in these times of high prices. A well maintained 2.4cc 2000 model Ipsum will easily give you 14kms on a highway. Not bad for an MPV of that power.

 


Some say it’s ugly but of course that in the eyes of the beholder.

 

In reality most people are attracted by its ample luggage space even when all seven seats are occupied by adults. It is quite comfortable. Some have front and rear AC blower. And the 2.4cc engine packs some power.

The Ipsum is easy to service and repair as body and engine parts are easily available in Kiseka, the down­town used parts market in Kampala.

The engine parts are similar though to the pricier Estima, so you could find a few items selling a bit high but they should still be affordable.

Recently, I have noticed that politi­cians love them for their sun-roof; obviously is it is a cheap way to do a superstar wave to con­stituents on a campaign trail. Sun-roofs are cool will young fami­lies, as younger c h i l d r e n enjoy popping their heads out during a leisure evening drive about. How­ever, if none of the above is a measure issue, avoid the sun-roof Ipsum. They could be hard to maintain as the hard­ened rubber may crack and cause the roof to leak.

The Estima is more spacious and bigger in size and look really chic. It also sits seven but they are more comfortable leg-roomwise, and it has more luggage space. But some­one who owns both says the Ipsum is more comfortable to drive because of its smaller size and lower weight but with a big 2.4cc engine.

So the Ipsum is still a good buy this season. However, this last point is very, very important. To own an Ipsum comfortably, one must throw prestige out of the window, hit the functional button hard, and harden your skin not to be irritated when you see an Ipsum taxi in Iganga, a bread vending Ipsum in Kampala, and a Nsenene ferrying Ipsum in Masaka. Such things do not bother me but don’t buy an Ipsum if they do. Resale value is quite good especially for the lower-end earlier models.

 
Monday, 05 December 2011 13:24 By Angelo Kakande (F.J.)
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Confronted with incessant public demonstrations over poverty, the state would want to hear that Kampalans are nevertheless happy

On Oct.14, George W. Kyeyune mounted his ’The Kampala I Will Always Come Back To (2011)’. The exhibition showcased the artist’s recent paintings representing the hard sociopolitical struggles that the man/woman on the streets of Kampala goes through.

As representations of life in Kampala, Kyeyune’s paintings are not portraits of individuals or groups. They are in the first place art. In the second, they are sanitised versions of reality intended to suit middle class and tourist aesthetic tastes. In the third place, they carry the risks of pandering to state propaganda.

Kyeyune is a prolific painter and sculptor. He graduated from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts (MTSIFA) with a Bachelor of Arts Fine Art degree in 1984. By the time he was in the second year of his undergraduate programme, Kyeyune had mastered the skill and expressionist style we see in his exhibition at Afriart Gallery.

 
Monday, 05 December 2011 13:21 administrator
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One Day I Will Write About This Place - Binyavanga WainainaOne Day I will write about this place

Author: Binyavanga Wainaina

Publisher: Graywolf Press, 272pp (2011)

The cover of Binyavanga Wainaina’s memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, looks, at first sight, like the image the Ministry of Health likes to use on its posters to warn against the effects of smoking.

The human being in the image has all been eaten up only some sort of humanly shape remains.

The image is intended to portray how smoking has the effect of damaging nearly every part of a human body beyond recognition.

Even after close scrutiny, Binyavanga’s cover retains a number of similarities with the anti-smoking image.

 
Monday, 05 December 2011 13:04 administrator
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December is a season for driving upcountry for the long Christmas holiday. Usually it involves having a full-load, family, friends, and neighbours, and all the gifts for grannies.

Most cars feel the pressure for the first time after months of cold-driving when they do short town runs from home, office/school, and shopping.

Fuel consumption

Usually, even those days when fuel was Shs 1,750 a litre, the cars consumption becomes an issue as the budget for the journey is drawn-up. The current Shs 3,900 per litre of petrol actually makes this the issue this Christmas. Last year, the usual November price hikes amidst claims of scarcity pushed the price to Shs 4,000 per litre from Shs 2,400 in mid-year. It’s therefore likely to be higher this year.

What you must know is that, apart from distance covered, how you drive, the roads, and the condition of your vehicle, affects how much fuel you consume.

 
Monday, 28 November 2011 13:37 By Sophie Alal
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Artwork by Balaba Edward, 2011. Clay, anthill soil and engobes, burnished.Makerere ceramists reveal social, political side of their mud

In John Dewey’s Intelligence in the Modern World, the chapter on Art, Philosophy, and Morals is a warning insight into how far any society can sustain itself based on prevailing circumstances. He says: “It is by a sense of possibilities opening before us that we become aware of constrictions that hem us in and of burdens that oppress.”

Dewey’s sense of possibilities opening up in art is evident at the ceramics show that opened on Nov.4 at the Makerere University Art gallery.

It is very clear from the moment you step inside that the show is about breaking old barriers and pushing back new ones; a struggle between old forms and new ones, of traditional and contemporary influences in creating art.

 
Monday, 28 November 2011 13:24 administrator
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Six tips to ensure you get the car you want

End of year bonuses can be a great incentive to buy a car. Usually it will be a “used car” even if say, you buy it from a bond. Here are some of tips to the fastest, simplest and cheapest way to your ideal car.

1. Setting your budget

Before you think about which car to buy, you’ll need to work out how much you have to spend.

If you have another car, work out it is worth, and whether you will sell it privately or part-exchange it with the dealer.

Decide on whether you need to take out a loan (not a good idea in these times).

 
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 13:50 administrator
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Since her death on Sept. 25 of ovarian cancer, there has been renewed interest in the ideas of Wangari Maathai, who was the first woman in east and central Africa to earn a Ph.D. and the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Most searchers have centred on her books.

UnbowedUnbowed

Author: Wangari Maathai

Publisher: Knopf, PP352,2006

It is a matter-of-fact account of the exceptional life of Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Born in 1940, Maathai attended primary school at a time when Kenyan girls were not educated; went on to earn a Ph.D. and became head of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Nairobi before founding Kenya’s Green Belt Movement in 1977.

The mother of three explains how the good earth has sustained her life and that of generations before her in this engrossing and eye-opening memoir. It is a work of tremendous dignity and rigor in which Maathai describes the paradise she knew as a child in the 1940s, when Kenya was a “lush, green, fertile” land of plenty, and the deforested nightmare it became.

Discriminated against as a female university professor, Maathai fought hard for women’s rights. And it was women she turned to when she undertook her mission to restore Kenya’s decimated forests, launching the Green Belt Movement and providing women with work planting trees. Maathai’s ingenious, courageous, and tenacious activism led to arrests, beatings, and death threats, and yet she and her tree-planting followers remained unbowed. She went on to be a minister for the environment and natural resources, Nobel laureate, visionary, and hero. She restored humankind’s innate, if nearly lost, knowledge of the intrinsic connection between thriving, wisely managed ecosystems and health, justice, and peace.

Mama Miti

(A children’s book)

Author: Donna Jo Napoli

Illustrator:Kadir Nelson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, PP40, 2010

Through artful prose and beautiful illustrations, Donna Jo Napoli and Kadir Nelson tell the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, known as “Mama Miti,” who in 1977Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli founded the Green Belt Movement, an African grassroots organization that has empowered many people to mobilise and combat deforestation, soil erosion, and environmental degradation. Today more than 30 million trees have been planted throughout Mama Miti’s native Kenya, and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Muta Maathai change Kenya tree by tree—and with each page turned, children will realise their own ability to positively impact the future.

Kadir Nelson uses a dazzling array of textures, colors, patterns, and cinematic techniques (a panoramic long shot on one page, a close-up on another) to capture the large (the environment, the diversity of life) and small (the personal) forces that propel the poor to seek help from “Wangari.”

Napoli downsises the story to the toddler and elementary school-age set by focusing on Wangari’s aid to individuals and families. Wangari helps them by recommending different varieties of trees: Mukinduri for firewood, mukawa to protect wildstock from predators, muthakwa wa athi to cure sick cattle, even a tree “which acts as nature’s filter to clean streams”--the giant sacred fig. Donna Jo Napoli and Nelson create an almost mythic tableau, supported by Napoli’s short descriptive sentences (interspersed with words spoken by Kenyan natives) that evoke an oral story-telling structure.

A deep humanity runs through the book, and Wangari seemed blessed by the gentle and generous power of nature. At the same time, the story takes on real problems with practical solutions, showing that small steps can build into something greater. The age-appropriate story covers many important personal and social issues with gorgeous illustrations and a melodious, easy-flowing text.

Replenishing the EarthReplenishing the earth

Author: Wangar Maathai

Publisher: Doubleday Religion, PP208, 2010

This is an impassioned call to heal the wounds of our planet and ourselves through the tenets of our spiritual traditions.

Maathai spent decades working with the Green Belt Movement to help women in rural Kenya plant—and sustain—millions of trees. With their hands in the dirt, these women often found themselves empowered and “at home” in a way they never did before. Maathai imparts that feeling to everyone, and believes that the key lies in traditional spiritual values: love for the environment, self-betterment, gratitude and respect, and a commitment to service. While educated in the Christian tradition, Maathai draws inspiration from many faiths, celebrating the Jewish mandate tikkun olam (“repair the world”) and renewing the Japanese term mottainai (“don’t waste”). Through rededication to these values, she believes, we might finally bring about healing for ourselves and the earth.

Wangari speaks in clear language about the benefits of a nurturing, protective, and symbiotic relationship with the earth. She has a pointed way of writing, and brings up examples of cultures (mainly African, as is the point) and religions, along with some positive activist groups. She delves deeply into “the Source” and its relationship to religion and spirituality. She carves a fine, deep niche for spirituality + conservationism + love.

The Greenbelt MovementThe Green Belt Movement

Author: Wangari Maathai

Publisher: Lantern Books, 117, 2003

This book begins with a dry account of the Green Belt Movement’s 20-year history, which has been filled with setbacks and successes that are undoubtedly fascinating, but Maathai hurries by them with bland, cut-and-dry statements. The second half of the book reads like an extended grant proposal, enumerating goals and projects, explaining why ideas are worthwhile and outlining step-by-step processes that similar groups can follow. Many sections are little more than laundry lists of activities and achievements that barely hint at the group’s struggles against countless obstacles, particularly corruption and indifference.

The book takes you into Maathai’s grassroots level work.

The Challenge for Africa

Author: Wangari Maathai

The Challenge for Africa

Publisher: Anchor, PP 336, 2010

It shows how some nations are on the brink of collapse due to corruption, gross mismanagement and lack of the peoples’ trust and faith in African leadership. This is Africa’s biggest challenge.“The Challenge for Africa” is a book of complaints about Africa and ideas, suggestions, and solutions to its numerous and complex problems.

She juxtaposes the “traditional” and “modern” culture and how African culture, ethnic divisions, and the destruction of family ties.

She shows how foreign aid sent to assist African leaders in resolving the myriad of issues and problems has not worked.  He view is that African leaders should reject “handouts” and instead mobilise the population to build stronger economic, social and political infrastructure.

She shows how globalisation has had a negative impact on locally-grown products which have had limited success in competing with mass-produced goods distributed by transnational corporations. The African market place is the centrepiece for economic and political activities in most countries and has been unfairly affected by the international markets.

 
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 13:41 administrator
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Xenson designsXenson, the first Ugandan designer to be showcased on MNET’s Studio 53, a SouthAfrican lifestyle show that is beamed to all of Africa, put on a show that wowed the audience.

The hall was packed and the line of cars stretched from the Kampala Serena Hotel gates to the subway roundabout. It took drivers 15-20 minutes to enter the hotel and all were going to the show, which in itself was a big surprise.

Even the invitation card to Xenson’ show - two stitched pieces of card with his label, was original.

Samson Ssenkaaba a.k.a Xenson is a painter, fashion designer and master pattern maker, and pioneer of the Hip-Hop Lugaflow genre that is at last giving Ugandan music some definition.

He has traveled the world showcasing his talents in France, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda, Kenya, China and Japan.

 
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 13:19 administrator
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Since Makerere University students launched their Kiira Ev self-built electric car, many readers have been asking what is involved in such a project.

Our research shows that it is actually not unusual for car enthusiasts to build their own car. One such group are the Marlin Sportster club.

The Sportster was designed with self-assembly in mind. All the components are laser-cut, pre-drilled, jig-aligned and ready to bolt together, making it an enjoyable project – and all the more fun if you get friends or family involved.

The component-form Sportster can be put together in less than 200 hours and at a significant saving over the cost of a factory-built car.

 

Or if you can pay a little more and just supply and fit the engine and gearbox – there’s still money to be saved.

 

 

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