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Ugandans now access Traditional sex education for a fee

By Eunice Nyiraneza and Jane Bukenya

Like so many other Fridays when most people are bidding farewell to the busier part of the week and ushering in the weekend in different ways, there is a crowd of people waiting outside Bart Valley Theater this evening.

This crowd is not waiting neither for the usual dramas or even the Kina Uganda film that pulled many Ugandans to the theatre. They are waiting to go in for “Omusomo Gwabakulu” as advertised by the poster at the theatre.

Omusomo gwabakulu loosely translated to mean a lesion for adults is a Senga session aimed at advising adults on how to make their sex life more fulfilling.

Many young girls are craving for sex education

In many Ugandan cultures, a Senga (paternal aunt) is supposed to train and guide their teen nieces in sexual and marriage affairs, but this is dying out as modernization has its toll. Also, the fast disappearance of the homogenous family where all relatives lived in almost the same environment has made the cherished Senga institution to disappear.

That there is more instability in Uganda families leading to broken homes was what prompted Kato Lubwama and company to start up this traditional sex education session. This group, as they said in their preamble believes that the main cause of these family breakups is dissatisfaction between lovers in families.

“This lesson therefore addresses issues that result into catastrophes which in the long run result into family breakups. We get into the lovers bedrooms and discuss issues that they would not otherwise have addressed even if they had wanted to,” explained Omulangira Ndawula, one of the teachers in the group.

The session, which kicked off at 7:04pm though the poster indicated 6pm as starting time, involved lectures in Luganda and English from Ssenga Namatovu Hamida, Omulangira Ndawula, Nassali Salima, Ssenga Nassanga and Kato Lubwama acting as the master of ceremony.

It addressed issues connected to sex performance in any way like dress code and its effect on sexual performance in both adults and babies, breastfeeding and how it influences a child’s future sex life.

“Today women opt for bottle feeding of their babies. When the children grow up and start behaving like cattle having sex with everything, the mothers don’t know it is their fault for feeding them on cow milk,” said Ndawula in his introductory speech on the aims of the study.

Omulangira Ndawula made it clear that he believes that instilling the eroded cultural and tradition values again would greatly reduce family instability. The people giving the lecture are people with traditional experience in love and sex matters and have not let these values be influenced by the western world values, Ndawula said.

Ssenga Namatovu also hosted on a show every Monday at 9am on CBS to address family issues like cleanliness, sex and the like. “Dressing your baby boy in a nappy all the time will make him a poor sex performer in future,”she cautioned the audience.

Handling Sex matters in the bedroom

Kiganda sex traditions like what Ndawula referred to as the nkumbi were revived. “This is a piece of cloth you lay on the bed before you have sex so that you do not soil the beddings. It is equated to a hoe to emphasize its importance since you cannot go to the garden without a hoe,” he explained. “You don’t want people or children to come to your bedroom in the morning and they leave knowing what you did in the night,”added Ssenga Hamida.

Ndawula said this piece of cloth could help you ward off all possibilities of being haunted by your loved one. “When you bury this cloth immediately after the burial of your loved one, they never come back to haunt you,”he explained.

“It does not matter that we are Baganda and base our teachings on Kiganda tradition really, we believe sex has a universal language the whole world over,” argued Kato Lubwama.

Though they required everybody to pay five thousand shillings to enter, the group said money is not their driving force. “This is not financial project really. We noticed an increasing problem amongst our families that we thought we could help reduce and here we decided to give it a shot, ”explained Kato Lubwama adding, “From the 5000 shillings each person paid today for instance, we can cover the cost for hiring the theatre and facilitate our transportation.”

The organizers are also convinced that the success of their first session only goes to affirm their belief that people need sex education.

“I rarely see this hall this packed when there are dramas showing. We could increase the fee and still people would come,” exclaimed Kato Lubwama expressing his surprise at the huge turn up of people who exceeded two hundred.

More need for sex education

Some of the people who attended expressed support and need for such an education.

“Of course it is relevant,” agreed Diana, a student from Makerere University who declined to offer her full names. “You don’t get this much information elsewhere in a language you understand with chance to ask as many questions as you want at just shs5000,” she said after the session.

A male friend who came along with Diana, also a university student, said the internet was limited to western information and not even friends would give him as much information as he was able to gather from this “Senga sessions”.

Cissy, a working lady agrees that this kind of traditional sex education is relevant but wishes the timing could be changed.

“It’s on a working day and ends really late yet some of us can not afford to keep around even if we wanted to,” she said.  By 9:30pm the show was still going on with Ssenga Hamida discussing scenes in a blue movie they had played for the audience to watch.

Kato Lubwama explained that the training was placed at a time and place where it raises less suspicion. He says they cannot publicize the show because most people do not even want their spouses to know that they attend such classes.

Ssenga Hamida also said they plan to organize different sessions for women and men separately. “There are some things for instance that I would like to discuss with women without the men’s presence,”she told Ultimate Media after the session.

So what do you expect if you decide to attend? If the coming sessions are going to be like this first one, then you can expect lectures on anything in connection with sex like how to seduce the opposite sex, cleanliness, how to get and give your partner orgasms, sex traditions, sex language, and all those weird tunes of the bedroom.

Step by step sex tips for the learners

“How can you keep shouting “onzitta” or ‘you are killing me’ when having sex? What will you shout when you are being killed?” asked Ndawula.

At the end, they played another blue movie, which one of the sengas discussed step by step. She advised the audience on what to take on and what not to from this western sex movie and answered all questions raised by members of the audience. Ultimate Media was requested not to publicize individuals’ sex concerns and questions.

So as most paternal aunts fail to provide sex education to their nieces, commercially available sex education lesions are surfacing to give you information about what most people agree is not easy to come across. But whether a commercialised senga will continue to provide reliable relationship and sex advise remains to be seen.

More related Information

Harnessing the senga institution of adolescent sex education for the control of HIV and STDs in rural Uganda

Gender, Power Relations, and School Culture in Uganda

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