I'm a writer-director
who tells social-change stories,
because I believe stories
touch and move us.
and teach us to empathize.
Stories change us.
When I write and direct plays,
I'm amplifying voices
of disadvantaged groups,
I'm fighting the self-censorship
that has kept many Ugandan artists
away from social, political theater
since the persecution of artists
by former Ugandan president, Idi Amin.
And most importantly,
I am breaking the silence
and provoking meaningful
conversations on taboo issues,
where often "Silence is golden"
is the rule of thumb.
Conversations are important
because they inform
and challenge our minds to think,
and change starts with thinking.
One of my struggles with activism
is its often one-sided nature
that blinds us to alternative view,
that numbs our empathy,
that makes us view those
who see issues differently
as ignorant, self-hating, brainwashed,
sellout or plain stupid.
I believe no one is ignorant.
We are all experts,
only in different fields.
And this is why, for me, the saying
"stay in your truth" is misleading.
Because if you're staying in your truth,
isn't it logical that the person
you believe is wrong
is also staying in their truth?
So, what you have is two extremes
that shut out all possible
avenues of conversations.
I create provocative theater and film
to touch, humanize
and move disagreeing parties
to the conversation table
to bridge misunderstandings.
I know that listening to one another
will not magically solve all problems.
But it will give a chance
to create avenues
to start to work together to solve
many of humanity's problems.
With my first play, "Silent Voices,"
based on interviews with victims
of the Northern Uganda war
between the government
and Joseph Kony's LRA rebel group,
I brought together victims,
political leaders, religious leaders,
cultural leaders, the Amnesty Commission
and transitional justice leadership
for critical conversations on issues
of justice for war crime victims --
the first of its kind
in the history of Uganda.
And so many powerful things happened,
that I can't even
cover them all right now.
Victims were given the opportunity
to sit at the table
with Amnesty Commission leadership,
and they expressed
the big injustice they suffered
when the Commission ignored them
and instead facilitated the resettlement
of the war perpetrators.
And the Amnesty Commission
acknowledged the victims' pain
and explained the thinking
behind their flawed approaches.
But one of the things
that has stayed with me
is when, during my Northern Uganda
tour of the play,
a man approached me and introduced himself
as a former rebel soldier of Joseph Kony.
He told me that he didn't want me to leave
due to some of what I considered
He explained that his
was a laughter of embarrassment
and a recognition
of his own embarrassment.
He saw himself in the actors onstage
and saw the meaninglessness
of his past actions.
So I say: share your truths.
Listen to one another's truths.
You will discover
a more powerfully uniting truth
in the middle ground.
When I lived in the USA,
many of my American friends
would be shocked at my ignorance
at fancy Western dishes
like lasagna, for instance.
And my question to them would be,
"Well, do you know malakwang?"
And then I would tell them
a fancy vegetable dish from my culture.
And they would tell me about lasagna.
And we would leave
richer and fuller individuals.
Therefore, share your recipe truth.
It makes for a better meal.