Why every Kampala girl wants to be ‘slay queen’

The era of selling emotional satisfaction overtaking physical production using brick and mortar is not restricted to the developed world.

You can mention footballers who earn millions of pounds; or cite Facebook’s Mark Zuckeberger who made ten billion dollars within ten years of dropping out of school; the Kardashians who just “be” themselves and the world watches them; and before all these there was Oprah Winfrey who talked billions into her account.

But the good news is that our girls are also quickly learning the shortcut to wealth without going through the long brick and mortar route. Did someone say that IT and the internet are the great equalizer? Well, cosmetics are also proving to be an even quicker equalizer.

Many Ugandan girls are learning that rather than ‘wasting’ seventeen to twenty years in school and college and end up earning $200 to $300 a month as a ‘well paid’ teacher or a doctor, all you need is to master a foreign (not local) English accent and get yourself a good make up kit, to make ten times or more than the doctor’s pay.

Then you can then summon the doctor to your apartment to advise you on what to eat and drink so that your health – especially the skin - remains in great shape to supply emotional satisfaction.

These clever girls whom I am very proud of (some unkind people call them slay queens) have invested their time and effort wisely, following the examples of the older sisters for who it worked.

They have a few Ugandan role models who have made it big by slaying and one thing they seem to have in common is bearing foreign names.

By the way, the smart girls have even risen above the ethnic identities that seem to dog Uganda’s developmental efforts whichever sector you look at.

For them, besides their foreign names, their make up efforts make it impossible to tie them to any ethnic community going just by facial features. And they look like sisters – the new Ugandans – inspiring thousands of others to look like them, talk like them, and hopefully earn like them.

And how exactly do they earn? Well, those could be matters of detail, but the key ingredient is look good, sound sophisticated, act disinterested in the mundane Ugandan things like political contests, attend high end events and above all, create or maintain a story of a rich, powerful man you dumped because of his unpolished ways.

The startup investment is relatively big for a jobless girl who may not have had a square meal for weeks. But a hundred dollars is the bare minimum to enter the arena.

Fifty dollars for the minimum decent make up kit and fifty for a cheap professional photographer whom you can get by inquiring at the several media houses in town. Don't forget to invest in a fake English accent.

There are specialized agents who then help her go to the right places, the right parties and to meet the right people. If things go according to plan, she will have her apartment, car and expense account within a year.

That is the new era that thousands of good, nice, God-fearing Kampala girls have joined.


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