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Bobi Wine: A Documentary In Review

As much as I am a movie buff, I have never been tempted to write a movie review until this past week, when I saw ‘Bobi Wine: The People’s President.’ As soon as I discovered it among the list of Oscar nominees for Best Documentary, I knew I had to watch it; the story follows a person I mentioned in my book, Specks of Dust!

 



I first discovered Bobi Wine in a Rolling Stone article from April 2020, which I still happen to have. With a title of “Uganda’s ‘Ghetto President,’” I was immediately thinking of how Bobi Wine could have influenced the kids in my book, who often lack the ability to speak for themselves.

 

Bobi Wine is a pop-star-turned-politician. In 2017, the same year I visited Uganda, he ran for Parliament and succeeded, representing part of the same district I myself was located in. A member of the minority in the face of President Yoweri Museveni’s NRM party, he fought to protect the constitution from attempts to raise the age limit to keep Museveni in power.  He faced death threats, police brutality, and imprisonment, all while creating songs of empowerment to educate and energize the people. Meanwhile, he struggles to come to terms with his disenchantment with his former hero who is now his main enemy.

 

Thankfully, National Geographic was there much of the way, recording some pretty incredible footage of all the events from 2016 onward to the presidential election of 2021. Interviews with Museveni, shots of Kampala during Covid, and the making of music added some fascinating context to the story being followed.

 

Every shot reminded me of my time in Uganda. The country and its issues are faithfully represented, and many align with the themes I expounded upon in my book: homosexuality is used as a scapegoat by those in power, the police are unafraid, and at times eager, to use violence, and adult supervision is a luxury few get to have (the median age of the entire country is around 16 years).

 

Overall, it was a fascinating and faithful documentary. I found it engaging, hopeful, sad, and most of all, impactful. I continued to think about it days after I had seen it, and that is always a sign of a powerful story.  

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