Crossroads: Ugandan women share their stories

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Lydia Namubiru and Christopher ConteUgandan writer Lydia Namubiru and journalist Christopher Conte talk about creating a book featuring stories of Ugandan women.

Knight International Journalism fellow and former Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Conte considers Uganda his second home.

He lived there for three years and soon after his arrival, he met a Kampala-based newspaper reporter, Lydia Namubiru. She shared with him interesting and insightful stories about her life, which changed his way of thinking.

“I had been in Africa before but I had never been in Uganda. We have preconceptions and stereotypes that even we aren’t aware of,” Conte said.

Crossroads: Ugandan women share their stories

Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Conte and Ugandan writer Lydia Namubiru talk about the making of their book on Ugandan women.

As time went on, their conversations became a running dialogue, so much so that the pair decided to collect stories from other Ugandan women and publish them. The collection ultimately became a book: Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda. It’s meant to shine a light on real women in the real Africa, avoiding age-old stereotypes of helplessness and the need for Africa, or its people, to be rescued by the so-called “developed” world.

“There are so many things people say about what Africans are or aren’t, what Ugandans are or aren’t, it’s problematic,” Namubiru explained. “It’s problematic to take a whole population and think you could capture it in a sentence.”

Told in a straightforward journalistic way, these stories help illustrate the vast and varied lives of Ugandan women who are trying to understand their own social roles and personal identities.

Christopher Conte and Ugandan journalist and writer Lydia Namubiru joined Mike Water in our New York studio.