David Kateregga

An open letter to those sceptical about the Hornsleth Village Project
A reply to a very upset Ugandan living in England

I am David Kateregga. I am a Ugandan and a member of the village where the Hornsleth project is taking place. I am part and parcel of the project.
I respect your brotherly concern, but allow me to explain just a few lines, so that you may have an understanding of the issue. And hopefully an explanation will allow you to approve to the project instead of feeling anger towards it.
1. Sub Saharan African people are actually dying. Uganda in particular with a life expectancy of 46 years. Not because we Ugandans want to die that early, but simply because our people do not have a single coin to buy medicine and the basic necessities to keep living.
2. One of the ideas of the art project is for people around the world to understand that aid is given to poor countries with one hand and demands are given with the other hand. In other words: the aid is conditional, it is pure business and not really something that will benefit the poor countries in the long run.
3. The people of my village are participating in the Hornsleth Village Project of their own free will. Absolutely none are forced into doing something that they do not want to do. They fully understand the aim of the project, and they are participating – not only to get a goat or a pig – but also because they approve to the aim of the project.
4. And what is the aim of the project? The project has many facets, so it takes more than a few lines to explain. However it is pro the African people and certainly not agains…….. Furthermore it demands questions and answers, making people think of the fairness of the Western world aiding Africans and at the same time setting limits of international open trade markets.
5. So forget your immediate anger for a moment and try to see the project with the right eyes. Somebody here (Mr. Hornsleth) is bringing out the reality and absolutely not "having fun" embarrassing people from any poor country. He has an idea to open the eyes of the rich world, and his aim is to focus on a more fair world in terms of resources and rights to the wealth of the earth.
6. When I read your lines I ask myself: what about the corrupt African leaders who place the money sent for aid in their own pockets? I am sure that if things were OK in your own country, you would not be in Denmark. Think of your relatives and the conditions you left at home: do your people have many pigs or goats? Are they living in a democratic society with conditions to develop themselves and their surroundings?
I hope that this remains a brotherly discussion for you to realize the importance of the project in my village. Who would have known my village and my people anyway, if it wasn't for the project?
Think of it.
Think of those you left at home.
Think about Africa.
We badly need a voice, and who will speak, if the Africans around the world are not speaking?
I believe that this project is part of our voice. We a small voice in the bush, where roads are impassable and we drink water from the pond.
We can still discuss about the project further. I do not mind a all. In an African spirit.

Best regards,
David Kateregga
Engineer, musician and co-founder of the Hornsleth Village Project Uganda, 2006
This text was first published on in 2006