‘We are passing our leisure time’: Moving on from education in eastern Uganda

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Abstract

In the trading centre of Atine Atirir in eastern Uganda, young men gather to play ludo. They are educated but most do not have salaried employment. Many farm and do some form of casual labour. They talk about the importance of leisure and 'leisure time' and discuss the prospects of Arsenal in the English Premier League. In this article I explore the relationship between education, farming and 'leisure time' and look at the ways in which young men in particular make sense of lives that involve both schooling and farming. A number of scholars have focused on the tensions and frustrations of educated-typically urban-youth in Africa and elsewhere. They observe a growing distance between older and younger people, and the ways young men define their situation as one of boredom, dissatisfaction and waiting. By contrast, I show the ways in which the ludo board helped younger men in a poorer, rural setting elide an interest in an 'educated style' with rural forms of work-farming, petty trading and casual employment-and how the space around the game was mostly a site of play and relaxation, a place for passing, rather than killing, time. There was also a large degree of sympathy between the generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-272
Number of pages21
JournalAfrica
Volume90
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • BOREDOM
  • CHURCHES
  • LAND
  • POLITICS
  • UNCERTAINTY
  • VIOLENCE
  • YOUNG MEN
  • YOUTH

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