Renowned educationist starts mobile theater group to address mindset-related challenges in Lango
Last Updated on: 27th February 2023, 08:29 am
When an Indian author and Philosopher Dr. Amit Ray said the mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it to see a better world, and that once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it, little did he know that decades later the message would be very inspiring and relevant to the people of Lango sub-region.
Nearly everyone you talk to will say the biggest problem hindering socio-economic growth and development in Langsub-regionon is the attitude of most people who have become ‘experts’ in everything and ‘specialists’ in nothing.
Quitsomeof people have no respect for anyone; religious, cultural and political leaders whom they demonize at will and are lost in self-delusion by abusing everyone using local radio stations and social media platforms.
As the Lango people say, Wangbur Pe Ojali Lwangi loosely translated as never surrender a wound to flies; a sizeable number of people still see some rays of hope.
One such a person is celebrated educationist, Charles Ayo who taught in many secondary schools in the central and northern regions who observes that without addressing mindset issues; all interventions will go to waste.
To practically illustrate his zeal, Ayo has started a mobile theatre group called Dominion Audio Visual Travelling Theatre Group whose vision is to be a vehicle for social transformation for the people of Lango.
Without a clear mindset change, Ayo says the people in Lango especially the current young generation and others to come will continue to sink into self-pity and blame game without any sense of responsibility and direction.
Inspired by Greek philosopher and teacher Aristotle who founded his school in Athens, known as Lyceum, Charles Ayo is also synonymous with the Almond College (opposite Oyite Ojok building before Odokomit along Lira-Kampala highway), which he founded in the mid-1990s only to collapse due to intrigue and jealousy by some elements.
Ayo who remains a student of Aristotle is guided by the philosophy that, “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”, hence the formation of the mobile theatre group.
The mission of the group is to use performing arts and videos (films) for purposes of and in the transmission of educational and transformational messages designed to trigger a paradigm shift or mindset change among the population for meaningful growth and development.
To put it in proper perspective, the teacher of Geography who founded the Almond College traced the problem way back to the 1971 coup by Iddi Amin Dada who toppled the Obote-led UPC One Government.
He says before the coup, communities in Lango, alongside other regions had a clear agenda of fighting poverty, ignorance, and disease.
“…this was done through adult education, cinema shows at Community Centres or Halls by the Ministry of Information, Cooperative Societies, and bursary/scholarship programs by district local government to enable bright students to proceed to higher levels of education, ” Ayo reminiscences.
Unfortunately, he regrets that all these arrangements have variously grounded to a halt leaving the communities without a sense of direction of how to get out of the quagmire in which they now find themselves.
It should be remembered that before 1971 the young people of Lango had role models they looked up to chart their life’s course in various fields like law, health, administration, and politics, among others.
Instead, sadly so, a new set of ‘role models’ arose and these were the so-called mafuta mingi businessmen, beneficiaries of Amin’s economic war policy, and the Magendo (black marketers/smugglers or the infamous Kibanda Boys phenomenon that led to the rise of a class of wealthy but largely unschooled people.
These became the new role models. Young people started to think that education was after all not important since people could become wealthy without it. Many still hold this view to date. It’s a fallacy. In philosophy, a fallacy is a seemingly true but deceptive statement or argument.
For example, the common sentiments on the lips of some people in Lango that ‘going to school is a waste of time and resources because there is no job so children should be encouraged to start businesses is a fallacy.
The situation has been worse by the dereliction of most educational institutions and the fact that many parents themselves are not educated.
Consequently, Lango now finds itself in a vicious cycle of poverty and confusion, which it can only break away from with the help of targeted community education and community mobilization.
As they say, sitting and wishing does not make a man, Charles Ayo is now up in arms against a negative mindset using drama that airs every Saturday evening on Unity FM 97.7, one of the popular local radio stations in Lira City.
Charles Ayo holds a BA (Geog) and a PGDE obtained from the oldest university in Uganda having gone through the now defunct Ikwera Boys Primary School, Aduku, Lango College, and Old Kampala SS.
He also had a stint in the banking sector at Barclays (now Absa)and Standard Charted before diving into full-time teaching in 1984. He was the principal of Cornerstone Leadership Academy from 2006-12 and is currently helping to develop Kiyingi Memorial Secondary School in Nakasongola district.
Ayo who is a professed born-again believer also had a hand in the establishment of Kakooge Pentecostal Church under PAG, Donela Orange Nursery School, and others.
Some of the prominent figures who have been under Ayo’s feet include the current spokesperson of UPDF/Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs Brig Felix Kulaigye, Head of ActionAid Uganda Xavier Ejoyi, and the writer of this article Rev Nelly Nelsons Otto, among others.
Adok Oyengo owo clan Ayo who belongs to hails from Atilem Village, Akalo Sub County in Kole district now appeals to people of goodwill plus organizations to step in with support for the success of the theatre group.