The Atlantic

The Pop Star Risking Death to Bring Change

An interview with Bobi Wine about why he’s returning to Uganda so soon after being brutally attacked
Source: Eric Baradat / AFP / Getty

Editor’s Note: The author, a researcher whose work focuses on a range of politically sensitive topics in contemporary Uganda, is remaining anonymous to protect the safety of sources in the country.

These days, many conversations with the Ugandan pop star turned legislator Bobi Wine begin with inquiries about his health. When we met, on a gray morning in the final days of a trip he made to the United States for medical treatment, I started with just such a question.

Barely a month after he was violently arrested along with fellow opposition activists, and having survived what he said was torture at the hands of security forces, he described his recovery as ongoing: “I am better today than I was yesterday,” he told me. I asked him how he was doing. He seemed optimistic. “Tomorrow I will be again better than today.”

Indeed, the man in front of me looked far stronger and healthier than the one who had before a Ugandan court martial on August 23, frail and bruised, too weak to stand. Now, against the advice of doctors, supporters, and many in the Ugandan diaspora, he has returned to the country where he was brutalized. “Uganda. “I don’t have another home. I am Ugandan, and I’m going back home.”

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