This week I’m going to largely devote my page to those of you out there who find pleasure with what I churn out every week. Indeed, in a society where many a journalist has been disappointed by what they encounter from people in the course of their job, I’ll beat my chest and say I’ve had more praises than knocks.
I can’t forget the many times I will be somewhere and suddenly one old man or woman walks up to me to ask if I am indeed Jude Atupulazi. Affirming such will elicit wide smiles from them and a hug and they will tell me how very much they adore me. They will urge me to keep doing what I know best and will pray God to bless me. What, indeed, can be greater than these moments?
The recent one that touched me greatly was the day I was at St Michael’s Parish in Neni to partake of the first Mass said by the immediate past Director of Fides Media, Fr Martin Anusi, shortly after he was posted to the parish. After the Mass and as people were taking pictures outside and generally fraternizing with one another, an old woman walked up to me and told me she was my fan and that she never missed reading me.
I was surprised because I saw her as too old to be reading me. Because of her age, I had already concluded she was illiterate. But how wrong I was! She told me she was a retired civil servant! We hugged and I took a picture with her. But what touched me the most was what I saw as the pure joy she had in seeing and meeting the man she had always read and admired from a distance.
Such occasions are what keep me going and which I cherish so much. I am someone who loves his job and is passionate about it. I’ve had a few opportunities in the past to move on to pastures new but the love I have for this profession had prevented me from taking the plunge though I must point out that there are some jobs that may make me have a rethink about refusing.
But suffice it to say that I’ve had opportunities which I’m sure many would have quickly jumped at. But that is me. I prefer doing what gives me joy, for, at the end of the day, I’ll live for myself and not for others.
So for my fans out there, I am saying thank you so much for your love and faith in me, poor me, but your love and devotion to me will keep me going, even when I feel like giving up. It has really not been easy doing this job. It is a job many will fall out with you once you tell them the truth.
It is also a job that if you’re not careful, praise mongers can put you into trouble. Indeed, there have been times when some people will come to me and sing my praise to high heavens over what I wrote and will urge me to write more, especially if those they hate are at the receiving end.
But then, I will always remind myself that I’m not here to fight anyone’s battle but to write honestly about things around me and as exactly as I see them. If in that process some people are hurt, that will be just too bad.
I am one who appreciates the enormous powers of journalism. I know for a fact that nations can be built or destroyed by journalism and journalists and that is why the journalist should exercise great restraint in what they write.
As a journalist, you have to give a voice to the voiceless, learn to control your emotions and stop them from coming between you and your job. But then also, you have to rise to the occasion when what it demands is to tell the truth, the unblemished truth.
My page here offers me the opportunity to do that, which I cannot do while writing my news stories. New stories are not what one uses to curry favours or attack people. They have their own rules and chief of them is that the writer must be fair to all.
But on my page, I have the licence to roam, to express myself like a football player granted the licence by his coach to have a free run of the pitch, but even at that, I have to know my boundaries.
I guess, however, that many of you, my fans, believe I am plying my trade well enough and that’s why I’ve been getting all the adulation from you. To God be the glory. I am what I am because of you and I will remain forever grateful.