Tuesday, April 3, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: INSPIRED BY BITATURE

BOOK: INSPIRED BY BITATURE
AUTHOR: ROBERT BAKE TUMUHAISE
PRICE: sh60,000
Available in major bookshops around Kampala


Patrick Bitature is a local businessman who has been involved in everything from nightclubs to retail trade to telecommunications to power generation to hotels and real estate. With the breadth of his experience, a book about him should be a good read.

“Inspired by Bitature” is a first stub at chronicling Bitature’s life and times. It is not a biography in the traditional sense, more and exploration of the man’s thoughts through the adoring eyes of his mentee the author Robert Bake Tumuhaise.

Speeches given by Bitature throughout the years are interspersed with Tumuhaise’s narration of his experience with Bitature and commentary of what he has learned at the feet of the master.

The speeches alone, which date back a decade are worth more than the value of the book. Made to audiences ranging from young entrepreneurs to graduation classes, here and abroad, they help distil the essence of the man.

"Born into relative wealth, his childhood was cut short when his father, Paul Bitature, was murdered during the Idi Amin era. His epiphany came soon after when his mother, still grieving from the loss, around the dining table declared they would have to get used to tea without sugar....

The young Bitature without consultation jumped on a bus to Nairobi, Kenya, and came back with 15kg of sugar, sold some to the neighbours and made a profit many times over what he had paid for the schoolboy suitcase full of sugar.

He has been involved in looking after his family ever since.

Through the speeches you discern a sincere desire to distill the lessons he has learnt, a veritable “What they do not teach you in business school” handbook, for other people going into business. It is a constant theme through his speeches that our society is training too many employees and no job creators. His hope is that prospective entrepreneurs can learn from his triumphs and failures and hopefully travel a much smoother journey.

 He says he determined from a young age that he would make $100,000, otherwise he wold not get married but he sees no reason why any able bodied Uganda does not aim at a million dollars. Bitature says a goal like that would give purpose to our lives and set the mind thinking.

He counsels that success cannot be faked, with a side jab to some of our fake tycoons, and he says real success can only come with determination and persistence.

The conventional wisdom is that rich men’s top priority is money, the making, keeping and growing of, but he says that money comes a distant fifth as a priority in his life behind his family, business, God and friends, urging the reader to “Desire to have money but don’t be ruled by money.”

He has some timely thoughts on how to raise capital in our economy, explores why businesses fail, ruminates on the habits that create achievers and puts serious thought to how to change the world.

As earlier said the real value of the book is in the display of Bitature’s thought processes. It is evident very quickly that he does not think like your everyday man. His outlook on family, achievement and even politics is shaped by his business experience.

This is important because for the rest of us mere mortals we don’t realise that from the intangible – thoughts, values and beliefs come the tangible – money, property and even fame. A reorientation of our thinking is where we need to start in trying to climb to a new level.

"The book is also important because through Bitature, born and bred here, we can see the possibilities.  Many of the accounts of successful people around are of foreign businessmen, operating in a different context from ourselves...

Which brings us to an important point. Many of our successful people have died before thy have made an account of their lives. Most because they underestimate the value of their example to future generations. As a result we have lost invaluable resource with the passing of the titans of our society.

I know it is said that if you want to hide things from the black man put in a book. But while that may true for today’s black man these stories will be recorded for posterity and for a different kind of black man.

The author needs to be commended for recognising the value of Bitature’s journey to a wider audience and bringing it to life. But one cannot help feeling that Bitature owes another book.
*The book is being launched on April14th at The Protea Hotel, Kololo. Entrance fee sh100,000


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