Uganda Airlines says it is considering adding Nsenene, a local delicacy of fried bush cricket, to its in-flight menu.
The idea was announced in a statement from the company issued on November 27, 2021.
The statement followed controversy, which unfolded over the weekend, as a video of people selling Nsenene on Uganda Airlines Flight 446 went viral.
The video was filmed on the airline’s Airbus A330 as it was about to take off from Entebbe International Airport (EBB) for Dubai (DXB). In the short clip, a ‘hawker’ is seen selling grasshoppers to passengers as they are boarding the flight, seemingly without any interruption from the cabin crew.
Ugandan media described the incident as highly controversial. While some condoned the behavior, others applauded the act of distributing a national dish.
The country’s Minister of Works and Transport, General Edward Katumba Wamala, tweeted that he has spoken to the airline’s leadership, and it is going to take action against the staff in charge.
However, Uganda Airlines issued a statement expressing that it does not view the action as wholly negative.
In a Tweet, the airline said: “We don’t condone the acts of the passenger selling Nsenene and low standards of serving it to people who were buying it. We will not take this conduct on board lightly because it undermines the spirit of the National Carrier.”
It continued: “We have picked lessons from the incident. Some of our customers enjoy Nsenene. We understand that they were not in plenty this season hence the excitement. We are considering adding Nsenene, a Ugandan delicacy, to our menu for regional and international flights on request. This addition of Nsenene on our menu will bring the Ugandan culture to the world.”
— Uganda Airlines (@UG_Airlines) November 27, 2021
Appearing to embrace the controversy, the airline posted an advertisement for Dubai flights on Twitter the following day, which featured a grasshopper.
Meanwhile, Ugandan media has identified the man in the video. The vendor, Paul Mubiru, has been quoted apologizing for his misconduct. He said that the video was recorded for comedic purposes, and that the act of selling was actually staged.
“I am sorry to the fellow countrymen and women, staff of Uganda Airlines, passengers and everyone hurt by the act on board. I recorded that video in question not to tarnish or ashame the airline but for comedy purposes specifically TikTok deeds,” Mubiru said in a letter to Uganda Airlines, seen by NilePost.