Welcome to the 4th annual Bayimba International Festival of the arts in Kampala Uganda.
They say a nation without the knowledge of its history and culture is like a tree without roots, and a nation which does not promote its own cultures and traditions is easily penetrated by foreign cultures and traditions hence losing its own identity and should not complain about foreign interferences when it becomes a laughing stoke.
Bearing in mind that artists have creative minds and that creative thinking drives people to find solutions to problems, Bayimba aims at improving artistic productions in all arts sectors.
With support from the German Goethe-Institut under the project of Moving Africa, I was one of the lucky artists to attend the 4th Bayimba festival which took place from the 16th to the 18th of September 2011.
I was fascinated by the common mode of transport in Kampala going to Bayimba festival. Yes, I am talking about motorcycles, which are also known as boda-bodas.
I was amazed but at the same time scared by the way women of Kampala were sitting on the boda-bodas, putting both legs on one side. “Eehshhh”, I wondered how they manage to balance without holding to something else and sometimes even carrying heavy bags or babies on their laps or heads but not falling off even at high speeds round corners, and the other thing that puzzled me was that a motorcycle that was meant for one passenger could even carry 3 or 4 passengers it was even scary to see that they were not even wearing crush helmets.
Anyway I was told it’s because real African women don’t open legs on a motorcycle.
The park was filled up with sound and people for a whole weekend of culture, music, dance, poetry, visual arts, theatre, expressions and non-stop performances. There was also the crazy headphone disco where if you didn’t have your headphones on you would think you are in a world of zombies because each one was dancing to his or her music from different DJs.
I was impressed with the idea of having a hip hop stage which was mainly for the youth to display their talents and the youth themselves really made sure that they show that Bayimba Festival is there to stay for generations.
The fashion show was also excellent, because I had a chance to see how Ugandan designers are doing their thing.
The administration office headed by the director of the festival, Faisal Kiwewa was as busy as bees running away from bush fires, making sure that everything was in order according to plan.
Some of the groups which performed were the Qwela band, Ndagire Nabitaka Josephine , the un even band, Reggae soldier, Ssali Muserebende, Tshila and the Band, Kaz Kasozi, Fred Sebatta, Body Mind and soul from Malawi, Talent 256, Lilian/Ricky, Donna Michelle from Canada, Magic Horns, Mzungu Kicha from Tanzania, Ms Natty and the Majestic Band just to mention a few.
The choice of Masters of Ceremonies at the main stage was impressive.
My trip was a success because I met and interacted with other artists from all over the world, sharing and learning artistic experiences and ideas. I had a chance to chat with Nil Noi Nortey from Ghana who also came to Bayimba festival under the same project as me, the Moving Africa project
I must admit that I was very impressed with the whole organization of this big festival; it was a very wonderful, vibrant and well organized festival.
I must also admit and apologize to the other groups which I failed to capture, it was because activities were happening simultaneously leaving me with no choice but to capture only those that my eyes and attention could reach, there were just too many activities happening. I know that I missed some wonderful performances because I believe to be accepted to perform at Bayimba festival you really need to be good.
Concerning sponsorship, I think Bayimba is really on a good way. Getting more than 30 sponsors really means that the festival is appreciated by the people. I think if it was to be like this in other countries, then arts in Africa would really grow bigger and bigger.
Lastly I would like to thank the Goethe-Institut for starting the Moving Africa project which is really linking African artists together.
I would also like to thank the management of Bayimba festival with its Director Faisal Kiwewa for the job well done in 2011.