The Bayimba International Festival of the Arts that is annually held in Kampala during the 3rd week of September is Uganda’s number one multi-arts festival. The festival has developed into an important benchmark for the consumption of Uganda’s finest arts, presenting Ugandans and visitors with a series of unparalleled feasts of music, dance, theatre, film, and visual arts from renowned and upcoming local and international artists.
This year, we present the 7th edition of our festival and our audiences will fest on 80 productions, performances and presentations that will take place from Friday 19th till Sunday 21st September 2014 at the National Theatre in the city centre of Kampala, Uganda. Our multiple performance stages and well curated spaces have been designed to offer excitement and unique productions by artists from Uganda, East Africa and the rest of the world.
Below is what #Bayimba2014 has to offer during its 7th edition:
Main Stage Programme
Commissioned performances from Burney MC (presenting his solo debut), Sandra from Jinja, Ras Alex with his reggae premier performance, Skin Tosh and Barbie Ajambo from Mbale, and Ruyonga, one of the current leading hip hop artists.
In conjunction with our partners Alliance Françoise, we also shall have: SMADJ and CAB (Caribbean African Brazilian), both collaboration groups on a French tour. In addition to these, we shall have: Sarabi Band/Kenya, Chrispin/Rwanda, Nehoreka/Zimbabwe, Dr. Bone/South Africa, Ary Morais/Cape Verde and our own Jackie Senyonjo, Henry Tigan, Angela Kalule, Sifa Kelele, Zawuka Band, Haruna Mubiru and Madoxx Ssematimba.
Upper Garden Stage Programme
The Upper Garden hosts the lounge area, with restaurants and bars and where 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust we will organize traditional games and Ekyoto. The Upper Garden will also host a second stage with hip hop acts by Big Spit Music (Fort Portal), the News Beat (Kampala), Jungle De Maneater (Jinja), Bantu Clan (Jinja) as well as poetry by Word Painters (Kampala).
The Upper Garden will also be the space for the sounds of the Santuri Safari DJs. In partnership with HIVOS, #Bayimba2014 presents Santuri Safari, a concept seeking to engage stakeholders (like Radio DJs, Performing DJs and Producer DJs) in developing musical products with a strong East African identity, emphasising new music, fusion projects, remixes and edits to enhance and eventually replace the dominating mainstream foreign music played on radios and in clubs.
For #Bayimba2014, the Santuri Safari DJs will work with Ugandan traditional musicians and sounds to fuse them with electronic sounds and present on the second stage every night at 22:30hrs. With the support of Goethe Zentrum/UGCS Kampala, the Santuri Safari DJs will also work together German musician Jonas Hummel on a collaboration ‘My Radio, My Voice’, a concept that seeks to make music and instruments from old electronic devices.
Our multidisciplinary stage in the Auditorium presents dance, film, music, drama, poetry and discussions. This year we shall have:
- Contemporary and hip hop dance by Restless Feet (Kampala), La Baila Clinic (Enbtebbe), Street Dance Force (Jinja), Mircale Saints (Entebbe) and Dream House Uganda (Mbale).
- Stand-up comedy and drama by FourSum, The Punchliners, Pride Performers Africa, Abazeeyi be Bama, and Zubairi Family.
- Kadongo Kamu ‘Golden Oldies’ Misuseera Ssegamwenge, Matia Kakumirizi and Hadija Namale.
- Blue Stars Modern Taraab (Busia), a fusion of coastal sounds from Zanzibar and Mombasa, and the Kisingora Cultural Women Group, playing an almost extinct instrument that is played by four people.
- The winners of the End of the Weak MC challenge competing at the finals.
- A debate on Artist Rights and the Value of Creative Expression by Artwatch Africa and Arterial Network (see below).
- An exciting film programme curated by Maisha Film Lab (see below).
To ensure that the festival venue is a continuous beehive of activity, the spaces of the festival will also be home to a range of other already known and established but also new activities:
- Remember those street musicians that walk around homestead and playing an instrument or two for money? To enable these artists to showcase themselves to a wider audience, we shall have our lunchtime program with Omusajja wa kagali (on guitar), Michal Kavuma (accordion) and Mayanja Omugoma (drums) on different days of the festival in the restaurant.
- For the visual arts lovers, on top of our nicely curated installations, we shall have a “Fashion Dome” made out recycled materials by Afrika Arts Kollektive. Here the fashion shows of the festival shall take place.
- An Animation workshop will be organized in partnership with Crossroads Multimedia Ltd, offering a first time experience to our audiences in animation works and graphic designs.
- A Vocal Training workshop, a first-hand experience offered to our audience to test the challenges musicians face when preparing to record and perform their music. The vocal training experience, by Kaz Kasozi, will take place every day in the Big Hut from 12hrs.
- A Pop-Up Studio will be on location, in partnership with Sawa Records, where festival revellers can record their own song.
- Senzala Uganda shall be offering Capoeira classes for beginners on a daily basis at the Dance Floor.
- Daily Yoga classes for beginners in the Big Hut.
- The famous Silent Disco on Saturday and Sunday evening at the Dance Floor (pay an additional 2,000 UGX).
- An ongoing Photography Exhibition in the Foyer of the National Theatre.
Professional Workshops and Trainings
In line with tradition, the 7th edition of the festival has a number of professional workshops and trainings (pre-registration required) taking place before and during the festival, such as:
- The Creative Writers workshop will present a production in the Auditorium by seven poets and musicians, facilitated and produced by Deborah Asiimwe, Specialist at Sundance Institute East Africa.
- The Arts Journalism workshop for the fifth year works with ten emerging arts journalism writers to produce the Bayimba Festival Newspaper that comes out twice during the festival.
- The Live Event Coverage workshop with a focus on event photography this year, led by young Rwandese photographer Iba Ikuweza, will ensure the festival is well-covered and documented.
Artwatch Africa discussion on Artist Rights and the Value of Creative Expression
There is increasing recognition of the potential of cultural industries as economic drivers but is there requisite support for artist rights and freedom of creative expression? What needs to be done to improve conditions for democratic arts practice in Africa? Does society fully recognise the intrinsic value of arts and culture for its citizens? At #Bayimba2014, a panel of experienced cultural practitioners will focus the issues. Presented by Arterial Network and Artwatch Africa, with support from Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, Swedish Postcode Lottery, Mimeta, HIVOS, Goethe Institute, DOEN Foundation. Panelists are: Panelists: Faisal Kiwewa (Director of Bayimba International Festival), Blick Bassy (artist from Cameroon), Ayeta Wangusa (Director of CDEA – Culture and Development East Africa), Sara Nsigaye (Director of Native Travel). Moderator: Peter Rorvik (Secretary-General, Arterial Network).
In partnership with Maisha Film Lab, #Bayimba2014 will again screen the finest African feature films and short films, every day starting at 12hrs, in the Auditorium and the Green room, and every after each film screening, there will be a panel discussion.
Friday September 19th (12hrs to 16hrs/Auditorium): films on “Conflict Resolution”
– “The First Grader” – Justin Chadwick, 103 min.The true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.
– “War Dance” – Sean Fine, Andrea Nix, 105 min.This powerful film shows the redemptive power of music. Three children living in a displacement camp in northern Uganda compete in their country’s national music and dance festival.
Saturday September 20th (12hrs to 16hrs/Auditorium): films on “Romance”
– “Mississippi Masala” – Mira Nair, 118 min.An Indian family is expelled from Uganda when Idi Amin takes power. They move to Mississippi and time passes. The Indian daughter falls in love with a black man, and the respective families have to come to terms with it.
– “Touki Bouki” – Djibril Diop Mambéty, 95 min.Mory, a cowherd who rides a motorcycle mounted with a cow’s skull, and Anta, a university student, have met in Dakar, Senegal’s capital. Alienated and disaffected with Senegal and Africa, they long to go to Paris and work up different con schemes to raise the money. Mory steals clothing and money from a wealthy gay man who had brought him home, and he and Anta book passage on a ship to France.
Sunday September 21st (12hrs to 16hrs/Green Room); “Youth” films
“New Boy” – Steph Green, 11 min. An Academy Award nominee for Best Short Film in 2009, is about a nine year old Rwandan boy who struggles to fit in socially over the course of his first day at an Irish school.
“Christmas Turkey”- Washiwala Reagan, Maisha, 9 min.A story about Kim, a young teenage boy whose father is a no-good-drunk who does not provide for the family. This creates a lot of domestic problems between his parents, which really upsets Kim. He spends his free time playing football with the neighbourhood boys, and it’s on one of these occasions that he comes across the Christmas turkey offer that promises to be an opportunity for him to save Christmas at his home.
“She’s Not My Mother” – Omona Collines, Maisha, 4 min. A story about a boy who tries to avoid his lowly impoverished mother who works as a school cleaner in the school he attends. His aim is to impress upon the other students that he comes from a well–to-do background, but this does not last as his antics are uncovered when a motorcycle knocks down his dejected mother and his emotion and empathy take over.
“Never Lose Hope” – Katushabe Patience, Maisha, 8 min. A story about Grace, a 16-year-old girl, who is taken in by her aunt after her mother’s death and forced to become the family housemaid. Grace hopes to be able to go back to school but her aunt refuses to pay attention saying she doesn’t have money. Even when Grace manages to get a scholarship her aunt refuses to let her go and destroys the scholarship letter. Grace writes a letter to her teacher explaining the situation, which is delivered by her friend Gift. Her teacher confronts Grace’s Aunt about the situation. Will they be able to resolve the situation and get Grace back into school?
“Kanyambo” – Nicolas Impano Blaise, Maisha, 11 min. Kanyambo an 11-year-old girl, dreams of competing in a tyre race, usually reserved for boys. Her mother, Miss Alice, will hear none of it while Mr. Harera, the owner of the Boys’ tyre club, is not ready to allow her into the competition.
“Rastasophical” – Arnold Aganze, Maisha, 13 min. A story of a former child soldier Arnold Aganze from Congo who finds himself in Uganda. Arnold tries to integrate into the Ugandan community but discovers that he cannot. He is trying to come to terms with his past, a dark story from the time when the civil war in Congo had spilled over into his village in South Kivu. Now he only feels safe with people who, like him, have lived through a violent past. Eventually Arnold meets with a man from Kampala’s Rasta community, a community that has lived through exclusion and isolation. Finally Arnold feels he has met his family.
“4G Spirit” – Rahema Nanfuka, Maisha, 10 min.4G Spirit is a Bobi Wine Fan who sings Bobi Wine’s lyrics by the roadside to entertain people. Will he finally meet Bobi Wine?