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The Pearl in Africa

Live from Uganda by our correspondent Kigozi Michael
A snippet into the pearl, Uganda is a land locked country found in East Africa, bordered by Sudan in the North, troubled Kenya in the East, DRC Congo in the West, the icon of democracy in the region Tanzania in the south and Rwanda in the south-west.¬†It’s only after you travel to Uganda that you discover the distinctive features Winston Churchill referred to as the pearl of Africa. Like many Ugandans it took me time to appreciate my beloved country Uganda. His accolades were due to the facts that beauty, wildlife, diversity and friendly people are what made up Uganda.

an_exhbitor_poses_for_the_camera_bildgre_ndern1The Staple diet is matooke (a special banana species) for the central regions, millet, and sorghum, cassava for northern and western parts of the country.Ugandans are endowed with a great traditional cultural heritage which is being cornered by western culture. This traditional cultural heritage comprises of different behavior patterns for each region or tribe, different arts and beliefs for all tribes; this also encompasses different institutions.Amongst the institutions are the different Monarchies that are found in the country. Buganda kingdom having Kabaka as the head, Bunyoro Kingdom the Omugabe, Toro Kingdom the Omukama , Busoga Kingdom the Isebantu and many more. These perform cultural and ceremonial duties on behalf of their subjects.All most all regions have traditional fashions for both genders. Buganda championing in this where the official dress code for a female is a Gomesi and Kanzu (Tunic) for the males. This traditional wear is shared by almost all regions as the official outfit for introduction Ceremonies.

The youth in Uganda have their share where majority prefer western culture. This is evident in their dress code, preferred music and movies such as hip hop, reggae, Dance hall, R n B etc. Yet at their disposal are traditional classics performed by the Nandujja, Ndere Troupe, and Percussions. Theatrical performances are there every weekend performed in local languages in the existent theatres such as Labonita, Pride Theatre and BAT Valley Theatre.
Currently some Ugandans are into the traditional culture but blended with some Western styles. This is evident amongst most Ugandan fashion designers such as Brenda Maraka of the Maraka Designs who says people lover and respect Ugandan designers.

wooden_elephats_at_the_bazzar_bildgre_ndernOther products of human work in Uganda are the Art and Crafts products. These are becoming a vibrant source of income for several craftsmen and Women. Art Galleries include the Nommo Gallery, National Theatre, and Crafts Africa Village etc.
There weekly mobile markets especially Fridays that are held show casing and trading in these crafts. These items include: woven baskets, mats, bark cloth items, Jewelry and Bead works, cow horn items, weapons, wood carvings, Batiks, and many more.

A friend from Mozambique studying at Makerere university in Uganda once went out with a Ugandan girl and by mid night he wanted to retire to his room and the girl had to initiate him into Uganda’s Night Life which is envied by all in the great lakes regions. Several night spots with karaoke, open bars and discotheques are what define Uganda’s night life. Social life is fun as you get to meet revelers with a cultural attribute of hospitality

(Text: Kigozi Michael / Photos: Kigozi Michael)


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