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Africa’s Burning Man, Uganda’s Coachella? A Rare Perspective of Nyege Nyege Festival 2017

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Nyege Nyege festival 2017

By Ian Ortega

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On Friday, 1st September 2017, Jinja, Uganda was home once again to the third edition of the Nyege Nyege festival. Much more than ever before, Nyege Nyege was on everyone’s lips. It was be there or be nowhere else. And indeed, there’s a likelihood that a good number that attended did so out of FOMO. They wanted to experience it right at the source and not wait to hear stories.

In 2015, when Nyege Nyege started off, no one could have predicted that this 3 day affair would be a must-attend for every artsy person that was out to discover the hidden gems of authentic contemporary African music. For 2017, it was four stages among which included the Bell Stage, the Chill, Umoja and Electro. Each of these stages lived up to their definition, and it was a once in a year opportunity for underground African music legends to showcase these styles that bring out the Africa in everyone and help everyone know more about the rhythms and rhymes of Africa.

Nyege Nyege festival 2017

The chill stage was about the superb chill, that area for one to relax, rejuvenate, shake lazily, tuck a drink and bond with another. On Friday, Zontor and Zipporah took the day at the chill stage. In 2016, Zontor was here; it was another homecoming for him. In the same spirit, Dj Raph did it like he was writing his legacy in beats, Samedia crowned it on Sunday.

Then came the Umoja stage. Phenomenal, meditative, insightful, an acid trip. It was a musical psychedelic experience. The words of Timothy Leary came true here. At Umoja, you turned on, tuned in and dropped out. By turning on, Nyegenians amplified their ears to the sounds of generations, the sounds of Africa, becoming receptive of the consciousness that music brings with it. When they tuned in, they became fully present, there was meaning in the external, it all made sense, with freedom, and a lightness. Finally they chose to drop out, dropping out of all social conventions, experiencing those underground African sounds, being counter-culture and tapping into their individual creativity. At Umoja, you would passively or actively get lit. The weed was the way, it was an emancipation from mental and musical slavery.

But there was the Electro where Ortega found his bearing at the hands of Contours and Semedia Sheeben. You did not have to know how to shake, it was an automatic response. Not forgetting Dj Rachael’s trances on Friday that set the pace for the next days to come.

Nyege Nyege festival 2017

Finally the whole Nyege Nyege converged at the Bell Stage. Did you see that Kongoloko and Latinum performance, though short-lived? Rennis’ energy was out of this world. His style truly revolutionary. There was Symbiz, all the way from Germany bringing continental love in the full package. You can’t remember Bell Stage until you remember; “tumpeco, loco, and rolex.”

Nyege Nyege 2017 was that point in time where you just chose to let your skeletons out of the closet and just be. You put down all the veils of holding back and hypocrisy and just exhibited your true generic self. Rolexes were the order of the day. You got it and ate it with much love.

A number of people said the rain and mud messed up the thing. On the contrary, the rain is what made the experience one worth remembering. For what is Africa except a conversation with nature. And how better to converse with mother earth than partake in her muddy moments, have those shivers, get some coffee, or a Bell Lager, or a Uganda Waragi and hold closely to your neighbour. It should never be Nyege Nyege unless there is a touch of rain and mud. That’s what defines the camping experience.

Nyege Nyege festival 2017

Nyege Nyege has also gotten a bad rap for being Uganda’s sex-fest. Indeed, a number of those who rushed to attend Nyege Nyege were motivated by this myth of a sex-fest. On the contrary, Nyege Nyege still sticks to its theme. Of course the sex happens. But even then, the organisers had these ladies moving around with boxes of condoms actively encouraging revellers to pick as many as they could just in case. It was very impressive to see that safe sex was something they passed on to every Nyegenian. In the same lines, security was at its best. Only at this Festival did you not have to worry about your wallet or your phone going missing as you danced out all your rare alien moves.

My major with Nyege Nyege, and these are personal fears is that it may become too ‘white’ and thus retrogress from the Africanness that it aimed to espouse in the first place. There is a likelihood that soon the number of non-African revellers will surpass the African ones and it will be another of those neo-colonial events. It is my the worst of my fears of the dystopia that could become of Nyege Nyege. The signs were evident. Although Nyege Nyege is still Afro-centric, the organisers should be very careful that it doesn’t become another event that tries to impress ‘white revellers’ with what Africa is all about. NYEGE Nyege should never forget the well from which it drew its inspiration. It should at all costs, despite the temptation, adhere to remember why it chose the World Festival of Black Arts as its inspiration. It should forever be a way Africa and Uganda share their uncorrupted soul with the world.

Nyege Nyege festival 2017

So whereas Nyege Nyege has been described by some as Africa’s burning man or Uganda’s Coachella, I think Nyege Nyege deserves not this comparison. It should be seen for what it is, Uganda’s invitation to the rest of the world. Only wish, the chaps in charge of tourism can put up the necessary infrastructure, for Nyege Nyege is going to be Uganda’s defining festival. Government should be thinking of constructing that road to the Nile Discovery beach in a way that reflects African architecture.

Despite these fears of mine, Nyege Nyege still lived up to its billing, it under promised and over-delivered. It was a melange of all these authentic, diverse African cultures, music, souls, languages and cuisines. There was even Jollof rice. It was a time to get back to the source of who we are as a people, of the things that unite us more than what divides us. It was the peak of artistic expression. To Nyege Nyege 2018, I have booked my place. Shall we? I still wake up to vivid dreams of Nyege Nyege, I have to tap myself out of the trance, the Afrocentric nostalgia is very much alive, just like that Rasta Kitchen.

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Celebrity Gossip

Mesach Semakula Promises Powerful Performance at “Bwagamba Experience” Concert

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The Golden Band singer Mesach Semakula has promised a powerful performance at his 2019 concert dubbed “Bwagamba Experience”. The concert will take place on Friday 14th June 2019 at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

Speaking to this website, Mesach Semakula revealed that the ““Bwagamba Experience” concert will be a memorable event.

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“I will be performing all my songs since I started for my friends and fans that have supported me for all this years. Preparations for the concert are ongoing. Am working with my team to make sure we give a memorable event,” he said.

The concert comes a few weeks after Mesach Semakula was honored by the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II at his 64th birthday celebrations. The Kabaka honoured Mesach with special certificate for his enormous contribution towards the Buganda Kingdom.

Mesach Semakula last held a concert in March 2017. The successful concert dubbed “Totya Bigambo” attracted a huge crowd of revelers.

The “Bwagamba Experience” concert will also have subsequent shows at Colline Hotel in Mukono on Saturday – 15th June, Luweero on Sunday – 16th June, Zebra Spot Kira on Friday – 21st June, Kyotera on Saturday – 22nd June and Maria Flo in Masaka on Sunday – 23rd June 2019.

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Photos: Jose Chameloene Donates Bus to Wakiso Giants FC

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Leone Island CEO Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone is in a high gear and anxiously campaigning for his mayoral post come 2021.

The ‘Champion’s hit maker unveiled the new travel monster to the local Oscar club Wakiso Giants FC.

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Below is his speech after the official handover of the travel facility.

“It’s was a great morning as I presented a BUS to WAKISO GIANTS FC at the home ground in Wakiso.

Upon my recent travel around the USA 2018,

As I was on my way to Phoenix I fortunately sat next to one kind Man, As we chatted he took me though an adventure of his business. I also shared to him who I was which got him overwhelmed and upon off boarding the flight we shared contacts and promised to reach out each other again.

Yes we did when I met him again In Oregon, we talked about passions in which I told him of what I do beyond music. I love sports and – Wakiso Giants FC my team that I have loved and supported regardless!!

He picked a lot of interest and asked me what best he can contribute to us.

On more talk he mentioned that he had a bus company and asked Whether giving WAKISO GIANTS one would make a change. I was so happy and immediately reached the administration of this team because he only gave a bus to the team and wasn’t responsible to ship and pay tax for it.

Long story short the Bus is finally here and today morning I officially handed it to the team together with the FUFA president Mr. Moses Magogo

I am so proud that we have ability that we can exploit if given a chance. PURPLE SHARKS – Enjoy your bus LEONE ISLAND MUSIC EMPIRE” Chameleone affirmed.

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Celebrity Gossip

Photos: Jose Chameloene Donates Bus to Wakiso Giants FC

Published

on

Leone Island CEO Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone is in a high gear and anxiously campaigning for his mayoral post come 2021.

The ‘Champion’s hit maker unveiled the new travel monster to the local Oscar club Wakiso Giants FC.

New TECNO Spark 3 with AI bright camera now available at RRP 429,000 UGX Click here for more

Below is his speech after the official handover of the travel facility.

“It’s was a great morning as I presented a BUS to WAKISO GIANTS FC at the home ground in Wakiso.

Upon my recent travel around the USA 2018,

As I was on my way to Phoenix I fortunately sat next to one kind Man, As we chatted he took me though an adventure of his business. I also shared to him who I was which got him overwhelmed and upon off boarding the flight we shared contacts and promised to reach out each other again.

Yes we did when I met him again In Oregon, we talked about passions in which I told him of what I do beyond music. I love sports and – Wakiso Giants FC my team that I have loved and supported regardless!!

He picked a lot of interest and asked me what best he can contribute to us.

On more talk he mentioned that he had a bus company and asked Whether giving WAKISO GIANTS one would make a change. I was so happy and immediately reached the administration of this team because he only gave a bus to the team and wasn’t responsible to ship and pay tax for it.

Long story short the Bus is finally here and today morning I officially handed it to the team together with the FUFA president Mr. Moses Magogo

I am so proud that we have ability that we can exploit if given a chance. PURPLE SHARKS – Enjoy your bus LEONE ISLAND MUSIC EMPIRE” Chameleone affirmed.

(Visited 1 time, 1 visit today)
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