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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

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

“I earned 120K at my first job” Brian Ahumuza consoles Sheila Gashumba

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By Reporter

Fashion guru Ahumuza Brian of Abryanz Collection has revealed how he was also being paid 120 monthly salary. Through his social media platforms, Ahumuza Brian has revealed how much he was paid being when he had just started his fashion road years ago.

Ahumuza opened up his first store, The Abryanz Collection Store, a clothing retail opened its doors to the public in 2010 at Prime Complex and in 2014, the Abryanz Collection was awarded as the Best Youth Fashion Store at the Kadanke Youth Awards.At the Abryanz Style & Fashion Awards in 2015, the Abryanz Collection launched its first custom made collection. The majority of the pieces are now on sale in stores. This collection was collaboration between Brian Ahumuza and a few fashion designers in Korea.

The Abryanz Collection has also showcased at many of the past Buzz Teeniez Awards events, and Kadanke Youth Awards. Off the runway, the collection has exhibited in secondary schools within Kampala and across Central region during the school tours organized by the fashion magnet.

The Abryanz Style & Fashion Awards. (2013- To Date)

With the idea of getting the fashion industry in Uganda pronounced and established, Brian Ahumuza begun The Abryanz Style & Fashion Awards back in 2013.

Abryanz was named the new Ciroc UG Brand ambassador on 14 October 2016. The fashion guru broke records as he became the first East African to endorse the Premium Vodka Brand, Ciroc.

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Celebrity Gossip

A Mbarara 9 year old releases her debut single

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By Reporter

Have you thought about the children’s entertainment specially during this lockdown? 

This is sorted as a 9 year old girl from Mbarara district releases  her first solo video titled ‘NINZA KWEGA’ literally meaning ‘I WILL LEARN’ 

Murungi is undoubtedly talented  and picks inspiration from her mother Emily Kikazi, the region’s reigning Best Female Artist. Murungi’s project does not come as a mistake since she recently featured her mother in the trending Runyankore song titled Twerinde Coronavirus. Murungi brings out a strong voice and wonderful gestures in the NINZA KWEGA single. It’s not the first time she appears before a camera. In 2019, Murungi appeared in a song visual titled ‘Mwana Wangye’ where the mother was telling her to be a well behaved child. Now in her Ninza Kwega song, the young beautiful Murungi, like her name, seems to be putting into practice what the mother taught her. Murungi is a lucky girl. She is already signed under her mother’s label called SUPER RICH GANG and the song was produced by the best producer Deus Kabagambe of sure tunes and Video was shot by VoltFilms. The mother tells us that she has a full independent management under the same label led by one U-Turn Fahard who is an influencer in the region. 

The mother, Emily Kikazi, an artist, says she is aiming at a big brand Murungi not just a stage performing artist. Murungi is having a personal music coach who doubles as her producer Deus Kabagambe. In just hours, her Facebook page MURUNGI and Youtube channel MURUNGI UG have shown pretty good growth. I recommend this video for every parent and child. Good luck MURUNGI!

Watch her debut single here

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Celebrity Gossip

Lydia Jazmine, Feffe Bussi, Tonix and Grenade light up Club Beatz second edition

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By Reporter

The second edition of Club Beatz at Home online concert took place on Saturday and featured singers Lydia Jazmine, Grenade, Feffe Bussi and Tonix. The show as usual was hosted by Martha Kay and DJ Aludah made his debut appearance.

The Club Pilsner organised show lived up expectations and got fans piling praise for the exhibition. All artistes performed in the comfort of their homes.

The show started with Allan Tonix electrifying ‘Swag Meter’ performance. Tonix also did ‘Sikuleka’, ‘Romance’, and ‘Sunday’ before leaving the mic for Grenade. Grenade did his master pieces Nkuloga and Akaama among other songs and still put up a good show.

Lydia Jazmine then took over the show with her ‘Masuka’, ‘You and Me’, ‘Hit and Run’ among others. Feffe Bussi, the master of free style then closed the artistes’ show with ‘Business’, ‘Love Yo’ among others.

The party went on all night with Sir Aludah on the decks.

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UK Based Ugandan Singer BrenJeezy Releases Charity song Aimed at Improving lives of Less privileged Children, Watch here

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By Reporter

UK based Ugandan singer “Brenjeezy” recently released a video featuring some underprivileged children in the small town of Kawempe, Uganda. The song is called “Give Me water, Give Me Freedom, Give me life” it is about the beauty if Africa, but at the same time it highlights the poverty that many young children in uganda face. The song was written by Canadian singer/songwriter Rox Hunter and Adrian Brewer from the UK.

From this single and video we hope to raise awareness and money to help look after the children and their families. Brenjeezy has been working alongside a charity called Walk For Water, and they have been able to provide for the kids in Kawempe during the current lockdown due to covid-19 outbreak

Brenjeezy real name Brenda Caroline Walugembe has also worked with many charities in uganda before and is passionate about children.

Watch it here

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