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Turning a Hobby into a Profession: Edwin Danze Makes a Mark on Gaming in Uganda

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For the very first time since it’s inception, the Global Games and Politics exhibition is set to take place in Uganda and the organizers Goetzentrum have contracted seasoned gamer Edwin Danze to curate the events of the exhibition.

This comes as no surprise to someone who has been following the video gaming scene in the country because the name Danze always seems to pop up somewhere if not everywhere.

From playing in a number of events, advocating for the video gaming industry, organizing gaming tournaments and collaborating with international stakeholders, he has made a visible mark on gaming in Uganda.

Uganda has a ‘seemingly’ casual gaming scene but this is just a perception, one that is created by the fact that gaming isn’t considered a Sport. Globally, gaming is one of the biggest e-sports, earning brands and individuals loads of money and clout. I’ve taken it upon myself to steer the ship in the right direction,” said Danze in a recent interview.

For years now, he has entered partnerships with a number of local and international brands all with an aim of improving and popularizing video gaming in the country with his most focus being the young and youthful Ugandans.

Between 2011 and 2016, in partnership with Buzz Events, a youth marketing agency, Danze was the key curator of the Buzz gaming events which gathered students from across the country to participate for an ultimate prize.

He has partnered with Crown Beverages through their premium brand Mountain Dew to organize the National Xtreme Gamers’ tour (2014-2016), a tour that moved across the country interesting young people into gaming and rewarding those that showcased great skills. The Xtreme gamers tour rewarded gamers with consoles, money, product and an opportunity to network with a community that’s uniquely theirs (gaming community).

In Uganda, gamers are an isolated bunch. The gaming community is large but it is also primarily virtual with most gamers doing so at the comfort of their homes.

But Danze believes that this is something that can change.

Through gaming events, we can mobilize youths, grow the gaming community and create employment for gamers and game developers,” he said.

On top of Buzz gaming events and the National Extreme Gamers’ tour, Danze has curated the then Orange Expo gaming experience, Gladiators digital gaming experience, Ultimate Gamer championships, CocaCola Schools FIFA league among others.

The buzz and reputation he had created locally got him an opportunity in 2021 to be spotted by Activision, the makers of the game Call of Duty who contracted him to curate the Call of Duty Mobile Gaming tour in Uganda on behalf of their global beverage partner Mountain Dew.

Call of Duty Mobile was licensed and sampled to understand what the market was like in Uganda. It was a niche audience but at the end of the day, it painted a picture of Uganda’s reception of the game and drove sales for Mountain Dew who was our beverage partner,” he said.

Speaking about his current project – curating activities for the Games and Politics exhibition, Danze says it’s an opportunity to bring together stakeholders in the gaming industry to socialize and learn together.

A game is always more than just a game. There is a lot of political intonation in video games; the politics of gender, the politics of race, the politics of body perfection among other things. These are the things that we are going to be showcasing and discussing throughout the exhibition,” he said.

He added; “the event will attract people from the gaming industry; game developers in Uganda, character designers, investors who have been investing in gaming, people who have been collaborating gaming in Africa and players.”

Asked why he does what he does, Danze said he is trying to raise a voice for the many people in the industry whose voices are not heard and whose stories have not been told.

The gaming industry in the country has game developers but their story is not being told. No one knows about them. We have people who do character designs, those who model gaming environments but their story is not known,” he said.

“We have people like Creatures Animation who are doing animations for Disney right now but that story is not celebrated enough. Also, the people in gaming parlors who spend a lot of money to buy equipment but charge a little amount of money for people to play,

I would like to highlight all these things that affect us as gamers and push this supposed hobby to become something big.”  

Who is Edwin Danze?

Born in 1988 in Kampala, Uganda, Danze is currently the Head of Digital Marketing at Next Media Services.

A TV Host, Radio Presenter and producer of a show called Another Round Ug.

He’s worked for various brands such as The Sylvia Owori, African Woman Magazine as a social media manager, Digital Manager at Fireworks Advertising, Brainchild Burson Marsteller in 2017 he joined NBS Television as the Head of Digital Marketing.

Danze is trained in Digital Marketing by BBC World Service, Voice of America – U.S Agency for Global Media and DW and studied Industrial and Fine Arts from Makerere University.

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