Diverse responses as Nyege Nyege in Uganda

Diverse responses as Nyege Nyege concludes

The Nyege Nyege Festival, arguably the most well-known arts and cultural event in Uganda, came to a close in Jinja City yesterday.

Although the event has caused controversy throughout the years, nothing has ever stopped it from happening.

The four-day event, which began on Thursday, elicited a range of emotions from attendees. 

Others argue that the event organizers should finally resolve their venue dilemma, while some argue the concept has to be reconsidered.

Only at the massive Nile Discovery Resort in Njeru did the event have a permanent home.

Following seven prosperous iterations, there were rumors in 2022 that the home was listed for sale over a family dispute. 

Subsequently, it was revealed that Nyege Nyege will henceforth take place at Itanda Falls.

The Nile Source served as the venue for this year's event.

Nyege Nyege's devoted fans had to adjust to a new setting and figure out how to get about the four days without missing any events because of the site shift that occurred twice in a succession.

After attending at least four editions of the event, one of the attendees remarked, "It seems like you spend a big chunk of the festival trying to figure out which stage is where, and by the time you are comfortable with the location, it is already Sunday."

Spread across a sizable tract, The Source of the Nile is home to several offices, hotels, and a golf course. Despite having two or three stages strewn about, the Golf Course serves as the primary venue for the event.

For example, the remaining entertainment is around thirty minutes distant from both the traditional music stage and the Busoga music stage. 

So far during the festival's duration, these stages have failed to draw a crowd of fifty attendees.

Due to the venue's large size, a lot of fans had to spend the majority of the day either switching between stages or settling on one and neglecting what was going on elsewhere.

The main stage, the Uganda Waragi stage, Hakuna Kulala, Smirnoff Rave, Busoga Music, and the Traditional Stage were among the six stages available this year. 

Certain enjoyable stages from previous iterations were eliminated, while others underwent renaming.

For example, techno, gabba, house, gumboot, and pop dance were the main courses at Nyege Nyege, a music event that gained notoriety as an outsiders' gathering.

People who came seeking for this style of music began to frequent venues like Darkstar and Boiler Room. 

On this occasion, though, the two stages amalgamated into a single entity and concealed at the limits of the event area.

Finding the stage by making your way through the muddy maze was a threat.
Even yet, despite the difficulties, the festival did have some positive aspects. 

Given that it began on Thursday in the face of terror threats, it is understandable to think that this edition was doomed from the beginning.

People were wary of one another and occasionally chose to skip performances in the restaurant sections and hospitality tents, so the low attendance on the first day did not improve the issue.

There was a significant deployment of security officers along with a five-point increase in checks.

Even though they were required, they made it impossible for people to move throughout the festival grounds; as a result, some chose to stay in one place rather than face more of the same.

However, there were several noteworthy highlights, including the energetic performances by Tash LC, ODO, A Pass, Karole Kasita, and Sho Madjozi.

The South African rapper and musician Sho Madjozi previously visited Uganda in 2018 for Nyege Nyege. 

She led the crowd in dancing to Idhom and Huku from her debut album, Limpopo Champions League.

In less than a year following her Nyege Nyege performance, Sho Madjozi won a BET Award and went on to record John Cena, a song that the wrestler himself would become interested in. 

Then Kelly Clarkson, the singer and talk show presenter, and Ellen DeGeneres launched her into the international spotlight.

Since the audience had been waiting so long for her performance, she was able to live up to the expectation and had the audience singing and dancing along with her even though she performed at two in the morning, two hours later than expected.

Experimental musician Sho Madjozi showcased her first visit is results on Saturday night, performing an ethnic tune using the folk ekibobo lyrics. 

Disco Matanga, John Cena, and Wakanda Forever were played as she concluded her set.

Sure, because of the situation at Itanda Falls, the event this time did not provide lodging or camping facilities, but that is a tale for another day.


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