Uganda’s representatives at the East African Community Arts and Culture Festival (JAMAFEST) were above average as they put up a thrilling show of cultural dances on the first day of the regional fair taking place in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.
It’s the fourth time the festival codenamed Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni (JAMAFEST) is being held as part of the drive to promote the East African integration.
Team Uganda led by the Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, Peace Mutuuzo Regis is composed of dance troops from across the regions as well as leaders from the two streams of arts and culture in Uganda.
On Saturday, which was the first day of the festival taking place between 21st and 29th September 2019, saw the Community member States participate in a street carnival which involved showcasing cultural performances from their respective countries.
Mesmerized Tanzanians lined the streets as they stood body to body to catch a glimpse of cultural performances from neighbouring countries.
Pupils from Clevers’ Origin Junior School from Kitintale in Kampala and Mizizi Ensemble dance group combined forces to thrill onlookers with the Bakisimba dance from Buganda region through the streets and back to the Tanzanian National Stadium where it all climaxed.
Minister Mutuuzo underscored the importance of promoting integration through culture since the East Africans share a similar cultural heritage that was only distorted by the creation of the colonial boundaries.
The Tanzanian Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe commended the East African countries for turning up for the festival that Tanzania is hosting for the first time.
He pledged that Tanzania would ensure that the event achieves its intended objective as guided by the theme: “Cultural Diversity: A Key Driver to Regional Integration, Economic Growth and Promotion of Tourism”.
Among the Ugandan delegation are Members of Parliament; Agnes Kunihiira, Kibalya Maurice and Lucy Akello.
Others are the Under Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Benon Kigenyi, the Commissioner Culture and Family Affairs, Juliana Naomo, the Executive Director Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC), Francis Peter Ojede and the chair board of trustees UNCC, Okello Kelli Sam.
Two cultural institutions; Tooro and Obwenengo Bwa Bugwe out of the sixteen gazetted by the Government are also represented.
The Ugandan night will feature on Wednesday, 25th September 2019 and Hon. Mutuuzo will preside over as the chief guest.
The official opening ceremony took place yesterday on Sunday and the President of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli was expected to preside over.
Among other activities lined up through the week are a symposium, exhibition, music gala, theatrical performances, traditional children’s games, fashion and modelling and local films screening.
The last JAMAFEST was held in Kampala and was officially recognized as the best arranged so far.