Kenyan teams arrive in Uganda for cultural festivals

A student performs at the ongoing joint Kenya and Uganda Music, Dance and Drama Festivals at Mbale Secondary School in Uganda. [ PHOTO: GEORGE ORIDO/Standard]

The Kenyan delegation has arrived in Uganda for the Kenya-Uganda drama and music festivals.

Mbale Secondary School is hosting this year's festivals. The Kenyan team led by Elymaryta Khaoya sampled some of the best items from the Pearl of Africa.

Education matters took centre stage as Ugandan teams entertained the audience with scintillating dances and interweaving stories.

Nmasagali College presented a folk song depicting a father who swears never to pay school fees for his pregnant daughter.

"We have seen many young girls dropping out of school for this and we thought it was important to promote the girl child who faces a myriad of problems on their way to getting a decent education," choreographer Joshua Isabinye said.

Echoing this message, Kyeizooba Girls Secondary School presented an original composition Murekye Omwishiki Ashome (Allow the girl child to learn).

The song depicts unscrupulous men who marry underage girls making them drop out of school. And Masindi Army Secondary School from Bunyoro, western Uganda presented another education based story in the folk song Twengonze. In this story, a family celebrates its daughter's graduation. But there is no work as the job market is saturated.

And to push the point home, Bukedea Life Line Secondary School presented a Teso folk song, Okilenika Ijotoi Ijo, on job creation.

Basing their theme on Uganda's Vision 2040, the students hope Uganda will improve in education, health and agriculture so that the youth can get jobs. In the folk song, a woman wakes up her husband so they may go till the farm and be assured of a bright future.

The festival took a spiritual turn when Mackay Memorial College Nateete from Kampala presented a folk song Ejjembe Kawaga.

Ejjembe is a spirit who has been annoyed by the unbecoming behaviour of the Baganda community and he punishes them.

The community suffers sickness, poverty and barrenness but is saved after a ceremony to appease the spirit.
Soloists Nakabuye Madrine and Shadrack Mubaale interlude well to bring out the urgency and the frustration of the community.

Not forgetting the fusion of the drums Engoma, Bakishimba, Empuunyi, Namunjoloba, Engalabi, the flute (Endere) and the fiddle (Endingidi).

Schools from Kenya expected to perform include Narok High School, Kaaga Girls High School, Kakamega High School, Nyabondo Boys, State House Girls, Lwak Girls High School and Dagoretti High School, Drys Girls High School, St Joseph's Junior Seminary, Bungoma High School, Sironga Girls and Chavakali High School.

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