By Vanessa Kyalimpa
The waning threat of Covid-19 in Uganda is returning many pre-pandemic activities to the calendar. One such event is the Uganda Christian University (UCU) cultural gala that returned to the UCU Nkoyoyo Hall after a two-year hiatus.
Held on October 22 under the theme Culture, Character and Patriotism, the students used
the event to display a blend of different cultures in Uganda and beyond. Ugandan tribes, such as the Acholi, Lango, The Iteso, Karimojong, Banyankole, Batooro, Bagisu, Basoga and Baganda, as well as Nigerians, presented traditional crafts, dress code, cultural anthem, storytelling, dance and a history on their origin. However, it was the dances that attracted the loudest applause from the crowd.
The performances for the cultural gala that was organised by the UCU student leaders were graded based on presentation and time management. By the end of the day, the cultural food, wear, dance and crafts of the Teso team had won the hearts of the adjudicators and they were declared the Best Cultural Exhibitors of the event.
For the feat, the Teso team received sh1million (about $270) from the UCU Vice-Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, in addition to the sh1.5million (about $400) which was their reward from the organisers. The Lango cultural group that emerged the runners-up, walked home with sh500,000 (about $130). The rest of the participants were given certificates.
Bridget Mugume, the Director of Student Affairs at UCU, said an awards ceremony will be organised for the winning team.
The leader of the Teso cultural team said unlike other teams that concentrated on a single task in particular, they worked as a team by balancing the effort put into all the tasks they were asked to perform.
Asiimwe Zipporah, a third year student of Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication, said such exhibitions help students to understand and appreciate their culture, as well as of other people. She added that because of the influence of foreign culture, many people have forgotten about their roots.
Pontius Kayeru, a government official who attended the function, expressed his gratitude for what he called “the students’ displays of patriotism” throughout the event. Kayeru, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner of Mukono, said that what he saw on stage was a “reflection of identity, growth and learning how to get along with other people.” He encouraged the students to keep up with the tradition every year.
Racheal Sserwadda, the Guild President of UCU, congratulated the students upon a successful cultural gala and urged other tribes that did not take part to do so next year.
“It was an entertaining, educative and eye-catching event,” Sserwadda said, noting that the dances and the dressing were an attraction.