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An Alternative Nyege Nyege experience

Nyege Nyege is a four day international music festival held once a year at the banks of the River Nile in Jinja, Uganda. This year’s Nyege Nyege festival sparked a lot of controversy, heightened when the state Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, declared it “immoral” and advocated for the event’s cancellation.

 

Despite the minister’s claims however, the Nyege Nyege event took place. A few individuals that had never attended the event before were skeptical due to the minister’s assertions while those of us that had, were positive that there would be so much more to Nyege Nyege than booze and the proclaimed immorality.

A display of the arts

The event goes on all day and all night and if one only attended the night time party (which many people opt to do), I can see how the beauty displayed during the daytime can go unnoticed. This year, I only attended Day 4 of the event (Sunday) which also happens to be the last day and the wind down of the festival. The ambiance was calm and relaxed. Either everyone was fatigued from non-stop partying the days before or it was just a different crowd on Sunday. Either way, it was nothing like what Mr. Lukodo had described. I strolled round the rather massive venue grounds and took in the different artistic displays, from abstract paintings to different kinds of textile and paper crafts. I’m a sucker for art and beauty and the River Nile provided the perfect back drop for all of the creative displays.

A culinary journey

I couldn’t help but notice the variety of food available all day at the events. Several Rolex stands dotted the grounds (a Ugandan favorite) as well food booths from local and international restaurants. Almost everything pleasantly edible was available and the grounds were perfect to sit back and enjoy a filling Sunday meal with friends.

 

A celebration of culture

Lastly, when I stepped on the Nyege Nyege grounds, I couldn’t help but respond to cultural music that played in the distance. The sound of drums accompanied by various local instruments called me to join the celebration and as the day went on, an array of different types of music and dancing continued to fill the air. Not to mention the five different stages, each one offering a unique experience.

I left the event at nightfall and headed back to Kampala feeling very content. I urge more people to step out and reach for new experiences, unbiased by the opinions of others. I’m a true believer that life is what you make it and as an individual, you have the power to dictate your own narrative. In the words of one of the former first ladies of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, “the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

BY FAY KAKAI

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