With 56 tribes, Uganda is blessed with various cultures.
Every tribe has a traditional dance which is an identity of its people. With sounds from locally-made drums, flutes, guitars and whistles – among others – most songs are crafted in the form of poetry and proverbs in order to disseminate messages.
For example, the Amaganda dance from the Baganda is known for the way its dancers shake their waists; whereas the Ekitaagur’ro dance from the Banyankore is characterised by its high jumps.
Realising how rich Uganda’s dance culture is, Chibuku, beer brand brewed by Nile Breweries Limited, stepped in to promote the country’s vast cultures.
Instigated in 2014, the Chibuku Dance Competition has seen more than 100 cultural groups participate.
For this year’s edition, the organisers had been traversing the country since February, and had 110 groups participate. Every sub-region was given a chance to present 11 groups, from which a champion was selected. Last Saturday, the 11 regional winners competed at the National Theatre where the overall champion was crowned.
Davidson Wadada, the traditional beverages manager at Nile Breweries, told This Is Africa that although “modernity” is still trying to rob Africa of its priceless norms, most Africans cannot let go of their pride and identity.
“Traditional dance showcases what Africa is all about, and mostly how we spend our leisure time and entertain ourselves,” Wadada said. “We want to send a message to the rest of the world so they can understand something about our rich culture.”
Because Chibuku is made of sorghum and maize – which are locally grown in Uganda – farmers also have an opportunity to sell their produce to the Jinja-based brewery.
Wadada added: “We want to touch [the] lives of Ugandans and ensure they earn from farming because they provide us with the raw materials for producing this drink. We market Africa to the rest of the world by touching [the] lives and norms of our people.”
Each of the 11 participating groups presented a folk song and a traditional dance. It was from here that Masters of Drums from Masaka, in Central Uganda, were crowned champions and awarded Shs 3,000,000 (USD $827), as well as a set of costumes and traditional musical instruments. In the second position was Sana Dance group, and were given Shs 2,000,000 (USD $551) and a set of costumes, while the second runners-up, Bull Dance Group, walked away with Shs 1,000,000 (USD $276).