When Kenneth Mugabi released his debut album Kibunomu, many wanted to believe he was a fresh artiste that had recorded music a couple of months back.
Yet in real sense, Mugabi had spent countless months writing the music, later composing and performing it. By the time he was gracing the Bayimba International festival, Milege World Music and Pearl Rhythm, among others, the songs he was performing were not documented. He was yet to get the money needed to have his music recorded.
In fact, even after he released the album at the Qwela Junction Crooners edition, he continued paying the producers directly from the album sales. Funding art has been a challenge in Uganda for a long time. It’s a situation that comes as a fact that many Ugandans, companies and the government have failed to see the importance of arts.
But those that struggle to work because they don’t have any form of funding are more than just musicians; some are art organizations putting together exhibitions, festivals or showcases.
In the past, all these events have managed to take place thanks to foreign funding. Today though, a series of economic hardships that hit different organizations that usually depended on funds didn’t spare the arts.
And that’s how the Bayimba Honors that is set for December 17 come in. According to Faisal Kiwewa, director of Bayimba Foundation, many people have not realised the need to donate or give back to the arts.
This, therefore, triggered the foundation to organise the awards and cultivate the culture of donating to the arts industry. The Bayimba Honors is going to be an arts philanthropy show that will appreciate individuals that have given back to art for the love of it.
“This is intended to encourage more people to give to the arts because that’s the only way we can maintain them,” Kiwewa says.
Kiwewa notes that there are many people that have given back to the arts in form of money, space and other forms of support. Due to their contribution, they want to celebrate them and probably en- courage others to join.
He says the biggest hindrance to growth of art in the country is the lack of a local financial support base. However, the honors won’t be only about those honored; there will also be entertainment from international music artiste Geoffrey Oryema. He will be gracing the Ugandan stage for the first time in about 30 years.
He is said to have been smuggled out of Uganda at the age of 24 in 1977 after the death of his father who had been a cabinet minister. He has since gone on to shine on the world music scene where he has released albums such as Exile, Beat the Border, Night to Night and Words, among others, mostly done in Acholi, Kiswahili, French and English.
Oryema will be joined by Sairus Balabyekubo alias Babaluku in a Hip Hop Orchestra featuring the Kampala Symphony Orchestra and the distinguished dancer Julius Lugaaya.