BY DOUGLAS OLUM & ESTHER TUSIIME BYONA
Basoga Nseete Students Association are the winners of the 2018 Uganda Christian University (UCU) Students’ Cultural Gala.
The association was pronounced winner at the event held on Saturday, October 20 at Nkoyoyo Hall, after garnering 414 marks out of 500. They beat their closest rivals and defending champions, the Acholi students community, with a meagre two marks.
Celebrations among members of the winning team erupted around Nkoyoyo Hall as soon as the announcement was made.
Brian Wabwire, the Basoga Nseete association’s chairperson, said the victory was a resurrection of their group, having had some crises and missed the gala for the last two years.
“We feel blessed by the victory. We had been down for the last two years and the spirit of identifying ourselves as Basoga had really disappeared. But with this win, we are proud again to identify ourselves as Basoga,” Wabwire said.
He attributed their victory to tireless efforts put by the participants, team spirit and the broad nature of the Basoga culture that cannot be exhausted within a short time.
Wabwire encouraged students from the other tribal associations to focus, plan ahead, work hard and unite so that they may also taste the joy of such victory in future.
Before their disqualification in 2016, Basoga Nseete was a two-time winner of the gala in 2014 and 2015.
At least 13 cultural groups participated in this year’s gala, including the international students who were the last in the queue. Third in performance were the Bakonjo, followed by the Langi and the Baganda settled for the fifth position.
The Cultural Gala, themed, “The Road to Cultural Marriage” was opened by the Busoga Kingdom Attorney General, Robert Kafuko.
Kafuko advised parents to play their roles fully in raising children.
“Partners should sit down and agree on how do to do this,” Kafuko said.
The first performance on the stage was a poem performed in Atesot. After the poem, the Basamia went on stage for their folk song. Among the other performers, came the Acholi with a cultural mime. The Bakonjo did a traditional song and the Bamasaba did a poem though there was a bit of confusion between the participants.
The Baganda performed a folk song that caused excitement in the audience because one of the characters dressed like “Bosco” of the popular MTN advert. The Karimojong also presented a traditional dance that caused excitement from the crowd because of their dance moves.
The International students led by the Congolese showcased their cultural dress while the Nigerians did a poem. This is the first time the international students performed in the Cultural Gala.
Among the awards given was the Outstanding Performer. This was taken by Charity Auma from Lango. She was crowned ‘Miss Culture.’ ‘Mr Culture’ was Ivan Masaba from Busoga. The best actor was Erodad Nemo from Busoga and the best actress was Peace Buraka from Kasese. The best male dancer was Asuman Kizito from Buganda. The other participants who won some prizes were Rachael Akello, Derrick Abaro Orana, Williamson Barongo, and Steven Muhangi.
While delivering their verdict, the five adjudicators commended the student community for keeping the gala traditional even amidst heavy forces of evolution. Alison Nadungu, one of the adjudicators, said, “Africans are the only people who were not allowed to evolve naturally due to colonial interruption.”
Nadungu said now that Africans have the chance to get back to their roots, they should do more research about their cultures and do everything within their power to sustain and promote the cultures.
The Director of Students’ Affairs, Olive Birabi Ayo, also told the students that there is something special about every culture that must be observed and appreciated.
Ayo encouraged students who missed participating in this years’ event to consider doing so in the future as a way of identifying with their culture and showing pride.
The guild Minister for Cultural Affairs, Solomon Egwar, described the event as a “success” and “one of the best in the history of UCU” because of the theme of cultural marriage which he said many students identified with.
Egwar said, unlike in the past years when the post-event period would be marred by complaints, this year’s event has registered only one complaint from the Nkobazambogo, the Buganda students’ association, which alleged that they deserved a better position than they got. Nkobazambogo were put in the fifth position after the Bakonjo (third position) and Langi (fourth position).
He said this was because of the independent nature of the external adjudicators whose jurisdictions were also limited to only one activity per person.
Egwar thanked the university authorities for all the support for the gala and urged them to consider, in future, releasing the themes for the event early enough in order to give students enough time to prepare.