Jinja, Eastern Region, Uganda
Our summers are overloaded with many festivals and they are available for every taste. Many start to look beyond the borders to find a special hideout for the weekend, to flee away from daily routines and party the night away. But where can you enjoy a good dj-set in an overhauled empty resort? Where you have to travel on the back of a Boda Boda motortaxi from your hotel to a festival that is hidden in the jungle? Where you drink a beer while overlooking the Nile? In Africa you can, in Uganda to be exact.
The image we have from Africa remains a very harsh one, it’s empoverished and underdeveloped. Nothing of these assumptions can be seen when you visit the Nyege Nyege festival (translated from Luganda: the irresistible urge to dance) in Jinja, Uganda. It is the biggest electronic musicfestival in the East of Africa, with a broad range of artists being programmed. Where traditional Soukous (Congolese drums) mix effortless with techno and hiphop. Where an act with mboko pop follows after afrobeat-meats-rave. Try not to dance now!
Nyege Nyege is an international music collective that operates from Kampala. They started giving parties in empty factories and resorts under the names of Boutiq Electroniq and Nyege Nyege. The Belgian Derek Dubru and Greek-Armenian Arlen Dilsizian organised the first parties together with local DJ’s and percussionists, which later resulted in a musicstudio and recordlabel that supports local and international musicians and stimulates them to further develelop themselves.
The visitors of the festival are mainly from Eastern African countries such as Kenia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Congo and Zambia. They are a new generation of young Africans that search freedom in a country that on the other hand holds closely to colonial anti-gay laws. A country that, with a mean age of 15,9 years, is one of the youngest countries in the world. Next to that it is one of the lowest on the list of equality between men and women. Within the collective multiple female artists are active, such as Hibotep and Kampire. According to them music is a way to envoke change in Uganda without being all too policital.