“Art makes life worth living.” So said Tekya “Abramz” Abraham of Ugandan veteran socially conscious hiphop duo (Sylvester & Abramz) and a member of the legendary Rock Steady Crew (RSC), who performed at Wednesday night’s ‘Your Music Your Voice’ Festival. The same could be said of the iconic festival itself where this year held true to Uganda’s cherished tradition of assembling the most masterful and brilliantly shining stars in the world of protest hiphop music. It was two days filled with connections–musical, civic, generational–all in celebration of getting together and talking about how they use their art to advocate for social justice.
Opening day (Tuesday Oct 3rd) highlight was Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi as well as Outspoken (Zimbabwe), Nash Emcee (Tanzania), Eric Onekey (Rwanda), Monza (Mauritania), Xuman (Senegal) who were hosted at Uganda Museum by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Uganda and Goethe-Zentrum Kampala to share how they use their platforms to carry messages of positive social change.
In the thick of Uganda’s current political tensions, MP Bobi Wine took part in panel despite having explosive devices thrown at his home that morning (he was then arrested in the afternoon and released later that evening).
Local journalists like Jackie Kemigisha and popular satirical cartoonist Jimmy Spire Ssentongo also shared how they use their talent for social commentary.
The visiting artists led by Megaloh and Ghanaian Stallion (Germany) on Wednesday evening then joined local artists such as Sylvester & Abramz, Lady Slyke, Yallah MC and St. Nellysade the positive change makers here to put up a concert at the Design Hub (5th Street beside Bata).
Revelers, Ugandan filmmakers, photojournalists and bloggers have hailed the series of diverse performances as a “huge success”, coincided as they did too with a superb awareness by Whitehead Communications.
To Licensee and Curator at TEDx Kampala Ruganzu Bruno, the vibe of love and peace that permeated the civil awareness along with the music was so lifting. “Music has a certain energy that brings people together in a kind of harmonious relationship,” he says.
Also impressed was Bernard Olupot Ewalu aka Beewol a blogger and the #YourMusicYourVoice presented a civic-satisfying confluence of music at its best, presented by its best and brightest.
After the concert, Bobi Wine told TheUgandan that his headline performance at Design Hub was “wicked and very good fun inspiring social change”.