The UMOJA Cultural Flying Carpet (CFC) landed in Kampala for the second time on Friday, 12th October, 2012. Unlike the previous year, Makerere University Department of Performing Arts and Film hosted the show. At exactly 06:00pm, members of the Makerere University community and representatives from the Norwegian Embassy as well as other countries party to the Umoja Cultural Flying Carpet assembled in University Main Hall. The enthusiastic audience, that filled the Main Hall to capacity, could not wait to be treated to rib-cracking cultural performances from across the globe. This is because those who witnessed the fabulous show put up by the same group at Ndere Centre in 2011 could not stop praising the performances.
At the venue of the show, the drum beats were accentuated by coloured lights that created an ethereal appearance. Storming the stage with energy comparable to war soldiers and the coordination of ants, folk dancers opened the evening to a rare spectacle.
The show attracted over 30 ensembles from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Norway and marked the dual celebration of Uganda’s 50 years of independence and Makerere University’s 90th anniversary.
The thrilling performance by the Ethiopians was an ensemble of acrobatic talent, strength and agility that left many mesmerized. One dancer delicately balanced on a cylindrical hollow plastic and rolled across a square table. It was electrifying. Then the fun part came - when he had to toss plastic bowls from the balancing plunk of wood on which his head stood.
“Two, three, four...,” the audience cheered in disbelief as he tossed one after another. After five minutes, the six bowls had all landed on top of his head. But the master of ceremonies was quick to warn the audience against attempting anything of the sort at home.
When the Ugandans, dancing their bones sore, hit the stage, the audience erupted. Ken Sewayana, a dance artist pulled some unusual strokes while a solo act from Lillian Mbabazi blended the traditional and cultural folk dances.
About the show
The UMOJA Cultural Flying Carpet (CFC) is a program working for peace and development of the society through international cultural collaboration. It brings together artists from 8 different countries in the spirit of “growing through creating together”.
UMOJA CFC is supported by the Norwegian Embassy. UMOJA CFC visited Kampala for the first time in September 2011, when it arranged the UMOJA Festival 2011. The festival culminated in a magnificent show, with spectacular dance and music performances which was highly appreciated by an amazed audience of about 1000 people. The show was further brought out to an even wider audience as it was broadcasted live on UBC.
Makerere University is the hosting institution for Umoja in Uganda.
Dr Patrick Mangeni, head of department, Performing Arts and Film, said there is need to create such national events, noting that they boost creativity through sharing with other cultures. He, however, decried lack of institutional structures that would sustain the arts and ensure the survival of talent.
“We hope to grow our cultural experiences and quality of work with more institutional collaborations,” Mangeni said.