5th CHUSS Seminar - Symbolic Representation by Isaac Tibasiima


Music’s Symbolic Representation of Uganda’s Prosperous Future in Vision 2040

Isaac Tibasiima

Department of Literature, Makerere University &

Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town.


Vision 2040 is Uganda’s national plan and aspiration to move Uganda from a predominantly low income country to a middle income economy by the year 2040. Within this policy document, the Ugandan president calls on the citizens to take up the challenge of the vision for the country to attain its full economic potential. The different school music competitions in Ugandan secondary schools are one way of taking up this challenge. In this paper, I examine how secondary school students at these competitions not only take up the president’s challenge through song composition and performance, but also how the songs become a narrative of the present and future of Uganda. I begin with the symbolic space youth occupy within the framework of competitive music performances in Uganda. I go on to argue that song performances on Vision 2040 create symbols of the imagined future of the Ugandan nation in its economic boom, a shared future, with the adults, that the youth would like to contribute to. The song narratives work well in the creation of a symbolic future of a Uganda much loved and enjoyed by all. The songs call on Ugandans to embrace Vision 2040, compare their current economic status with what they expect in the future. In so doing, they are part of the construction of a better Uganda in 2040 and the years to come.


Brief Bio

Isaac Tibasiima is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Literature at Makerere University where he teaches Literary Communication, Introduction to Literature and Stylistics of Literature. He is also an AHP Dissertation Fellow. His research interests are in Folklore literature, Performance and Postcolonial Theories. His current research is in competition music performance in Ugandan secondary schools and examining how these are a performance of the Ugandan nation.


Friday, June 29, 2018 - 12:00
Event Venue: 
SWGS Conference Room
Contact Information: 
Sarah N. Ssali, PhD | Assoc. Prof and DEAN | School of Women and Gender Studies | College of Humanities and Social Sciences | Makerere University | MUASA Representative to University Council | Mobile: +256772663772 | Twitter: @sssalie