There are photos you just know are going to be iconic and this is one of them. A photograph of two ‘authentic’ great Ugandan musicians. Geoffrey Oryema and Maurice Kirya. Sometime I would like to talk to you about iconic Ugandan photos I have seen that remain imprinted more firmly on my mind than Armstrong’s footprints on the dark side of the moon. Photos and paintings of Ugandan greats that live and pulsate with an idea of Uganda that today’s circumstances continually try to crush and deny-Ugandan greats who dreamed beyond the fetal comforts of clan & tribe, loved and kissed beyond the colour, learned languages of strangers visiting as naturally as they kneaded matooke or kaloo in the palm to eat. One day, one day…(Do remind me!)
But here is a photo of two Ugandan greats, who have already done so much for Uganda-neglected as they still remain in this beautiful land they decided to be ambassadors for. Geoffrey Oryema has created music of depths and resonances that betray the lie that young Ugandans are no longer in touch with the music of their ancestors, refuses to return to Uganda on principle until ‘Freedom reigns’ that after 34 years of continued exile, begins to ‘feel’ like those canterkerous village old men who on principle-because in their childhood they were taught a certain way of dressing, speaking the Queen’s English, even in rag tag suits, still defiantly refuse to abandon all they have practiced all their lives.
Kirya,well, Maurice Kirya-little exposure that he gets in Kampala, in Uganda, shocking though that is-like a guy who does not know how to take NO from a girl he is courting, keeps trying to woo Uganda, telling all and sundry in his travels, ‘I know this girl back home, she would blow your mind’ unpaid for, unasked, unexpected, far more effective marketing for Uganda and Ugandan culture than we have ever had-a one man band Tourism ministry in themselves.
So here they are. The two. Two authentic Ugandan greats shaking hands on a Paris street in 2011. Enjoy the treat!