Uganda and Kampala especially, is full of start ups. We may have (according to some statistics) one of the highest rates of small business failure, with a majority not making it beyond their first year. But that has not dampened the entrepreneurial enthusiasm of Ugandan start ups.
When it comes to comes to the cultural field, jumping into a music career has been the first choice. Who can blame a young, poor Ugandan with a modicum of musical or dramatic talent trying their hand at a music career? The riches of the lucky few musicians who have “made it” like Jose Chameleone, The Eagles Production band, Bobi Wine etc make it seem like the ‘easiest’ artistic path to fabulous riches.
That though has not prevented start ups in other cultural fields in Uganda. Stand Up comedy being the newest kid on the block, when it comes to the greatest number of start ups. Since 2009, nearly every night club or bar that tries to attract the young, corporate Ugandan crowd has hired a comedy outfit. Apart from the pioneer Theatre Factory and its break away faction, Fun Factory, the best known of the new ‘breed’ of comedy ensembles has got to be ‘The Krackers’ who sometimes spell their name ‘The Crackers’.
Now it seems this start up mania is spreading to the writing arena of the cultural field. Where the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award was the lone entrant in the field since 2010, now interest in proving Uganda to be far from the literary desert it once was declared to be is picking up. The Lantern poets group that used to meet at Nationalk Theatre threw down the challenge to have an active readers group outside of the traditional FEMRITE organised one. Soon after inspirational writer and Jack of all trades, Bake Robert Tumuhaise with his World of Inspiration Company also started writer mentoring classes that have to his surprise become quite a hit.
Kenya may have beat Uganda to it with kwani? But it looks like Uganda is getting its own website in the form of Uganda Writing. It’s in the early stages, but it sure looks promising, and the founders (who have talked to this blogger) take their writing quite seriously. Let’s just hope not too seriously to fail to see the humour in ‘things’. Nevertheless, worth a visit, if writing is your thing, and you are curious about Ugandan writing.