Kampala Comes Alive With French Sounds and Sights

If the week ending March 23 did not leave me a certified French-speaking Ugandan, nothing will what with me following events meant to celebrate everything Francophone.

March 20 is International Francophone day and from March 15, Kampala and beyond hosted celebrations to mark the day. There are 77 French-speaking countries and more than 220 million French speakers world-over.

In Uganda, France’s embassy, in conjunction with the diplomatic missions of Belgium, Burundi, Canada, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Rwanda and Switzerland, organised a number of events. A film festival was held at Cineplex Oasis mall last Wednesday and ran up to Sunday with some of the films screening at the Aga Khan schools, Old Kampala.

The main action then took place on Saturday at Aga Khan School. It was a day full of activities till late in the night. The DRC embassy won the finals of a football tournament. Off the pitch, schools including Aga Khan, St Lawrence and City Parents showcased their skill in music and art.

Then it was time to treat the taste buds at different missions’ tents showcasing their different cuisines in a culinary festival. A stop-over at the DRC tent allowed my stomach to meet pondo (cassava leaves), fumbua (fresh fish), makemba and brochette de boeuf, among others.

The Rwandan tent kept the supply of Amstel and Primus beers in plenty. Also companies such as Total, Orange and SN Brussels showcased their products. A percussionist group from Burundi gave guests an unforgettable performance, even giving patrons a chance to play their imposing drums. Too bad the crowd could not enjoy their usual high jumps and twirls because they were performing on gravel.

The Burundians ushered in a performance by Subhash Dhunoohchand from the Reunion Island and a crowning performance from a Congolese band – Congo Jazz. Subhash played his tabla – an instrument of Indian origin. He is known to fuse the tabla’s sound with electronic music to produce what is known as tablatronic.

For his performance in Uganda, he added another twist, performing alongside respected local dance crew, Tabu Flo. The boys brought out the various b-boy skills like breaking, popping and lots of improvisation to match the Indian backdrop.

It was different from what we are used to it was awesome. The night ended with the Congolese band’s waist wriggling and energetic dance moves.

Source : The Observer

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