Using break-dance and hip hop for social change

When Abramz Tekya started Break Dance Project Uganda (BPU), his idea was to empower and positively inspire the youth and children through breakdance as well as other elements of hip-hop. These include bridging the gap between the aantaged and disaantaged and between illiterates and literates.
“We wanted to build the self-esteem of youths as well as promoting interaction between local and international dancers. In a way, we could create employment for people who want to dance as a career, but cannot afford to pay for dance classes,” Tekya adds.

The project
BPU started in February 2006 out of the belief that hip hop can be used as a tool to engage and empower disaantaged youth in Kampala and other areas of Uganda. Abramz is one half Uganda’s hip hop vessel, Sylvester and Abramz, which has struggled to be heard over the years.
The duo offers free breakdancing classes each week at Nsambya Sharing Hall, near Kampala among other towns and districts. BPU uses beatboxing, rap, visual arts plus other art-forms and alternative ways of learning to promote positive social change and social responsibility.

Sylvester and Abramz, heavy bearded, chiselled up and with straight faces, have combed different parts of the country performing hip hop music accompanied with breakdance.
The duo say their music puts a relevant message out to the public about situations they have gone through or have seen other people go through in the communities where they have lived or visited.
“We lived close to Dungeon Studios and we often saw then big artistes like Steve Jean, Shanks Vivi Dee and Deejay Berry. We were inspired seeing these stars record music that spoke to people about life’s realities,” the rappers explain.
Abramz started dancing in 1991 and emceeing (rapping) in 1992. His art is inspired by his life lessons which have shaped him into the kind of person he is.

In 2010, Abramz starred in Bouncing Cats, a documentary film written and directed by Australian director and photographer Nabil Elderkin which follows his efforts to use dance to empower the youth in Uganda. It featured Crazy Legs of Rock Steady Crew, narration by Common and additional interviews with Mos Def, Will.I.Am and K’Naan.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor


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