The Grand Azania


“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks”- `Robert Frost

One famous poet Thomas Gray, was perhaps wise when he stated that poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. The same could be said about Uganda Christian University (UCU)’s Grand Azania last week on February 27th only that this time, we could breath words and our thoughts were burning!

From great fine artists, to young and promising musicians, and to the poets, Uganda is full of talents yet to be exploited and exposed to the world– if only the media concentrated on appreciating beauty and talents in Uganda and not poverty porn, Idi Amin, Kony, Bad Black and stereo-typing.

This is a new generation aiming at breaking through the shadows of poetry, art and music legacy left behind by Okot p’ Bitek (Songs of Lawino, Ocol, Prisoner and Malaya), Timothy Wangusa (Salutations), Richard Ntiru (Tensions) and Susan Nalugwa Kiguli in poetry, Jak Katarikawe (Can I tell you something sister?), Fred Mutebi (Abandoned) and Geoffrey Kantazi (The Victim) in Fine art as well as Richard Kaweesa (Mama Uganda) And Stephen Rwangyezi (Ndeere Troupes) in Music.  In simple terms, these are the new voices of a contemporary poetic, music and art revolution coming to Uganda!Yasmin and Bruno: Photo Azania

This is a new generation of Joel, Luke, Gloria, Brian, Michael, Claire, Rhoda, Mercy, Vickie, Jeanne Paul and the Gang, Leonard, Jordan, Jonan, Shamilah, Juliet, TCLM among others, who proved to the audience that night that Uganda still had new and young talents in areas of poetry, art and music based at Uganda Christian University.

The event which was organized by Azania, UCU’s poetry, art and Music club (and thus the name Grand Azania), brought together all poetry, art and music lovers from the university administration, Lantern Meet of Poets, students, media and twitter to listen, follow and witness students exhibit their creative and untapped talents to the full house of enthusiastic audience both online and in the Hall.

Time check, 8:17pm and the first performer Vickie takes to the stage. Glowing under the candle lights on the beautifully designed stage, the young lady’s voice left men licking their mouths wishing to join the stage and dance the night away with her but alas! Her performance just left them yearning for more.

Claire, Rhoda and Stella’s performance of Sondela coupled with their awesome vocals, left many asking for more like Oliver Twist the same way dancers TCLM did with there rare dance moves which left the audience still wondering why they have not yet auditioned for the next Step Up Revolution dance movie.  In short, these young lads define contemporary and original talent!

Michael’s rendition of John Legend’s All of Me, perhaps was the most  remarkable musical performance of the night. He literacy sings better than John Legend himself. Calm and with hands firmly stuck to his guitar, Michael assured the ladies that Uganda is still home to romantic men who are better than the ones they wish and dream about on TV. 

Joel Basoga, who took the stage later to perform Uganda in Three Minutes poem, spoke like a prophet of doom predicting the future of Uganda if the status quo is not changed. The poetic lines arrange in the best order and best time to suit the best situation, made his poem’s subject matter to remain the most deeply social and governance conscious poem of the night. His style and confidence, still emphasized the point that he remains the most loved,respected and adored poet at the Mukono based University.

Then came Leonard who by just mentioning his name, left ladies screaming like Justin Bieber had finally come to Uganda! Of course he did not disappoint. His poem, One Night Stand, was perhaps the best performed(or rather the best) piece of the night. It tells the story of a man who hooks up with a lady in the bar at night hoping to take her home but ends up losing the plot.

The poem World War Three: Love Edition Performed by Brian, Jordan and Bruno, cannot go unnoticed. It  remained one of the most creatively written and extraordinarily liked poems of the night. The boys teaming up like the Three Musketeers who rather speaking like the three influential personalities during World War Two (Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill), took the violence and nuclear bombings from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the mouths and ears of the listeners in the audience. They had everyone moved by the flow and content of the poem due to the creative organization of the words, rhyme, rhythm and structure of the poem.

By the time the event ended at 10:20pm with the performance of Essie and Timothy CODE, the audience left regretting why the show happens only once in a semester yet it is one way of appreciating our own and have fun in a university founded on Christian values.

From us, it was fun and at the same time inspirational to witness a new breed of Ugandans who are using arts, music and poetry to tell stories of dignity and love about Uganda and her people which have not been told anywhere before. It is through such stories, that we get the true meaning and definition of The Pearl of Africa and celebrate our identity and cultures.

Poetry is not only a dream and vision: it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before”

– Audre Lorde