DAYS AND NIGHTS FILLED WITH FILM AND LITERATURE
The city of Kampala is known for its Boda-boda motor bike rides and vibrates with venerable culture. A befitting home to the Writivism festival, The Babishai Niwe Poetry festival, FEMRITE and the Maisha Film laboratory Kampala is in its own right a hub of arts and culture development in East Africa and Africa as a whole. Visiting this city for the first time for the Writivism festival and the Ugandan edition of the International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF) was a treat. One of Africa's fastest rising literature festival, Writivism was held from the 16th to the 21st of June 2015 while IIFF joined the list of Kampala's impressive arts calender on the 24th of June.
by Karen Mukwasi, Projects Officer, International Images Film Festival for Women
The IIFF screenings were held at the World Broadcasting Services station. The selection of African films was well received by an audience that expressed that it was starved for African content. The three feature films screened were commended for being authentic African stories. I Want a Wedding Dress drew the interest of the audience because of the urban setting that is not well represented in African cinema with most films glamorizing the African country side and demonizing the city. IMBABAZI touched the hearts of the audience who immediately identified with it since production that was shot in Kampala. The story which dwelt on the emotive issue of the Rwandan genocide was praised for the African point of view from which the issue approached.
The discussion facilitated by Babishai Nawe Poetry foundation founder Beverly Nambozo was one of the best I have taken part in. Ranging from playwrights, filmmakers, students, authors and people drawn from various fields, the audience guaranteed diversified views. One point everyone agreed on was the power of film in bringing to the surface discussions that are usually swept under the carpet.
The Writivism festival was a extravaganza of literature events held at the scenic Maisha Garden , The Kampala Theater and Makerere University. Hearing all those great African voices discussing the future of African literature was an elusive eye opening experience. It was interesting to have all the icons under one roof, from Mukoma WaNgugi who described himself as the Ray Charles of African literature to the illustrious Zukiswa Warner and our own Tsitsi Dangarembga who gave festival goers a glimpse of ICAPA's debut publication A family portrait.
The major highlight for me was Donald Molosi's one man performance of TODAY IT'S ME. The Motswana playwright/ actor wrote and performed this touching play based on Philly Lutaaya's campaign that put a human face to the HIV/AIDS pandemic back in the eighties. The standing ovation he received for this sterling performance was well deserved. He spoke and sang Luganda, a language he mastered during his research for the play. The curtain finally came down on Writivism on Sunday the 21st with the awards for the short story prize. Nigerian Pemi Aguda scooped the short story award for her story CATERER, CATERER.
The trip was an overwhelming success. IIFF has found yet another East African home in addition to Nairobi and Mogadishu. We are grateful to the EU ACP CULTURES+ program from bringing our dream of building a pan African film festival to fruition and look forward to new frontiers.