How well are we connected with Uganda’s vibrant culture? Meet creatives making waves in music, arts, fashion, and culture.
Music that elevates the soul
Singer Cindy Sanyu, also known as “the King herself,” has been gracing the radio waves as an independent female artist for the last two decades with an empowering message to share with all women.
Her sound is influenced by her childhood growing up in the Ntinda barracks where she was surrounded by three styles of music: dancehall, Congolese, and South African. These sum up her unique style and sound that differentiates her from other artists.
Cindy sings in English, Luganda, and Kiswahili with a focus on the East African audience, in particular women.
“I love to empower women. I feel like women are not celebrated enough, and yet they have so much to do. They bring so much to society. They raise generations, but nobody takes time to make them feel beautiful, strong, powerful, and appreciated.”
She was proud to share her mentorship of other young women in the music industry.
“I’m mentoring new talent, and you’re about to feel their fire.”
Swangz Avenue is the leading record label and production in Uganda. Swangz started in Muswangala ghetto when a group of young music-loving friends got together and created chart-topping hits that redefined the East African music landscape.
Artists who were core to this movement in 2008, included Moze & Radio, Gnl Zamba, Benon & Vampos, Michael Ross, and Raba Daba. They all went on to grow their craft and won global awards becoming continental brands.
Now, Ugandan artists are competing for Ugandan ears with global artists.
Swangz Founder, Julius Kyazze shares: “The new local has been redefined for the ones seeking to grow and it’s ours to take. There’s never been a better time for African art and to be African. So as a business, we are looking at how best to play at a global level that’s hungry for African art.”
Vibrant Art That Tells A Story
In the world of art, Wamala Kyeyune Joseph, the director of Vodo Arts Society, notes a rising appreciation of art in Uganda and the potential of art to serve as a vehicle of change.
Wamala said, “What I’m looking forward to in the future is an art form that informs and draws lines of connection between what was and what is current. So that as a society we have an understanding of our past before it gets lost.”
In the painting above, a child is caught in the middle of Ugandan politics and praying for better days and financial freedom.
This painting depicts the hustle of a breadwinner selling hand woven baskets in the city.
Noticed the way people dress up in Uganda? Let’s talk about Fashion Alas!
The fashion industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Uganda. Young fashionista of Urban Styles, Bwaita Aggrey observed:
“Previously, there was a belief that imported is quality – something made from here is not quality however good it was. Today people are coming to appreciate more locally made trends rather than international ones.”
Larry Casual is…INSERT
Some of the fashion trends in Uganda include kitenge, or African print – a vibrant representation of pride in African culture. The kitenge is the name of the East African cotton fabric that is dyed in colorful patterns. While the kitenge was traditionally worn wrapped around the waist, there has been an explosion of creativity in different ways of designing and wearing the kitenge. Now, kitenge is found on shoes, bags, and accessories in addition to being worn as an outfit.
Another trend is the kaftan, which is a kind of tunic popularly worn in West African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. The kaftans are usually embroidered with different designing, giving each outfit a distinct look.
Kyeki ganye – What’s up?
It’s kawa – It’s cool/fine
Ebintwala – things are not kawa, being broke is taking me (alluding to the song “Ebintwala”)
Banange – my goodness
Bambi – an expression of sympathy