Nyege Nyege festival in a few years time will no doubt be one of the biggest musical festivals in Africa attracting festival lovers from all over the continent and other parts of the world to the small town of Jinja boosting its economy with a good amount of revenue brought in by the visitors.
‘’Early bird tickets are going for UGX 50,000, Lorna!’’ one of my friends rung me at the end of May to share the good news. ‘’Are you serious?’’ I asked with a note of excitement in my voice. ‘’Yes, Talent Africa has advertized the promotion on their social media pages, check them out if you don’t believe me,’’ he said as his phone suddenly went off. He must have run out of credit as he is not the type that hangs up on people for no particular reason. Within a few minutes, I had transferred UGX 50,000 to the Talent Africa mobile money number. I was excited at how cheap I had bought the ticket, as they normally go for anything between UGX 150,000-UGX 200,000 for the 4 days of festivities.
Thoughts of a fantastic blend of musical genres playing from various stages, crowds of euphoric revelers from all over Africa and parts of Europe, the aroma of roasting meat assortments in the air and a variety of alcoholic beverages neatly arranged in the various bars occupied my mind. I failed to understand why Father Lukodo could possibly cancel this exciting event and chose to be hopeful that it would take place.
Two days after the ban was mentioned I was relieved to learn it had been uplifted; the amount of protests and public outcry on social media from Ugandans, coupled with the intervention of various stakeholders and government officials exerted enough pressure to ensure this event went as planned. Various artists that were meant to perform at the festival had already flown into the country, thousands of revelers had already purchased their tickets and accommodation facilities in Jinja had been fully booked. It clearly made no sense to cancel the festival after so much time and money had been invested by various players.