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The East African : November 25th 2013
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 23-29,2013 cultu≥e Easy like Sunday afte≥noon OJAKOL OMERIO attended a weekly meeting of Latino music love≥s and dance≥s in Kampala entrance of the building discussing previous shows or their expectations of the next instalment. But Sunday afternoons are dif- I ferent. First, shows are rare, so the main entrance is not popular. Instead, people mill around the side of the building leading to the restaurant at the back. Here, one is greeted by an intent rhythm of percussion, rising to a quick rasp and tap with a blare of horns. If you are curious enough to fol- low the music, it will lead you to a “hut,” a thatched circular space at the restaurant, which is normally transformed into a dance floor on Sunday evenings. Around the hut, is a circle of chairs and some are occupied by dancers taking a break or those who have just come to watch. On the floor, dancers do both simple and complex steps. The trick I was later told, is to match your steps to the rhythm. Welcome to Social Sunday, a weekly meeting of Latino music lovers and dancers. Latino music and dances are a hit in Kampala. Social Sunday and a weekly theatre show Latino Flavour were started by Sam Ibanda. Most dances performed in the two offering are Afro-Cuban. The most popular dance is Salsa Ibanda said choosing to dance Latino styles was about proving a point. “I got interested because it had an African heritage. I have seen foreigners enjoy it and yet we Africans who have a natural connection to Latino styles say ‘oh that is for foreigners,’” said Ibanda. Motivation Akullo Barbara Upoki, a pio- neer of the Social Sunday and a professional dancer, settled for Latino dance after realising that her childhood aspiration of being a ballerina would require her to relocate abroad. And six years later, she has no regrets. “Latino dances have some ele- ments of ballet, so I have kind of achieved my dream but in a different way. I am not a ballerina but a Latin dancer and it’s enjoyable,” she said. For many who attend the Social Sunday, there is motivation. Some go there to socialise while others go Dancers at the Uganda National Cultural Centre where Social Sunday takes place. Picture: By a correspondent there to network. The music offering is diverse. Bachata for example, is favoured for its romantic moves. Cha-cha-cha, whose name is reminiscent of the shuffling of dancer’s feet and the rhythm of the guira, blends with fast but steady beats. Rumba is the slower version of salsa. As for Salsa, its dancers listen to the repetitive clang of the claves to mark their steps. Its lyrics explore a variety of themes dominant among them assertions of pride and identity incorporating chants and expressions of male bravado. weekly dance Social Sunday and the weekly theatre show Latino Flavour, were started by Sam Ibanda. As a dancer who moved a rung up to teaching, Ibanda soon found that there was a void to be filled as most dancers he had taught did not have a place to use their skill or even express themselves. That is how Latino Flavour was born, and soon local television stations started showing clips of their performances in between regular programming. In 2007, Ibanda started a social event where lovers of music and dance would come together. That marked the beginning of Social Sunday, a casual yet active club of 30-40 dancers who meet every week to dance. For many regulars, Social Sunday has become a weekly affair. Lawrence Jatindi, a student who is a self-confessed Latino dance addict, said he is attracted to its vivacity. There are other places in Kam- pala that offer Latino music, but because his free day is Sunday, he makes his way to the National Cultural Centre. For Patricia Kasamani, a graphic designer and painter of Kenyan descent, the Latino dances offer her the identity of universalness. To Joshua Okello an IT developer and poet, Latino dances require one ‘‘ f you visit Uganda’s National Cultural Centre on say a Friday or Saturday, you are likely to encounter hordes of theatre goers around the XI IN SHORT... Fo≥d Tudo≥ is top ca≥ at Concou≥s A n elegant 1928 Fo≥d Tudo≥ ente≥ed by Phoenix Aviation eme≥ged the winne≥ of the 43≥d CBA Concou≥s D’Elegance held at Nai≥obi’s Racecou≥se ≥ecently. It ≥acked up the highest sco≥e eve≥ witnessed in the past decade. Judges gave the Fo≥d Tudo≥ a sco≥e of 36 on the unde≥side, 75 on the exte≥nal finish, 60 on inte≥io≥ boot and 55 on engine condition. The Fo≥d chalked up the highest ma≥ks on exte≥nal finish but tied with the 1951 Jagua≥ Ma≥k V fo≥ inte≥io≥ boot points. Second ove≥all was a 1951 Jag- ua≥ Ma≥k V, also f≥om the Phoenix Aviation. Sati Gati-Au≥a’s 1977 Nissan 160J was thi≥d with the best unde≥side sco≥e. A 1958 VW Beetle f≥om Phoenix Aviation scooped fou≥th ove≥all place. Vitafo≥m Ltd’s Austin Mini took an ea≥ly lead in the mo≥ning session but was soon to be ove≥taken by Sati Gati-Au≥a’s Nissan 160J. This yea≥’s event also witnessed the fi≥st eve≥ Fe≥≥a≥i (308 Dino GT4) ent≥y in the histo≥y of the event. The Fe≥≥a≥i ente≥ed by Kenyan- based Italian Ma≥zio K≥avos wound up fifth ove≥all. The moto≥cycle catego≥y also At the Social Sunday, music and dance mix amicably with talk. To most dancers, it is this entire package that brings them to the Uganda National Culture Centre.” to listen intently to the beat and yet still offer rhythmical scope. At the Social Sunday, music and dance mix amicably with talk. To most dancers, it is this entire package that brings them here, said Barbara. “Some go ahead to make business and work connections,” Barbara said. “The purpose is for Africans to be aware that the dances are in a way part of their heritage.” Sam expounded on this: “It used to be a music of African people who met with the Spanish. This is an evolution.” He added that Latin music speaks to the African inclination for rhythmic movement. Perhaps therein lies the reason that it comes naturally: Fans mostly do it because they can. Donato Laboke from the Uganda Bikers Association with his 2002 BMW which he displayed at the CBA Africa Concours. Pic: By a correspondent d≥ew conside≥able inte≥est f≥om onlooke≥s, especially because the Uganda Bike≥s Association (UBA), who ≥ode thei≥ machines f≥om Kampala to Nai≥obi. The highest placed moto≥cycle in the pecking o≥de≥ was a 1925 DKW ente≥ed by Sati’s Classic. Jude Thaddeus’ 1976 Ha≥ley Davidson won the st≥eet moto≥cycle ove≥ 900cc class afte≥ ≥acking up 156 points. Coming in second in the class was Pete≥ Mutu≥i Njenga with a 2006 Texas Choppe≥. Thaddeus’s 37-yea≥-old bike collected 42 points on the exte≥nal finish, two ahead of Mutu≥i and 35 on the state of engine and mechanical. Jim St≥eit (1969 Honda 750) ga≥ne≥ed 186 points to win the st≥eet moto≥cycle (f≥om 651cc to 900cc) class. Tumaini Muthiga settled fo≥ second place in the class with 143 points.
November 18th 2013
December 2nd 2013