Uganda’s booming entertainment industry has come under the spotlight for often neglecting and side-lining some sections of the population such as Albinos, people with disabilities the blind and the deaf in their plans by failing to give them space to showcase their talents.
And come to think about it. When is the last time time you watched a music video, play or attended a fashion show and saw an Albino or dumb person in the limelight?
This reality came to life in the form of a festival that focused on giving space to the marginalised groups in Uganda to showcase their talents though performing songs, showcasing their talent in fashion and design and other creations.
The one-day festival that ran under the banner Unseen Dreams, was held last weekend at the Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC). It was indeed a unique gathering of people rarely seen in such big numbers at entertainment centres let alone at other mass gatherings.
Edna Namanya, the Executive director of Namanya’s Warehouse is the bright mind that forced us all to reflect on the bizarre facts of our entertainment industry.
As she rightly put it, she chose to organize a fashion show targeting only people with disabilities as well as the marginalised because they have often been left behind.
“Everybody deserves the best in life and therefore no one deserves to go through his or her life without enjoying all his or her rights. For long our society has always turned its back on the deaf, the people with disabilities not realizing that they also have the same blood that flows in our veins and arteries” she said.
She added that the festival shall be taken to different regions in order to create awareness and give chance to other people who mostly the young ones who are stigmatized due to their physical appearance.
“We know that up-country regions also need such festivals and it helps in creating awareness about the need for inclusiveness,” he said.
Other individuals and groups that witnessed the show, expressed admiration at the talents through dance, drama and fashion.
Moses Vukesi, a young man with hearing disabilities and one of the artists who took to the stage, put up a spectacular performance
Speaking through an interpreter, Vukesi said: “At first, I used to shy away from performing in the public but the Unseen Dream helped me and trained me to stop shying away and now at the stage I act bravely without fear,” he said
Tareka Kenneth Desire, the Executive Director of Unseen Dreams said that the major objective of this event is to bridge the gap between the people with disabilities and their counterparts.
“Through these festivals, we decided to give these abandoned class of people a platform such that they can also express their talents because we thought that in future, they may use their skills to earn a living because even some of us it is our talents that we are currently earning from” he said
He added: “For the past five years, Unseen Dreams arts festivals have been giving a platform to the forgotten group (people with disabilities)”
The organisers say they were able to stage Unseen Dreams say they were assisted by a number of schools for people with disabilities.
They included; Kampala school for the Physically Handicapped located in Mengo, Salaama School for the Deaf in Mukono, Cevic centre for children with visual impairment, women and Children of albinism Uganda, Kireka School for children with special needs among others.