Food and music are majors aspects of most cultures. And for Uganda Matooke in its diverse types, have become defining characteristic of Uganda’s culture and tourism.
It is no wonder therefore that when the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) decided to feature Uganda in this year’s Global Village Exhibition, they focused on Uganda’s natural tourist attractions, unique dishes especially Matooke which is a common delicacy to most Ugandans.
The KOICA global village exhibitions, have been held since 2010 with the view to promoting cultural exchanges and understanding among the Korean people, of the different cultures and unique aspects of countries where KOICA operates.
Running from October 20, 2014 to March 30, 2015, the KOICA Global Village exhibition is featuring Uganda’s rich culture and tourism heritage under the theme: ”Blessed Land Equatorial Africa: Uganda”
The ceremony to commemorate the opening of the exhibition held at the KOICA Training Institute in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do province, Korea, was presided over by KOICA’s president Kim Young-Mok and Uganda’s ambassador to Japan Ambassador Grace Akech Okullo.
To enable Koreans get a taste of Uganda’s various foods, a restaurant has been set up at the show and serves steamed Matooke with G-nut paste. Other delicacies such as Nakati, roasted Gonja, Sweet Potatoes and, the famous chapati and Rolex. African tea, spiced with ginger, one of the most favoured by many Ugandans for its tantalizing taste and aroma, is also available for visitors to the show. Organizers add that Koreans are being given a chance to prepare the Ugandan dishes themselves and taste them, an activity that is known as ‘transforming the green banana.”
Matooke being new to the Korean people, it has been made into pieces of art and plastic for display purposes so that visitors can see and have closer feel of the delicacy.
A team of Ugandan exhibitors will don Cultural wear such as Gomesi will be exhibited, but also perform some of cultural dances in live performances using traditional music instruments.
Uganda’s tourism and the country’s diverse and rich wild animals, bird species and favourable climate also on show will probably be a teaser moment to spark more adventures and explorations for Korean people. This could be a turning point for Uganda’s tourism sector, as it helps to introduce the country’s rich natural tourism heritage, considered one of the best in the world, to a population of fifty million people, that is eagerly trying to explore the world.
KOICA, which is the official Grant aid implementing agency of the government of the Republic of Korea, also uses the exhibition to show how it is working with other countries to address their development challenges.
While officiating at the launch of the exhibition, Ambassador Betty Okullo expressed hope that Koreans will get to know about Uganda’s history and culture through the exhibition. She expressed gratitude to KOICA and Korea for continuously supporting Uganda’s development initiatives.
On the other hand, KOICA President Kim Young-Mok said that through the exhibition Korea will experience Ugandan culture which will increase mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries, and hopes Koreans will have more interest in Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Uganda after the exhibition.
Organizers say the exhibition which runs from Tuesday to Saturday every week, attracts a wide range of visitors including school children from all over Korea, local tourists, KOICA-sponsored masters students from all partner countries as well as businessmen who want to expand their businesses to KOICA’ s partner countries.
The exhibition helps the business community in Korea to get to know about the countries they may be interested in.