National Theatre having been labeled a home of artistes, it has always been the tradition to accommodate dead artistes for a night for their fans to pay their last respect and also mourn their death.
When Moses Ssekibogo aka Mowzey Radio passed away, bringing his body at National Theatre was part of the programme. However, at the last minute the venue was changed from National Theatre to Kololo Airstrip with the view that National Theatre being a small area, Kololo Airstrip would be able to accommodate Mowzey’s multitude of fans better.
At that time, I was expecting National Theatre to reject this arrangement or negotiate for a different kind of arrangement but none came forth. In fact, it appeared as if they were relieved.
Given that on the day of his death, thousands of fans had flocked around Mowzey Radio’s home including deviant characters, National theatre saw it as a chance to get rid of them. However, what they forgot was the essence of the tradition.
Mowzey being an artiste and National theatre being the home of artistes, he as the deceased deserved to be brought home for the last time. This would not only have honored him as an artiste but it would also have been a great compliment to the arts world.
Well, I understand a rowdy crowd is hard to control but that shouldn’t have stopped Mowzey Radio’s body from being accommodated at the Theatre for at least 5 minutes. In fact, if his body had just been driven around the National Theatre grounds, that would have been enough. It would have preserved the tradition. Unfortunately, no such thing happened.
I look at Mowzey Radio’s death as a climax to the crumble of Art and its prestige. Can we still say that Artistes have a home when dead artistes can’t be brought home? Not that I wish any other artist to die but what if some other big artist was to die, can we still expect them to be brought home?
After all, Mowzey Radio’s death broke the tradition. And making matters worse, National Theatre did not object to this change of the tradition and in its silence confirmed how too small a place it is to accommodate a throng of fans .
Since Uganda is not planning to make the grounds of National Theatre ever extending to a much bigger area, why don’t we simply make Kololo Airstrip instead of National Theatre the home for the artistes.
Mariam Matovu, Kampala