The long-awaited renovation of the Uganda National Theater in Kampala has finally kicked off.
Engineers and Workers of Ambitious Construction Company Ltd, which was hired for the job are working long hours to deliver the job before the kick-off of the 3rd Edition of the East African Arts and Cultural Festival JAMAFEST that is supposed to take place in Kampala from September 7 to 15, 2017.
Robert Musiitwa, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) also known as the National Theater told our reporters that the renovation exercise will be done in phases with the first phase targeting the performing areas such as the Auditorium, dressing rooms, the facade and lighting.
Management of the National Theater led by Francis Ojede hailed the kick-off of the exercise saying it was long overdue.
The renovations will perhaps put to rest fears expressed by artists and some members of the public that the government has a plan to raze the iconic building and replace it with commercial facilities.
Over the past couple of months, proposals backed by the Ministry of Labour outlined plans to erect a commercial building in the compound of the National Theater. The plan was rejected by most artists and members of the general public and the redevelopment plan seems to have fallen through.
Musiitwa said Ambitious Construction company, run by Indians, was hired at a cost of Ushs 3 billion to undertake the renovation exercise. It’s not clear though whether it’s a Ugandan company. If not, it’s hiring would be a violation of the government’s policy of Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) that reserves small contracts for Ugandan companies.
The Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST) is the East African Community’s flagship cultural event. It is held every after two years in different countries of the community on a rotational basis.
The main objective of the Festival is to promote regional socio-cultural integration through arts and culture by providing a regional platform to showcase culture as a prime driver of EAC integration.
The JAMAFEST 2017, will run under the theme: “Culture and creative industries: An Engine for unity and Employment Creation”.
A theme Song has been composed and will be played throughout the festival period as part of the publicity campaign of creating awareness of the role of arts and culture in regional integration.
The main venue of the festival will be Kololo Ceremonial Grounds where the main stage for cultural performances, the exhibition and market place will be located. The official opening and closing ceremonies will also be held at the same venue.
The Uganda National Cultural Centre (National Theater) will host specialized shows including film festival, comedy and drama. Hotel Africana will host the Symposium, fashion show and the closing Dinner gala.