Nyege Nyege Festival: Ugandan dance music festival allowed to continue

The Nyege Nyege festival will now take place next week but under “strict guidelines”, according to Ugandan Prime Minister Robina Nabbanja, quoted in local media.
“The (Nyege Nyege) event will continue but under strict guidelines. It attracts thousands of foreign tourists; we cannot miss this opportunity at a time when the country is recovering from the effects of Covid-19,” Nabbanja said. . at a meeting of stakeholders, including the organizers.

The four-day festival will be the first after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Although “nyege nyege” can be loosely translated as urge in Luganda, the country’s official language, it also means horny in Swahili, which is commonly spoken in the region.

MPs had on Tuesday raised concerns about the festival and its impact on “sexual immorality” in the country and planned to prevent it from taking place.

“It’s going to attract all kinds of people from around the world, bringing all kinds of non-African and non-Ugandan action into our community,” MP Sarah Opendi told parliament, accusing the festival of “recruiting” young people into the LGBT community. .

But Ugandan Tourism Minister Martin Mugarra defended the event at home, saying 8,000 foreigners had already booked tickets. However, speaker Anitah Among objected to his statement and said the festival would not take place.

“We are not going to allow this function to take place. How are you selling tickets at the expense of people’s children? You are promoting gay people in Uganda,” she said without evidence, from the president’s chair. official. “No functions are to take place. Next post! »

Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Rose Lilly Akello, told parliament that her ministry and the police had previously met with Nyege Nyege organizers and given them conditions. They were to prohibit access to any child under 18, anyone dressed indecently and prohibit any immoral activity.

But outside the house, she doubled down on her opposition to Nyege Nyege. “This is an event that promotes immorality which is not wanted in our country,” Minister Akello told reporters. “Parliament has decided it has to stop because they are taking underage children and doing a lot of immoral activities there.”

Organizers announced around 300 performers spread over seven stages at Itanda Falls, Jinga, a scenic spot on the banks of the Nile.

The accusation of “promoting” homosexuality has already been leveled against Nyege Nyege and led to a short-lived cancellation of his last event in 2019.

Akello’s predecessor in ethics, the now deceased Catholic priest Father Simon Lokodo, banned the controversial festival, but was canceled by another minister.

CNN even contacted the organizers for comment, but did not hear back.

Derek Debru, co-director of the festival promised a “very special” event in an interview with the East African newspaper in February. “We will do everything we can to make this the best edition yet, to reward the fans who have stuck with us over the years, and to celebrate our growing community of music and art lovers,” the newspaper said. .

After Wednesday’s green light, the official festival Twitter the account tweeted a meme from TikTok star Khaby Lame: “Don’t come naked.”

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