All roads will lead to Kampala next month as Uganda hosts the third edition of the 2017 East African Community Arts and Culture Festival, better known in Kiswahili as Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (Jamafest).
A theme song has been composed and will be played throughout the festival as part of a publicity campaign creating awareness of the role of arts and culture in regional integration.
The festival will be held at 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.
Other venues include Uganda National Cultural Centre where special shows including the film festival, comedy and drama will be held. Hotel Africana will host the symposium, fashion show and the closing dinner gala.
According to Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC deputy secretary general in charge of productive and social sector, the events will include a carnival, live musical performances, theatre or comedy, arts and craft exhibitions, literary works, film shows, poetry, storytelling, acrobatics, a symposium, culinary art, fashion shows and children’s theatre.
Jamafest will also have a cultural market place for trade of cultural products and business networking.
The Jamafest Carnival will have performances to showcase the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the East African people.
There will be competitions for fashion designers and models from each partner state in the cultural fashion show. This will be crowned by the announcement of Miss Jamafest.
Each partner state will be have one night in which to showcase their culture through art, music, performance, song, dance, and design.
Children’s games will include interactive games such as Kati, Blada and Muskumo, among others activities.
According to the EAC Secretariat, 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 the EAC integration.
The festival is hosted on a rational basis by each partner state every two years, and is expected to bring cultural communities within the region together.
The first edition was held in February 2013 in Kigali, under the theme “Fostering the East African Community Integration through Cultural Industries.”
The second edition was hosted by Kenya at the at Kenyatta International convention Centre in Nairobi, in August 2015, under the theme “Unleashing the Economic Potential of Cultural and Creative industries in the EAC.”