Bridget Ategeka’s art illustration depicting the Orunyege courtship dance from the Bunyoro and Tooro kingdoms in western Uganda has won the overall award in the 2017 national Youth Cultural Heritage Competition.
“The Orunyege is a spouse-searching and courtship dance of the Banyoro and Batooro. Boys wearing ebinyege (rattles) on their ankles from which the dance derives its name, and emichenche on their waists pick beautiful girls wearing ebikohi, ebigoli and emichenche,” Ategeka says.
“They dance vigorously to the beautiful rhythms of the long drum (engalabi) and the short drum (engomaengufu) beaten by drummers wearing kanzus, palm or bark cloth hats. The dance entertains people and promotes customary marriage,” she adds.
Accepting the award, Ategeka, who sat her ‘A’ Level exams this year at Rubaga Girls Secondary School in Kampala, said, “It wasn’t easy for me to draw the orunyege dance. I am a Munyoro and I love this dance because it is very interesting.”
“I had to find time for this drawing because I was attending lessons and revising for my senior six exams at the same time. It wasn’t easy either using pencil colour on an A3 paper to make this drawing,” she told the The EastAfrican.
Ategeka, who wants to study architecture or industrial Fine Art at university, said: “It feels good to win my first art award.”
The first runner-up prize went to Elvis Mukuye for his drawing illustrating the Kiganda dances Bakisimba-Muwogola and Nankasa.
“These are Kiganda dances often blended to entertain the king and his subjects on many cultural occasions in and outside the palace,” says Mukuye, a senior two student at Archbishop Kiwanuka Secondary School in Masaka district.
The annual heritage competition is organised by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda with the aim of encouraging the youth across the country to think positively about different aspects of their culture.
This year’s theme was illustrating traditional dances and their significance in the local context.
Youth below 20 years of age were invited to demonstrate (by drawing or painting) of a traditional dance and explain its relevance.
A jury of heritage experts from the Margaret Trowel School of Industrial Fine Art at Makerere University and House of Talent assessed 171 entries from across the country and the best 13 entries have been used to design a national heritage calendar for 2018.