'Hope' the musical returns

Saturday June 29 2019

A scene from 'Hope: The musical'.

A scene from 'Hope: The musical'. PHOTO | AKENA HILLEN 

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When Hope, a fresh university graduate returns home from her studies in the US and attempts to initiate development in her village, she is frustrated by corruption, laziness and a difference in attitude.

In Hope: The Musical, Hope (played by Tayo Shonubi) is confronted with challenges from every direction as she tries to improve life in her home village of Kyamuliwa. Children have to walk for miles to attend the only school in the village, the hospital is faraway and safe water is scarce.

At the beginning of the musical comedy, Hope returns to her village brimming with energy and ideas learned during her studies overseas but her family, friends and village mates have different expectations.

She has returned with colleagues and friends, who have funds to dig a new well and build a new school. Hope needs to get things done quickly, for she may return to the US to take up a university research position.


Immediately, she is confronted with problems: Miscommunication between her colleagues and the people of the village and unrealistic expectations from everyone as to what can be accomplished. Hope’s mother is expecting her daughter to get married because she is now mature enough to have a family of her own.


Hope’s brother Joseph (Gilbert Byamugisha) is conflicted about having a sister who is taking charge and tries to find angles to help in ways that often cause more harm than good. The village mates are pressurising Hope to get Joseph a job in the project, but she insists workers will be appointed on merit. However, Joseph ends up heading a section of the project and misappropriates the funds under his control.

Hope’s sister is focused on her sense of Hope’s romantic interests. There are rumours that Hope is in love with one of the project managers.

On a positive note the people stop using the mosquito nets for carrying household items, as football or fishing nets and are now putting them to their prescribed use: To prevent malaria.

Even after the construction of the village borehole, the village women still prefer to walk to the well, as this is their only time to gossip and catch up with the latest developments.


Hope and her expatriate colleagues confront the differences between what seemed to make sense during their studies and what is workable in real life. Even successful projects including digging the well have disruptive consequences to the social fabric of the village.

Hope has to confront how much she may have been changed by her sojourn, and has to connect with her roots afresh to find a way forward.

Hope was written and composed by Rick Bassett in 2007 for and performed by the Kampala Amateur Dramatic Society.

The 2019 version is produced by Arfaan Bholim and Keith Moses Kaira II, directed by Pamela Keryeko with music direction by Kiggundu Musoke.

Told through song, dance, comedy, and drama, Hope: The Musical opened at the National Theatre in Kampala, Uganda, on June 21, and had repeat show on June 23. The last shows are on June 28 and 30.