‘False Manifesto’ dances to fight deception

Friday July 01 2022

Members of Spot Lite Crew in a rehearsal for “False Manifesto” at the National Theatre in Kampala on June 20, 2022. PHOTO | COURTESY


The dance production False Manifesto uses hip-hop to address the power of manifestation, political-social mayhem and deception.

Performed by the Kampala-based urban dance collective Spot Lite Crew of Kasoozi Joseph Julius, Kawooya Grace, Bogere Ronnie, Ntambi Umar and Onyu Fazil bin Damusanga, it also features German music artist and actress Miriam Haltmeier.

The dialogue is in English and Luganda, expressed through dance, music, spoken word and poetry, and audio-visual projections.

The storyline exposes the false agendas, propaganda, motives and intentions of the public and leaders, and highlights promises that are never met.

The production is set to premier on July 2, at the National Theatre in Kampala.

The show is directed and choreographed by emerging Ugandan multiple-award winning choreographer Damusanga.


Each character stands for a certain element in society. For instance, the bourgeois or politician for the capitalist system, mother earth for the climate crisis, persons living with disabilities for equal representation, and LGBTQ for sexual identity.


The characters question the happenings in the spheres of life they represent, asking the audience why society reacts in the way it does, with prejudice and jaundiced eyes.

The character of Umar says: “Things are ironical. The situation is indifferent. The sex identity question persists. Men in women’s bodies. Women in men’s bodies. Is it a crime or deviant behaviour?”

Damusanga says, "Politics is everywhere, and society is complex in nature with the ability to hold power and decide over others.

"One thing leads and affects the other. So homosexuality, mother nature and PWDs are all in one world, and these are the topics we generally shy away from although we are aware of them. The same society that condemns homosexuality is the same that stands up for gay rights. The same society that draws environmental protection bills, cuts down tress to industrialise. It’s a puzzle.”

He added that society should not trust politicians. “They say one thing and act totally different. When your role is to serve, the role of we the people is to observe and see if you can walk the talk.”

He says politics cannot be ignored because the decisions by politicians affect all aspects of public life and the public needs to be aware of this.


Damusanga was inspired to come up with the production at a teaching workshop in Zimbabwe in 2019. Life was hard for the ordinary citizen and society was broken. All sectors of state were dysfunctional.

He realised that governance and political manifestos were at the centre of the rejection and mayhem. And then it hit him that it was the same almost everywhere in the world, especially in the developing world.

The plays message is therefore restitution, rethought and reappropriation of governance and social life. That the public needs to stand up against unjust policies without fear of retaliation.