For fun-loving Ugandans the December party has begun

Saturday December 09 2023

Revellers having a good time at the Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda. PHOTO | POOL


Over the past three years, Ugandans have not had a chance to party as much as they used to before Covid-19 halted parties in 2020. And, even though a couple of events were organised during the 2022 festive season, most partygoers were still recovering from the Covid-19 blues and many were struggling financially because of the prolonged lockdowns that hit the economy hard.

But, after three lukewarm festive seasons, this year promises to be different. Numerous events have been organised across the country, and social media is awash with hundreds of banners advertising all sorts of parties: children’s festivals, music concerts, city escapes, exhibitions, beer festivals and many others.

“This is going to be the first time Ugandans are celebrating the festive season without any worries on the back of their minds,” said Isaiah Rwanyekiro, a tour operator.

Read: Fun, pomp and ceremony at Nyege Nyege despite advisories

During last year’s festive season, Uganda still had Covid-19 prevention measures in place, and a part of the country was under lockdown due to an Ebola outbreak.

“This time Ugandans have a sense of freedom,” Mr Rwanyekiro said, adding that he has received several inquiries from Ugandans who plan to tour the country this December.


Mr Rwanyekiro said more than 60 people have signed up for his upcoming four-day trip to Pian Upe and Lokichar wildlife reserves and Moroto in Karamoja sub-region.

Emmanuel Mugisha, manager of Brovad Sands Lodge at the Ssese Islands, said all the 81 rooms were booked for the whole of December.
“This year we have seen a 50 percent increase in bookings for December,” he said.

Ssese, an 84-island archipelago located about 50 kilometres south of Kampala, is one of the most popular holiday destinations among Ugandan holidaymakers because they boast pristine beaches and fun activities, including sport fishing, boat cruises, nature walks and quad biking.

Mr Mugisha said many Ugandans also find the Ssese Islands an affordable option for holidaying, and that they also like the idea of travelling by boat and enjoying the scenic views of Lake Victoria’s many islands along the way.

Underground music

Away from tours and the big music concerts by popular artistes that usually dominate the festive season in Uganda, there are several small music events that have been planned throughout December.

Read: Kampala back to its partying ways like it's 2019

Timothy Muggaga is one of them. He organised The Room Residente, targeting at least 10 artistes and DJs for a night of electronic and folk music performancesat the World Coffee Bar in Kampala.

“Nowadays, people have a lot of interest in underground music, which is unique and experimental. It’s not commercial like the local pop music that’s always playing on radio. Audiences want such unique music,” he said.

Kenneth Nahabwe, a folk musician, is another “underground musician” who is organising a live music concert on December 15 at the Alliance Française de Kampala. His Tales of Kigezi show is expected to feature a number of folk artistes, including Joe Kahiri, Amani Amaniga, and King Derio.

After a three-year hiatus, the annual Toto Kids Festival, which last took place in 2019, is also returning on December 10 at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel.

Organisers of the event, which targets children aged between two and12 years, said they expected 10,000 children at the event. The festival focuses on talent competitions such as singing, dancing, drama and poetry.