Film: Immortalizing Uganda’s History, Culture, and Legends in a Book-Resistant Nation

By Mitchel Mwesiga

In a nation where books may struggle to thrive, Ugandan film emerges as a captivating medium capable of immortalizing our legends, stories, and cultural heritage. The recent experience I had at the Nambi premiere, as part of the Uganda Film Festival accelerated by Uganda Communications Commission and MultiChoice Uganda, highlighted the transformative power of Ugandan cinema preserving our rich history and heritage. Through film, our legends come alive, engaging a diverse audience, and ensuring their place in the journals of global history.

While books have traditionally been the top of mind medium for immortalizing such narratives, they often face challenges in reaching a wider audience due to factors like literacy rates, limited access and risk being lost or diluted over time. This is where film steps in, with its ability to visually captivate and engage viewers from more than 56 tribes with unique nuances. Through the lens of film, the magic of our legends is no longer confined to pages of a book but reignited and showcased to a global audience.

Attending the premiere was a truly enlightening experience. The film breathed life into an ancient legend in a way that no book can, transporting the invited guests to a world where gods and mortals intertwine. The visuals were striking, capturing the essence of the Buganda tradition, breathtaking landscapes, and elaborate costumes. Through the creativity of these Ugandan filmmakers, I witnessed the power of film in revitalizing our heritage, making it accessible and relatable to contemporary audiences.

One of the remarkable aspects of Ugandan film is its ability to bridge generational gaps, bringing together young and old alike. While books may struggle to captivate younger audiences in today’s digital age, film effortlessly captures their attention and sparks their imagination. The Nambi folktale premiere exemplified this, as I witnessed children and adults alike engrossed in the 28-minute story, emotionally invested in the characters, and hypnotized by the stunning visuals and graphics. By immersing younger generations in our legends through film, we ensure the preservation and continuation of our cultural legacy fostering a renewed sense of patriotism, pride, and connection to our roots.

Ugandan film holds immense potential for not only preserving our legends locally but also showcasing our rich cultural heritage to the world. Through international film festivals, streaming platforms like ShowMax, our stories can reach audiences far beyond our borders.

The success of Ugandan films such as “Queen of Katwe” has already demonstrated the universal appeal of our narratives and the recognition they can receive on a global scale.

Queen of Katwe Official trailer

By embracing film as a medium of storytelling, we can continue to introduce the world to the depth and beauty if the Pearl of Africa

To fully realize the potential of Ugandan film in immortalizing our legends, stories, and cultural heritage, it is essential to provide the necessary support and collaboration of our talented filmmaker.

This includes amplifying local investment in film infrastructure, embracing training programs like MultiChoice Talent Factory that has trained over 500 filmmakers, funding opportunities, and creating more platforms like Pearl Magic for local films to reach a wider audience.

By fostering an enabling environment for Ugandan filmmakers, we empower them to share our culture with the world same way we adopted foreign ones.

The writer is the PR and publicity executive at Multichoice Uganda

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