Jinja Gave In To The Urge To Dance
It’s almost three months since Nyege Nyege International Festival took place in Jinja; about two hours from Kampala City in the eastern region of our beautiful Uganda. Jinja, famed as the historic source of River Nile has proved to be the adrenaline capital of East Africa. There are a host of things to do while in Jinja from bungee jumping, kayaking the the Nile, white-water rafting, quad biking, mountain biking, horseback riding and so much more. However, from 16th October to 19th October 2015, we got a different kind of fix. We danced.
“Nyege Nyege” simply means “the irresistible urge to dance” in my native language, Luganda. It rained most of the duration of the festival and one would have thought it would have stopped us but boy, did we give in to the urge!
After attending a number of huge concerts in different parts of the world; Arlen Dilsizian and Derek Debru, the brains behind the festival had the desire to see a real festival in Uganda. They saw the opportunity to showcase underground talent from across East Africa together with the chance to present cutting edge producers from Europe and the USA to an East African audience – Nyege Nyege International Music Festival explored more than just music. It was culture, food, people, sounds, color and the resplendent River Nile.
The festival was held at the Nile Discovery Beach right on the source of River Nile, surrounded by over four acres of lush green tropical forests, open spaces interlaced with surrealist concrete sculptures, hidden pathways, follies and its own beach. There were over 40 acts and over 1,200 festival revelers. The festival partners Round Bob debuted their local festival booking service by supporting with logistics and tents; providing the best camping experience to most of the festival revelers.
The festival took place during the El Nino rains. I had a cold then, I didn’t get the chance to camp at the grounds. So my best friend and I stayed at Jinja Backpackers; five minutes (using a boda boda) from the Nile Discovery Beach.
Jinja Backpackers is a warm, modest backpackers with dorms and private rooms conveniently located next to The Bourbon Bar and the waterfront.
The night my best friend and I checked into the backpackers in dire need of warmth, the semi finals of the Rugby World Cup were showing in the lounge. It was a full house of rugby lovers cheering on their favorite teams. It was like a different kind of party. We would have loved to join, granted neither of us really understands the game but we needed a shower and a warm bed to close our eyes for at least twenty minutes. However, after we were shown to our dorm and took hot showers; I tucked into my warm bunk bed, closed my eyes for a few minutes and it was morning the following day. The festival was calling, again.
We hated having to leave the Jinja Backpackers so soon…
There are so many things I am looking forward to this year and I hope that there will another Nyege Nyege International Music Festival; another chance to give into the urge to dance.