Benefitting country(ies): Uganda
The project merged with ongoing safeguarding initiatives of the Busoga communities of Eastern Uganda to revitalize and strengthen Bigwala music and dance traditions, which play a key role in maintaining Busoga collective memory, cultural values and social unity. Involving the performance of five or more gourd trumpet players, each producing a single tone blown in hocket to produce a melody, community members of all ages participate freely, singing, dancing and forming a circular movement around the instrument players.
Efforts to safeguard the element, which traditionally marks events such as coronations and royal burials along with other major occasions, made leaps forward thanks to the project. Taking a highly integrated approach, activities involved local communities and councils, as well as the National Council of Folklorists of Uganda (NACOFU) – the implementing agency – and Kyambogo University, all working together to encourage youth to learn the tradition, while launching awareness-raising initiatives including a Busoga festival. The initial goal to train 30 youth and teachers in Bigwala-making was surpassed, with some 120 community members learning the skills and, in the process, improving the livelihoods of local farmers producing gourds. Similarly, the 197 youth trained in Bigwala playing and the 200 trained in the dances exceeded the 90 foreseen for each aspect. Villagers and schools showed great enthusiasm for trainee performances through events organized by village councils. Audio-visual documentation was carried out by the NACOFU and made publically accessible, and today, the project has become a model for others in Uganda.
News and activities:
- 2017-03-20 – Basoga communities of Uganda engage in the safeguarding of the Bigwala
- 2016-06-01 – Workshop in Bigwala and drum playing and Bigwala dance
- 2015-08-24 – Peacebuilding, natural disasters mitigation and indigenous communities supported by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund
International assistance related to an element inscribed or nominated for the Urgent Safeguarding List:
00749 - Bigwala, gourd trumpet music and dance of the Busoga Kingdom in Uganda (7.COM, inscribed/selected/approuved)
01/04/2015 - 31/10/2017 – Strengthening national capacities for effective safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in Asia and the Pacific01/03/2016 - 31/07/2017 – Strengthening sub-regional cooperation and national capacities in seven Southern African countries for implementing the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Part II