Basoga communities of Uganda engage in the safeguarding of the Bigwala
- 20 March 2017
Bigwala, a cultural performance that is recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding by UNESCO is being revived by the members of the Basoga communities through a two-year International Assistance project (September 2015 – August 2017) supported under the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund and implemented by the National Council of Folklorists of Uganda. Bigwala music and dance is a cultural practice of the Basoga people of Uganda, performed during royal celebrations such as coronations and funerals and, in recent decades, on social occasions. The members of the community feared that the dance will no longer be performed in a few years’ time, as there were only five elderly players remaining in the whole of the Busoga kingdom. The assistance provided to the Basoga communities to safeguard the dance has enabled knowledge transfer to young people who are trained in the practice of the dance, which is now being performed at different cultural events such as the Kyabazinga coronation anniversary in September 2016 and the 78th Kyabazinga day celebration in February 2017.
Furthermore, the participation of members of the Basoga communities has resulted in the commitment of farmers to grow Bigwala gourds as well as address other issues that might hinder the smooth revival of the cultural practice. 30 Bigwala sets of instruments are being currently used for the performances and seven communities now grow, make, play and dance to Bigwala.
Bigwala has recently received media coverage in Uganda.