Nyege Nyege

07/09/18Ugandan Music Festival Faces Charges Of Promoting Homosexuality

After quite a scare, this year's MTN Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja, Uganda is now in full effect. In a letter addressed to the East African country's Minister of Internal Affairs and the Inspector General of Police earlier this week, the Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rev Fr Simon Lokodo, had asked that the festival be stopped "over claims of promoting homosexuality"

"I have received credible information from Religious Leaders, Opinion Leaders, and Local Authorities that the purpose of this festival, in the last two years, has been compromised, to accommodate the celebration and recruitment of young people into homosexuality, and LGBT movement," a section of the letter reads. 

While it seemed as though the festival would actually be cancelled and numerous fans took to social media to voice their surprise and concern, the minister's motion found low support and Mr Lokodo was finally urged to admit defeat: 

“I tried my best to block it (Nyege Nyege), but the devil has a strong hand. I had to backtrack,” the minister said and added: “The first day (on Tuesday) I announced that it (the festival) won’t happen, but yesterday (Wednesday) because of pressure from all sides, my elders and even my own boss, I had to concede defeat.”

Earlier this year, the festival organisers had announced, that Nyege Nyege was going to add 3 letters to its name. MTN, "Uganda's biggest telecommunication company", came on board as sponsors of this year's event. The festival is currently in its fourth year. What started as a small rained-out gathering in 2015 with around 800 people, has now turned into a highly significant festival for music and culture in East Africa, which is expected to draw 8,000 people this year:

"Made possible by the tireless efforts of volunteers and artists [...] Nyege Nyege has built an identity true to the underground, promoting values such as freedom of expression, respect, curiosity and pride in our culture while maintaining openness to diversity and the world at large, something Uganda has become known for throughout the world," a statement by the organizers reads. 

Nyege Nyege seems to be in full swing now and this year's lineup should make for an amazing musical experience. Luckily, this so-called devil has once again prevailed.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom