Ndere will take you on a musical journey around the four corners of Uganda.
-By Agnes Mirembe
You cannot leave Kampala city without immersing yourself in the vibrant traditional cultures of Uganda’s major 53 tribes at Ndere. Located within easy access from the town center, it is an open air amphitheater that showcases authentic traditional dances and stand-up comedy from the founder of the troupe, Stephen Rwangyezi.
All presentations are executed by dancers dressed in colourful traditional costumes and backed by captivating rhythms of traditional instruments such as thumb pianos, adungu, okeme, engalabi.
The performers will take you on a journey around the four corners of Uganda with their sonorous voice, moving drum beats, graceful choreography and prancing young men and women. You are free to join in the dancing to unwind.
One of the special memories you will leave with you is watching the female dancers balance clay pots on their heads while grooving to electrifying beats. Some will balance up to nine pots on their heads, sparking a wild applause from the amazed audience.
The other spectacle you will witness are performances from Central Uganda which is predominantly occupied by Buganda tribe. Such include dances like Baakisiimba, Nankasa and Muwogola, all of which entail wiggling one’s waists vigorously like they are possessed by spirits. These traditional folk dances originated from the palace of the Kabaka over 200 years back. The key instrument used to fire them up is a long drum made of tough skin, of python snakes.
While grooving to them, dancers drape colourful raffias around their waists to flirter the movement of the waists. The Acholi people have dances like Larakaraka and Bwola that are always performed by elder men and women. If you are young, you sit and get entertained. There is also the Ding-Ding Dance that is always performed by young girls in the region. Here, their movements are meant to imitate the birds. They dance to attract the young boys who are always watchful of them after coming of age.
The Alur otherwise enjoy their Adungu dance, a dance named after a traditional guitar made of cow skin and small strands of sisal ropes. The mainly jiggle with their elbows.
Best of all, Ndere's dancers will give you all the time you need to take pictures. Most of their ballets are memorable for promoting peace at a time when so many parties call for dis-unity. They are fun, entertaining and uplifting!
Entrance tickets to this outdoor music theater cost roughly ($15). Their shows are held on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 6 pm-10 pm. For details, visit them on ndere.com or call 256 31 2291936.
Details about tribes:
There are close to 60 tribes in Uganda. These fall in four main groups, Nilotics, Bantu, Nilo-Himites and Pastoralists. The dominant tribes are those under a kingdom setting. These include; Banyoro, Batooro, Basoga, Bagisu, Baganda, Bagwere, Acholi, Japadhola, Karimajong and many more. These people speak in their respective languages. Even though one can easily understand what another is saying, the languages remain different. For example; Lusoga is sound to Luganda. This is so because all these tribes belong to different groups that subscribe to divergent traditions. If you come down to Uganda, you will easily notice this.