The Tradition of Singing and Storytelling in Uganda
“Africans are good dancers” – this was one of the statements for the discussion with our project partners and Sould X-pressions team about stereotypes and prejudices. And our colleague Davis, who was doing his job shadowing in Lithuania at that time provided a very nice response to that: “Music and dance in Uganda were the ways to keep the history. It was the way to transfer the information from people to people, from generation to generation.”
And here I am now in Uganda for my job shadowing in the frame of GlobaLab project hosted by our wonderful partner Soul-Xpressions. And this is a perfect opportunity for me to experience what music and dance really mean to the people here in Uganda.
During the first week of our job shadowing me and my mates – Vladislav, Aga and Solveiga – had a lot of experiences related to music and dancing. To me it was something helping to create the team spirit and unity within the groups of young people. While dancing, singing and hanging around together, you can really get the feelings of unity and being a part of a community. And I want to share a good practice how the team of Soul-Xpressions works on creating this spirit.
There we saw a real example how dancing, singing and storytelling can empower people. The group of participants was divided into two smaller groups. One group was preparing a dance, the other one had a storytelling workshop based on the traditional Ugandan song people usually sing here. We could see the youngsters enjoying the process while dancing, singing, acting out together and performing to each other.
What other things made the workshop a success? I would call them small rituals that helped creating the spirit of unity. First – community agreements. The participants came up with several key things to be appreciated during the workshop. They were confirmed by all the participants by saying “Yes, I can… Yes, I will…” to each of the things. Second, appreciating each other’s work. For example, people click after the speech of their peer to thank and appreciate their thoughts and ideas. And finally, the ritual that was most fascinating to me came out in the end of the workshop. The participants sang a Congolese song and danced at the same time thus bring a huge emotional flow and the sense of belongingness. These are the tiny things which help building the values of unity, respect, love and many more.
Thank you, Soul-Xpressions, for the meaningful work!
On Saturday, we visited Sosolya Undugu Dance Academy where the team of Soul-Xpressions run the workshop with the academy members.