Transforming Waiting Rooms Through Street Dance in the Slums of Kampala
While in Kampala’s slums of Namuwongo and Kabalagala, we noticed the impact of foreign presence, either through aid or medical care or promises of support, causing people to forget the stories and power of their history. This disempowered energy was especially rampant in slum clinic waiting rooms.
To revive a sense of indigenous empowerment, we combined forces with indigenous rappers Spyda MC and Taye of Tandika Esaawa, With Spyda MC, we created a flash street performance in the center of the Namuwongo slum, with a three phase dance piece. The first part was of the youth talking about a time they were in the waiting room. Some shared stories of their parents being ill or of being ill themselves. The waiting room becomes full with stories of despair, fear, and powerlessness.
Then the rappers enter, using spoken word in the indigenous Luganda language to tell the patients that they were more than they realized, that their potential to empower themselves.
Finally, Jaja Lutaya stands up and reminds them of proverbs from the Baganda people on health and the importance of community to overcome sickness. The power to heal, he says, has always been within us.
This project is dedicated to Jaja Lutaya who passionately worked at the National Arts Center and preserved Luganda history. He passed away a year after this performance.