In collaboration with the Swedish cultural organization Selam, the Swedish Embassy in Uganda extended a warm welcome to a group of Swedish artists who recently arrived in Uganda for a visit that lasted for two days.
Jason Diakité, better known by his stage name Timbuktu, was the leader of the Swedish artist delegation. Esther Kirabo and the MASAKA trio jazz ensemble joined him.
During their trip, they will participate in various events designed to encourage artistic expression and cultural interchange in Uganda. These activities culminate with an exclusive performance exhibiting a blend of jazz and hip-hop.
During their time in Uganda, they will also work with Navio, a Ugandan rapper and record producer, and Pearlwood, Selam’s national partner, on various events, such as seminars and live performances.
Some of the highlights of their trip include an engagement at Makerere University in Kampala, where Timbuktu will perform a little with Navio and sign the Orange Pledge as a promise to take action against gender-based violence.
Additionally, Selam will be hosting a roundtable discussion in collaboration with Pearlwood to present the new Connect for Culture Africa (CFCA) initiative to key Ugandan stakeholders and to create a platform for policy dialogue regarding the challenges and opportunities of securing public funding for the culture sector in Uganda. This discussion will take place in Uganda.
This pioneering project aims to reshape perceptions, advocate for increased public investment, and promote inclusivity within the African continent’s diverse cultural expressions. The Connect for Culture Africa (CFCA) initiative is a joint venture between Selam and the African Union (AU), dedicated to transforming Africa’s cultural and creative landscape.
Maria Hkansson, the Swedish ambassador to Uganda, stated that culture is an engine of growth. This is because the creative economy is one of the areas developing at the fastest rate globally.
“We all know that culture builds bridges and creates understanding, and I hope that this week’s visit will contribute to a platform for dialogue and exchange between Swedish and Ugandan artists, civil society, media, and policymakers on the potential of cultural and creative industries and the importance of artistic freedom,” Hakansson stated in the afternoon on Monday.
“Culture is a driver of development as the creative economy is one of the world’s most rapidly growing sectors, and at the same time, culture empowers people and inspires change.”
She maintained that the Swedish artists’ trip to Uganda should begin a new chapter in the cultural exchange between Uganda and Sweden.
Teshome Wondimu, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Selam stated that the organization would be able to further its campaign for more support for the cultural sector by governments worldwide during the visit to Uganda.
“We are excited to continue our efforts in Uganda and present our new initiative, CICA Connect For Culture Africa, where we are advocating for increased public funding for the culture sector.”
Teshome stated that as part of the tour, they will host a roundtable discussion later today, November 28, on the potential problems associated with accessing public funds for the nation’s education and cultural sectors.
“We particularly look forward to meeting a diverse group of cultural actors to better understand the support needed to build a stronger and more unified cultural sector in Uganda.”
The Swedish artist Jason Diakité, better known by his stage name Timbuktu, expressed his delight at the opportunity to travel to Africa for the second time.
“For us, it is a valuable opportunity to participate in culture and connect with the people of Kampala. It is a kind of homecoming for those of us who have had to leave our homeland.” Timbuktu says, “Mother Africa, we are on our way from the cold north, but we bring a lot of love, vibes, and music with us.”
He stated that he anticipates that the visit will deepen the relationships between the creative communities of Sweden and Uganda and promote awareness and advocacy on relevant problems in both nations. “The visit is also a celebration of both nations’ rich and diverse cultural heritage and an opportunity to learn from each other.”