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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wapi brings out youthful vitality and talent but...


The second edition of ‘Words and Pictures’ (Wapi) concert kicked off with hype on Saturday at Hotel Africana’s People’s Space. Performers competed to live up to the do’s theme, “Gwe Ani? Define your identity” as they flashed unique identities in the way they were dressed, performance styles to their stage names and hip-hop parlance.

“Word for real, hip-hop in the buildin’,” rapper 2-Xtrim shouted as he swaggered cross the stage. He was right.
Hip-hop dominated the repertoire of creative acts. But that’s not to mean it was the best. Some songs carried a message on cross-generational sex, the dangers of drugs and generally advocated social change. However, everyone was miming.

How then is the British Council initiative going to help the industry by bringing out the best in these budding artistes if all they can do is mime? Perhaps we should let that slip as music is but a tiny strand of Wapi as a whole.

In fashion and modelling, creations by Mukisa Harriet Nagaya from Natty Fashion House, with their original African touch, casual as they came, stood out. The audience were particularly drawn to the Ethiopian scarf designs and the wedding attire.

The ‘bride and groom’, dressed to high heavens, slow-walked on stage in the radiance of all as real wedding couples do, to the beat of P-Square’s Do Me, a song which added a comical twist to the affair. Ugandan rapper Saint CA, did something different –recited a poem about victims of crime that truly was a revelation.

Art lovers were also captured by the expressive live paintings of Rolands Tbirusya Roldan, particularly the piece that preached against homosexuality: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman;” it was written on, “that is detestable” –Lev. 18:22”
You could read the hunger and thirst for fame in the eyes of the youngsters who performed at Wapi. Many echoed the same sound –that of gratefulness for the exposure and for the neutrality of the event.In that way, the British Council gets the plaudits for creating a forum through which these young and talented visual and verbal artists join artistically to express themselves.

However, more professional assistance must be put in place to propel these youngsters into the mainstream limelight and be appreciated on the world stage.