The Equity Festival, held on Saturday, April 22nd, at the Elephante Commons in Gulu, Northern Uganda, brought together a dynamic mix of creatives, community leaders, tourists, and enthusiastic attendees. Organized by CMH Live, KQ Hub Africa, Beyond the Beat, Watwero Dance Company, and Elephante Commons, the festival aimed to engage participants in conversations about equal opportunities and equity, particularly for the youth. With top musicians from Gulu city providing entertainment and refreshments for all, the event was a vibrant celebration of arts, culture, and the pursuit of a more inclusive society.
The festival began with insightful interviews conducted outside the theatre of Elephante Commons. Prominent creatives such as Shanana, Fortunate, and Message, the team leader of Watwero Dance Company, emphasized the need for more platforms and opportunities for artists. They highlighted the crucial role of creatives in negotiating with stakeholders and advocating for equal opportunities through their performances. These interviews set the tone for a day filled with thought-provoking discussions and inspiring artistic expressions.
Totem MC of Beyond the Beat opened the event with introductory remarks, inviting Collin Sserunjogi from CMH Live and Odeke Francis from KQ Hub Africa to share their perspectives. Both speakers emphasized that the festival was designed to facilitate meaningful conversations while offering enjoyable entertainment. Attendees, including creatives, community leaders, tourists, and Elephante Commons workers, eagerly participated and commended the event as an engaging and enlightening experience.
The festival showcased an array of talented performers, including Shanana and Fortunate with their captivating live acoustic performances. J.O. Apararyo delivered a powerful hip-hop performance, while Alvin Big Base, Mike, Ben Peaks, Winnie BK, and Young Jero delighted the audience with their diverse musical styles and energetic stage presence. Through their art, these performers collectively exemplified the power of creativity in advocating for social change and promoting inclusivity.
Despite the undeniable talent and passion present in Gulu’s arts and culture scene, the industry is still in its nascent stages. However, events like the Equity Festival play a vital role in providing a platform for artists to showcase their talents and engage in meaningful conversations about equal opportunities and equity. By bringing together stakeholders, creatives, and the community, these initiatives aim to foster an environment where artistic expression can flourish and contribute to a more vibrant and inclusive society.
Artists in Gulu, like many other places, face significant constraints when it comes to funding their artistic endeavors. Limited financial resources often hinder their ability to fully explore their creative potential and bring their visions to life. The lack of adequate funding affects not only their ability to create, but also their access to essential resources and materials. Additionally, the availability of creative spaces is often limited, making it challenging for artists to find suitable venues for exhibitions, performances, and collaborations. Despite these constraints, artists in Guy persist, showcasing their talent and passion while seeking innovative ways to overcome these obstacles and contribute to the local art scene.The Equity Festival in Gulu, Northern Uganda, served as a catalyst for conversations surrounding equal opportunities and
equity for the youth. Through interviews, performances, and engaging discussions, the event successfully highlighted the transformative power of art and culture in advocating for social change. As the local arts and culture scene continues to grow, initiatives like the Equity Festival provide a platform for creatives to shine, inspiring a generation and paving the way for a more equitable future.