Charles Butambuze who doubles as Executive Secretary of National Book Trust of Uganda told cultural leaders at Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda heritage awards 2021 at Uganda mesuem.
He called for urgent government and private sector collaboration to promote Uganda cultural heritage saying its in crisis.
“There is no doubt that Uganda has very rich cultural heritage. In fact a 2017 study by Harvard University found that Uganda is the most ethnically diverse country in the world. This rich cultural heritage which includes traditional cultural expressions, tangible heritage and culture and creative industries is in crisis on account of the out break of the covid 19 pandemic,”Batambuze.
He explained that the covid 19 pandemic has halted festivals, practices and rituals like kadodi. Covid pandemic slowed and many cases wiped away markets for traditional crafts products and services of the culture and creative industries like public concerts and performances, exhibitions, festivals, trainings.
” Estimates by government show that the music industry alone lost shs 15billion within a period of one month following the lock down in match 2020,”
Batambuze however says covid 19 measures including some which are still in place like bans on public gathering, night time curfews, social distancing measures, closure of performances, beaches, recreational and entertainment spaces, bars, galleries, museums, schools, universities, sports centres, libraries, bookshops and public spaces, restrictions on businesses and closure of concerts have in most cases brought social and economic life to a halt and thus impacting society.
“Covid will wipe away incomes and livelihood and there is a likelihood to lose skilled practitioners to other sectors because the vibe has been that such people need to move on the real economy and led to decline in tourism rendering the country museums and other tangible heritage sites deserted and without means of sustainability, “he said.
Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda director Barbara Batweteera asked government for urgent stimulus fund and one stop centre and to review legal environment to take care of new emerging needs to promote culture and heritage sector.
“Government more than ever are willing to listen to culture heritage practitioners now more than ever. This is so because culture heritage are not only the economic drivers and source of employment for many especially women and young people but through the diversity of content they generate, they are also conveyors of meanings and identities which have proven to be vital through out the crisis. Cultural and heritage practioners therefore need to piggy bank on the several government programme for collaboration and promotion, “she said.
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