By Simon Peter Tumwine
Visit a home of any noisy celebrity, and you will find a cabinet full of awards. Everyone seems to organise an award ceremony where the same people receive awards for the same old reasons. The Government has not been left out. Several government agencies have joined the private sector to organise the Janzi Awards.
The awards, which were launched at the Independence Monument in Kampala today, are aimed at promoting Uganda’s cultural, creative, and performing arts and will have people awarded in 80 categories.
During the launch, the Uganda National Cultural Centre board chairperson, Sam Okello Kelo, said the awards shall honour artists, musicians, producers, writers, dancers, companies and innovators, among others, who have made substantial contributions to the culture, creative, and performing arts industry of Uganda. He said the awards will be organised under the theme Uganda for Us. Us for Uganda.
Okello said through the awards, all the stakeholders in the industry will recognise and celebrate creativity, excellence, innovation, ingenuity, and originality to uplift the standards of the industry.
The director of operations at Operation Wealth Creation, Sylvia Owori, said the country has witnessed unprecedented times due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the entertainment and hospitality sectors have been some of the worst-hit due to the nature of their operations. Owori said despite the pandemic, artistes have persevered and endeavoured to create content and provide information, as well as entertainment to their audiences.
She also said the awards will explore ways of streamlining the sector with a view of unlocking its potential for jobs and wealth creation. Owori gained famed and notoriety during the time she held the Miss Uganda franchise.
The awards are named after the Janzi, a string instrument invented by musician James Ssewakiryanga aka Ssewa Ssewa.
The awards will be hosted by the National Cultural Forum, Uganda Performing Rights Society, Uganda Musicians Association, Uganda Communications Commission, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
A number of prominent artistes such as Patrick ‘Salvado’ Idringi, Phina Masanyalaze and Ronald Mayinja were present at the launch of the awards.