Last Friday, all roads led to Kati Kati restaurant as high school kids stormed the grounds for the final Kadanke skoolz National Championship under the theme, 'Forever young'.
Sebatta Ibra Renal's brainchild, High Skool Kadanke has evolved into the biggest event on teenagers' holiday calendar in the last two years, attracting students from all the popular schools in Uganda. They turned up in large numbers to witness their colleagues and favourite artistes perform for a pocket-friendly fee of Shs 5,000.
MTN, the major sponsor of the event alongside Coca-Cola, NTV and Urban TV, saw to it that everyone walked home with a gift. Every student got a free MTN booth card on arrival. In boarding school, these are priceless must-haves. Random items like phones, t-shirts, water bottles were also flung into the crowd for lucky winners.
Competitions in music, dance and modelling saw several students leave the event millionaires. East High's 16-year-old Hellen Najjuuko beat three other girls to become Miss Hi Skool Kadanke, a title that left her Shs 1m richer. Allan Buyinza won himself a Galaxy tab worth Shs 2m for perfectly imitating singer Jose Chameleone.
St Mary's SS Kitende won the heavily-contested best dance group title. This earned them a TV set and Shs 1m.
The participating schools were, East High, Kakungulu SS, St Mary's SS Kitende, Lubiri SS, Merryland HS Entebbe, St Peter's Nsambya, Kibuli SS, Makindye SS, Bishop Cypriano, Hilton High and Standard High.
Although some may undermine their power, the fact remains that when it comes to the entertainment scene, teenagers set the pace. And they set it with swagger too. The female students turned up in all tribes of boots (currently trending in the West; never mind Kampala's blistering heat), jeggings and skimpy outfits, while the males pulled out their old skool outfits: tight, bright-coloured jeans mainly.
The dancing competition aside, the mini pageant is what really brought out the students' dress style. Four students from Muyenga High, East High, Ntinda View and Makindye SS brought their varying wardrobes to the stage and anyone outside their generation could have easily been lost for words. Although Najjuuko's choice of 'smart' dress code in a red secretary outfit won the day, the other girls' patra pants and leggings were also worth writing home about.
Real action started at 8:30pm when Chameleone hit the stage amidst fireworks. He got the students dancing with his Valu Valu, Owakabi and Moto Moto, among others. Other performances came from Navio, Vampino, Aziz Azion, Young Mullo, GNL Zamba, Ray (Kasenyanku), Renah, Big Eye, Sheebah, Papa Cidy, Gravity Omutujju and others who allowed the teenagers to show off their unmatchable dance skills up to 9:30pm.
While the Kadanke officially ended then, the children received free entrance to Club Silk, their parents' curfews permitting.