Uganda: Swedish Embassy in Uganda Moves to Foster Cultural Exchange

28 November 2023

The Swedish Embassy in Uganda has in partnership with Swedish cultural organization, Selam, welcomed a group of Swedish artists to Uganda for a two-day visit.

The Swedish artists delegation was led by renowned rapper Jason Diakité aka Timbuktu, accompanied by the MASAKA trio jazz band and Esther Kirabo.

During the visit, they will participate in various activities aimed at fostering cultural exchange and artistic freedom in Uganda, climaxed by an exclusive concert that wis showcase a fusion of hip hop and jazz.

They will also collaborate with Ugandan rapper and record producer Navio and Selam's national partner Pearlwood on different activities including a workshops and live performances while in Uganda.

Highlights of their visit include an engagement at Makerere University in Kampala where Timbuktu will do a small performance with Navio and sign the Orange Pledge as a commitment to act against Gender-based Violence.

Additionally, Selam will host a round-table discussion in collaboration with Pearlwood to present the new Connect for Culture Africa (CFCA) initiative to key Ugandan stakeholders and to create a platform for policy dialogue around the challenges and opportunities of securing public funding for the culture sector in Uganda.

The Connect for Culture Africa (CFCA) initiative, a joint venture between Selam and the African Union (AU), is dedicated to transforming the cultural and creative landscape of Africa and this pioneering project aims to reshape perceptions, advocate for increased public investment, and promote inclusivity within the continent's diverse cultural expressions.

According to Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Maria Håkansson, culture is a driver of development, as the creative economy is one of the world's most rapidly growing sectors.

"We all know that culture builds bridges and creates understanding and I hope that this week's visit will contribute to a platform for dialogue and exchange between Swedish and Ugandan artists, civil society, media and policy makers on the potential of cultural and creative industries and the importance of artistic freedom," Hakansson said on Monday afternoon.

"Culture is a driver of development as the creative economy is one of the world's most rapidly growing sectors and at the same time culture empowers people and inspires change."

She insisted that the visit of the Swedish artists to Uganda ought to pen a new chapter of cultural exchange between the two countries.

Selam's CEO and founder Teshome Wondimu said the visit to Uganda will see the organization take forward its advocacy for increased funding to the culture sector by governments all over the world.

"We are excited to continue our efforts in Uganda and present our new initiative CICA Connect For Culture Africa, where we are advocating for increased public funding for the culture sector."

Teshome explained that as part of the visit, they will later today, November 28 organize a roundtable discussion on the challenges and opportunities to access public funding for the culture sector in the country.

"We particularly look forward to meet a diverse group of culture actors to better understand the support needed to build a stronger and more unified culture sector in Uganda."

Swedish musician, Jason Diakité also known as Timbuktu said he was happy to visit African for the second time.

"It is a kind of diasporic homecoming for us and a valuable opportunity to partake in culture and connect with the people of Kampala. Mother Africa, we are on our way from the cold north but we bring lots of love, vibes and music with us," Timbuktu said.

He said the visit is expected to strengthen the ties between the Swedish and Ugandan artistic communities, as well as raise awareness and advocacy on issues that affect both countries.

"The visit is also a celebration of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of both nations, and an opportunity to learn from each other."

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