The Workzine Issue 71

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Issue 71 of the funkiest magazine online.

Transcript of The Workzine Issue 71




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    Earlier this week, the nation woke up to the sad news of the demise of Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, who had trav-elled to South Korea in his capacity as minister of inter-nal affairs. Immediately, speculation as to the cause of his death started spreading on the social media platforms with all sorts of elements crawling out of the woodwork. We await the official report. Our prayers are with the family of the deceased may his soul rest in peace.

    This months issue features a music lovers opinion on why one of the continents best music festivals, Sauti Za Busara, is worth saving following the cancellation of next years edition due to lack of funds. An advertising expert has plenty of advice for novices on how not to make it in the industry. Clemantine Wamariyas powerful story on escaping the Rwandan genocide with her sister and the subsequent years spent as refugees across sub Saharan Af-rica is a must read; weve only published the first chapter but a link to the full story online is included.

    Music and cultural arts enthusiasts should not miss out on the Bayimba Festival happening this weekend at the National Theatre; and mid next month, all roads lead to Jinja for the Nyege Nyege international music festival.

    As you know, or may not know, this free e-magazine is put together for you plying your trade in this global econ-omy and we know many things affect your working lives like the soaring exchange rate and the price of oil. We welcome submissions so please send your thoughts, analy-ses and anecdotes to

    Ugandas high entrepreneurial spir-it is borne out of the populations

    innate understanding that no mat-ter where you are in the country,

    wealth here isnt distributed, it has to be generated.

    Sauti Za Busara is worth Saving

    The Efficient Hopeless

    Silhouette in Red


    How to Take Kickbacks

    Hangover From Hell

    Everything is Yours

    The Resurrection

    Kampire Bahana

    Raymond Mujuni Qatahar

    The Streetsider

    The Rising Page

    Colin Asiimwe

    Flavia Bileni

    Clemantine Wamariya

    Daniel Nuwamanya

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  • This month I am among those mourning the cancellation of Sauti za Busara 2016. Despite being in its twelfth successful year and having generated over $70 mil-lion for the island of Zanzibar, the much-loved music festival will not take place next year.

    I attended the 2015 edition of Sauti za Busara (SzB). A weekend of great food, sandy white beaches meeting cerulean seas, and the best live music the continent and the Diaspora have to offer; I would recommend the ex-perience to anyone. My friend and I ran around the island, getting lost in the labyrinthine streets of Stone Town, buying fresh sugarcane juice and gelato on the street, exclaiming over Syrian shwarmas at Forodhani gar-dens, devouring the freshest calamari with our toes in the Indian Ocean. In the evening we made our way to the historic Old Fort to appreciate expert soukous guitar played by Madagascan bands, athletic Zulu dances by a fam-ily band that encompassed 3 generations, traditional Zan-zibari taraab music kept alive by young women, and the inimitable Blitz the Ambassador and his full piece band playing live arrangements of his manifesto music. At SzB there are no backing tracks, all of the performers must use live instrumentation, leading to truly unique performances, even from hip hop acts like Kenyas Octopizzo. All this happens against the beguil-ing Indian Ocean coast, a backdrop of Swahili culture both ancient and modern.

    SzB alumni include musical luminar-ies like Salif Keita (Mali), Nneka (Nigeria), Ochestre Poly-Rythmo (Benin), The Broth-er Moves On (South Africa), Djimawi Africa (Algeria), and Bi Kidude (Zanzi-bar). The festival connects African mu-

  • sic professionals with their counterparts from across the continent, a valu-able experience where pursuing a career in the arts is still sneered upon by the larger society. Skills development is a key goal, and the festival offers a range of workshops to East African professionals.It is for these reasons that SzB was named one of Africas best and most respected music events by the BBC World Service, one of CNNs 7 African music festivals you really have to see and Africas Best Music Festival ac-cording to Afrotourism.

    February, the month in which the festival falls, in 2014 recorded the high-est number of visitors to the island. That is more than traditional holiday months like August, July and December. This is due in no small part to Sauti za Busara. During the fest, hotels are fully booked, popular local restaurants like Loukmans have long lines; taxi drivers, Spice tour guides, scuba diving professionals and those who sail the iconic Zanzibari dhow all ply a good living during the festival. The mainland, Dar Es Salaam benefits too. For budget travellers like myself, full use is made of Air BnB and CouchSurfing, connecting us to a network of independent operators and gracious hosts.

  • My favourite part of the festival, be-sides the truly intoxicating musical performances I got to witness, was counting myself among a community of music lovers. In the thick sweat of the front row I looked around me at an audience of people from all over the world, here to have a good time, to be a part of invigorating live perfor-mances by the best African acts. Ticket sales are as popular as ever, but they only account for 30% of the festival costs according to Busara Promotions CEO Yusuf Mahmood. So when this year they failed to raise half of the $200,000 necessary, the 2016 edition was reluctantly cancelled.

    Sauti za Busara receives zero support from the governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar. Yup, despite being among the islands biggest draws, the government will not invest in its ensured and con-tinued success. In fact one can argue that the Zanzibari government gets in the way of the festivals growth by de-manding larger and larger taxes each year. This is symptomatic of a problem that can be seen in many East African governments across almost all indus-tries; lacking the infrastructure to col-lect taxation from a largely informal base, it compensates by overtaxing the structures it can collect from. In Tan-zania a visiting artists visa costs more

  • than $1000. How is the proverbial starving artist supposed to afford this?

    In fact, we have to pay the National Arts Council every year for registration, event licenses and permits from the Board of Censors, artists work permits and visa, assorted taxes, media and film permits, permission to put posters on streets, not to mention costs for venue hire, policing and security, electricity, water and sanitation, technical facilities and so on, Mahmoud says.For many years weve had meetings with ministers, directors, permanent sec-retaries, even the President and Vice President, to beg for at least some of these expenses to be waived, but were not holding our breath to get financial

  • support from our governments in the foreseeable future.Its only fair to say the best we hope for is minimal interference.

    If $70 million is not enough for gov-ernments to recognize the social and commercial value of the arts sector, what hope is there for those of us who attempt to scratch out an indi-vidual living in this industry?Sure, in Africa, the basic needs of a majority of the population are still waiting to be met, but our creative and cultural aspirations are equally valid and will not wait for food on the table in order to be heard. Art is not just about expression. Innovation and creativity do not just lead to tan-gible value in the tourism industry, they lead to solutions to problems of poverty and poor governance. We have seen this with Ushahidi, with M-Pesa, with IHub, with floating schools that reach slum kids, with Sheng dictionaries and Matatu maps on Google, with apps that address maternal mortality in hard to reach areas.

    The poverty that is endemic to our continent is in fact what allows cre-ativity to thrive, because African people must get around shoddy in-frastructure, debilitating bureaucra-cy, pervasive corruption, an incon-

    sequential middle class, an ill-fitting education system, and a total absence of supportive government policy. To flourish on this continent, nay to func-tion, you must by definition be re-sourceful, flexible and innovate cre-ative.

    We are seeing portents of change, in Kenya there is development of a Na-tional Arts and Culture Bill, but we need more and we need it faster. Sau-ti za Busara is but one example of East African opportunity that is