Reviving Wycliffe Kiyingi’s Mudduma kwe kwafe.

03:39 by Kaggwa Andrew


The first ever theatre festival was held last week between 4th and 10th March at the National theatre.
The festival was meant to start a journey towards reviving the faded theatre industry in Uganda. It was a cocktail of activities ranging from art, drama, dance, speech, poetry, music, wrestling and circus.
The do, which also included workshops attracted keynote speakers, Sam Okello, Andrew Benon Kibuuka, Mulindwa Muwonge, Stephen Rwangyenzi, Fagil Mandy and others from across the world.
Works from prominent Ugandan play Wrights like John Rugunda, Byron Kawadwa and Dr. Mercy Mirembe Ntagaare featured. However, for many, it was Wycliffe Kiyingi’s Mudduma kwe kwaffe that mesmerized most.
Leading into this particular show, a rumor had circulated that the play Wright Wycliffe Kiyingi had died, it was the management to clarify that he was indeed alive.
Wycliffe Kiyingi is one of Uganda’s greatest play wrights respected by many in the local theatre. He writes with such integrity that even when most of the plays were written before our 1962 independence, they reflect the current situation in the country.
According to Dr. Ntangaare, Wycliffe was the first Ugandan play Wright for TV, radio and theatre.
“He’s the grandfather of Ugandan theatre and in any way, this is our own Shakespeare,” she said.
During his active days, Wycliffe penned plays such as Muka Sempala, Gwosusa emwanyi, lugendo lwa Gorogosa and the course Mudduma kwe kwafe among others.
Written around 1945, Mudduma kwe kwafe is one of the few books examinable at the university, these alongside the other of Wyclif’s work have been translated into various languages.  
Last week at the theatre festival, an all star cast of Bwanika Charles, Sophie Matovu, Isaac Kadzu, Patriko Mujuka, Edwin Mukalazi and Ivan Tumwesigye among others.
The play is set in a pre-independent Uganda where the main trade item was cotton. Wycliffe uses Mudduma, a village to represent Uganda as a whole.
The plot rotates around residents of Mudduma, mainly cotton growers. They sale only to Murji (Isaac Kadzu), an exploitative Indian trader in the area. When the Second World War veterans return, they influence Mudduma residents into pushing for their own independence so as to manage their own finances like the western countries they had fought in. This leads to drama, intrigue, confusion and suspense.
Mudduma kwe kwafe is a master piece in all aspects unlike popular theatre where a story is told in over 30 scenes, in this one, the curtains only open once and in a single location, market place, the entire story unfolds. 
“its such an honor for me to be part of this classic project”, said Afri- talent’s Bwanika Charles.
As part of their initiative to revive theatre, the producers promised to stage events where these Ugandan classic plays will be showcased in December.  
Like many of the plays in the festival, Mudduma kwe kwafe was too directed by Kaya Kagimu Mukasa.
Besides the plays, the festival involved other activities like short movies, routines dances and performances by the Hip hop Bonfire, percussion Discussion and Sarah Zawedde’s zawee band.

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