Theater mourns Wycliffe Kiyingi

05:09 by Kaggwa Andrew
In March 2013, when Dr. Mercy Mirembe Ntangare put together a Theater festival, Wycliffe Kiyingi’s Muduuma Kwe Kwafe was set to showcase on day two.
However, early in the morning, news went around that the 84 year old then had passed on, that rumor was later declared false as they went on to stage the play.
I never got a chance to meet Kiyingi even though I tried as much at the time..
It was until early this year when I was requested by Francis Peter Ojede, Executive Director, Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) that we made it to his home in Mutundwe.
Unfortunately, nine months after he did an interview with The Observer, on Saturday morning, Kiyingi, 85 was declared deceased by a family member.
He was glad to see us though because of age, he was confined to a wheel chair and had forgotten a lot of events besides the year 1954.
It’s the year he formed the African Artist Association. He believed that even in such hard political situations the continent was going through, especially the fact that many of the countries were not independent, artists needed to work together to prosper.
But he never got to realize this dream, as the years that followed, Africans fought for their independence, some got it but then resorted to fighting the men in power.
It saw many sensitive authors and play wrights go to exile like Ngugi wa Thiogo, Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe among others.
At the time of his death, Kiyingi had been in and out of hospital battling different complications, he had a strong difficulty in listening and talking though was still optimistic that may be one day, he would pen more books.
During his active days, Kiyingi penned plays such as Muka Sempala, W'okulira, Gw'osusa emwanyi, Olugendo lw'e Gologoosa and Muduuma kwe kwaffe, among others.  He also did many plays for both radio and TV, which makes him one of the few multimedia playwrights the country has had.
During a memorial at the National Theater on Monday, president of the Association of Performing Artists, Andrew Benon Kibuuka, noted that Kiyingi has left a lot of challenges for the industry since he achieved much and yet lived an exemplary life.
“He has left a lot of artistic which we have to emulate,” Kibuuka said.
Kaya Kagimu Mukasa noted that the late has left the industry with integrity; “he was an accomplished writer that made descent money without getting involved in scandals.”
However, Eng. Serukenya bashed at the public for not appreciating artistic wworks which has led to many talented people dying poor.
It should also be noted, that much as Kiyingi’s books are examinable at both O and A level in Luganda by UNEB, the playwright died without reaping from that effort.

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