Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A total of six awardees including people and organizations, have been recognized for their role in conservation and protection of Uganda’s cultural and social heritage in the National Heritage Awards 2023 by the Cross Cultural Foundation-CCFU.
Started in 2013, these awards, aim at appreciating and recognizing people, organization or agencies for their contribution towards promoting Uganda’s cultural heritage.
Unlike the previous episodes, this year the awardees were six in total, the extra one being the media personality award, which went to Bismac Amumpaire, a Next Media journalist, who according to the organizers, got the highest number of nominations.
From the intangible category, the first award went to the Francis Walakira family, of Mpambire along Masaka road, for preserving the skill of making traditional drum within the family for more than 75 years.
This family is also behind the famous Buganda band drums Mujjaguzzo, which are sounded by the king on several kingdom occasions.
From the same category, Judith Kirya was awarded for her contribution towards promoting herbal medicine and treating with it, which she has done for more then 20 years, and through which she has impacted onto many people’s lives.
The last awardee from this category is Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare, a lecturer at Makerere University’s School of Performing Arts, who was awarded for promoting oral literature and traditional music.
Yesterday we awarded heritage promoters for their efforts in safeguarding and promoting Uganda’s cultural heritage.
— Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (@CCFU_NGO) May 26, 2023
For the tangible heritage category, the first awardee, was the Makerere university collage of health sciences, which was awarded for preserving rare medical history since 1897, at the Albert Cook Library.
The school is also recognized for preserving Albert Cook’s personal life writings, as well as the ashes of his body which are still kept in this places. Albert Cook is the founder of Mengo hospital, and is regarded as the father of modern medicine in Uganda.
The other in this category is Hana Longole, who established the Ateker Cultural center in Moroto, a place where the indigenous Karamojong life style is spotlighted.
While receiving the award, Longole said that she was inspired to open this center after having learnt about the killing of Karamojong’s who were trying to resist modernization from eroding their culture.
The last in this category, is the Ankole Diocese, which was recognized for establishing the African revival Museum which demonstrates the relationship between culture and religion, which has been around for more than 50 years, with a record of deeply instilling Christian values to it’s associates. It also cerebrates to have produced hard core Christians, who have maintained their Christian value but also respected the cultural aspects.
Jan Sadek, the European union ambassador to Uganda said that the Ugandans should be proud of their social and cultural heritage, because this is what in forms future development and creates a common identity among the citizens.
“We think that cultural heritage is important for any country, because it creates some sort of common identity, and a cohesion that is important for the development of the country,” he said.
According to Sadek, the EU is now considering support in the cultural heritage preservation, the way it is doing to infrastructure and other sectors.
Barbra Babwetera, the CCFU executive director, said that these awards were initiated to boost morale for cultural heritage preservation in the country, and it mainly goes for those people who have made an exclusive job in this line.
She said they are looking forward to government to take up the program for the better.
“We hope and appreciate that even the government of Uganda, can pick it up from where we are and even magnify it and make it bigger and better to recognize and appreciate the efforts of our own people, and what they are doing to safeguard our heritage,” she said.