Wednesday, 21 November 2007

CHOGM fever and 'Bring the Noise'

Over the last two days it has really felt like CHOGM has finally arrived in the city. Delegates are swarming all over the city centre while the normal inhabitants have cleared (or have been cleared) out till it's all over. As a mzungu in Kampala everyone automatically assumes you are here for the various forums, which means battling with hugely inflated prices for boda rides and the like. As much as I try to convince them that it is very unlikely CHOGM delegates will be riding round the city on motorbikes, it is impossible to dampen down what has become a frenzy of excitement. The Queen's arrival today is now the only talking point in town and from Thursday onwards the President has declared a public holiday - in part in celebration but also to try and ease the horrific traffic jams that have delayed commuters over the past few days.

Tonight a few of us went to the British Council organised 'Bring the Noise' concert at the main cricket ground. It marked the end of the Youth Forum and brought together artists from across Africa in what is meant to be a celebration of the 200 year anniversary of the 'abolition' of slavery and 50 years of Ghanaian independence (the first African country to dispatch the colonialists). The music was great even if the atmosphere was slightly muted due to a smallish crowd for such a big venue. The 10,000 shillings (~£3) entrance fee was too much for most Ugandans and it was a shame that an event which had the potential to allow delegates to interact with 'Kampala-real', ended up wasting that opportunity.

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