I went to Jinja on a bright Saturday because age is crippling my bones, which simply means, I can’t party for 4 days like the viral Spider-Man. The sun came out in hot pants and a colourful wig. A glorious day for this secular pilgrimage. Look, I admit, my Nyege Nyege bundles are slowly being depleted. I’m in my evening years for large parties. It’s now a secret medieval heresy that’s remembered with hidden joy. The FOMO didn’t hit me. But what hit me are the things I saw.
I saw a severe gridlock of festival-goers being baked in their cars as they headed East. There had been terror alerts from Embassies and, as expected, at the entrance, it felt like we’re queuing up at that fancy mansion, somewhere in Entebbe where the big lad resides. It was like crossing a particularly fraught border. With such tight security, I knew the festival was going to be…a blast.
I saw hordes of content creators. Old. New. Professional. Amateur. There, everyone’s trying to create content. To put you in their Snaps. Everyone’s armed to the teeth with a camera or an iPhone or both, and I instantly resented it. This wasn’t the Nyege Nyege I knew – a place you go to fold your manners and shove them under your tent and roam freely like a bird. A place you strip bare of your good etiquette and create lasting memories, away from the prodding eyes of Instagram and Reels and SnapChat and TikTok and X.
I saw a festival that’s completely starved of the good old art. A place that’s lost its initial soul. A place that’s completely swallowed by the gluttonous mouth of capitalism. I saw acres of mud, ear-splitting amplifiers, broiling heat, and epic marches from stage to stage. Hell, I even slid (in my white shirt), and firmly put my little derrière in mud. I lost my wallet along the way, after losing my patience. Thankfully, I retrieved it a day after (kudos to security folks).
I didn’t see much. Sadly.
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