BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
MADI-OKOLLO: MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2022
Under a fervent atmosphere, young children dressed in bright costumes of Uganda flag colors and spotting noisy metallic anklets danced through the cheering crowds.
Other lads, going more traditional, strutted bare chest only tying leaves to cover their privet parts in dramatic scenes depicting their ancestors’ deed known to them in folk tales.
Women putting on beaded necklaces and bulky men painted with white stuff, put on birds’ feather headdresses, wild animal skins and swung bows, arrows, spears and other implements of tradition in a vigorous dance.
On the sidelines, craftsmen and women displayed amazing talent inform of clay pots, decorated calabashes and wood carvings depicting celebrated wildlife like white rhinos.
It was Madi cultural gala at full throttle, sparking optimism and hope among the aging generation that the Madi culture with all its diverse richness is on the way to revival.
“This is rising and shinning of our culture,” Joan Okia, the woman Member of Parliament proclaimed during the fete at the Madi-Okollo district headquarters at the weekend.
“We need to promote good cultures like dance and songs. We need to bring back our culture where men and women have their roles in the rightful place,” added the legislator who asserted that culture can be seen in different ways including economic activity and social way of life.
She said the Madi people have been known for raring goats and fishing due to the proximity to river Nile.
“Now that the government is coming with the Parish Development Model, let us use it to perfect what we already know,” she advised.
The parish development model (PDM) is the latest initiative by the government aimed at accelerating the shift to money economy of the 38% of Uganda’s population still stuck in subsistence economy by providing capital to organized groups at parishes.
Okia told the people to use the PDM funds to develop cage fishing, pond fish farming, honey, and commercial goat keeping and generally embrace commercial agriculture,” she rallied the people.
Meanwhile Ronald Afridra, the MP for Lower Madi-Okollo constituency said the cultural revival efforts also point to the need to restore the Madi Chiefdom that met its decline with the demise of legendary Chief Ajai after whom the Ajai wildlife reserve is named.
It was the first time a Madi cultural gala was held since the area was granted a district status two years ago.
Knight Zahara, the district tourism officer said the purpose of the gala was to present a platform for celebration of cultural heritage and showcase untapped opportunities for cultural tourism.
She commended the German development agency, GIZ and the European Union for financially supporting the organization of the event and also brought the local community and refugees to bond together.