Busoga Fails to Celebrate Own Culture in Crafts

4016 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
A walk through crafts and arts shops in Jinja district proves most of the crafts and arts are imported from Kenya and Tanzania or have been designed to show what foreign cultures have to offer. Arts and Crafts pieces do not display the unique cultural crafts and arts from the various regions of Uganda and Busoga in particular.

Indigenous culture is not getting enough attention when it comes to representation in arts and crafts in Busoga region. 
 
Arts and Crafts pieces displayed in various galleries and shops in Busoga region have not portrayed the unique cultural crafts and arts from the various regions of Uganda.
 
A walk through crafts and arts shops in Jinja district proves most of the crafts and arts are imported from Kenya and Tanzania or have been designed to show what foreign cultures have to offer.
 
On display in crafts shops and galleries are pieces that celebrate cultures like the Masai from Kenya. The pieces detail the day to day life Masai lived hundreds of years ago through the bracelets, clothing, spears and shields.
 
Yet Busoga region has its own crafts and arts like the bent knife, short spear, wide shield and unique spoons used for various things like drinking water and serving food. Yet none of these find their way into crafts made in Busoga or are on sale anywhere in Jinja.
 
Geofrey Zimori, a craftsman specializing in paper crafts, puts it down to a lack of skills and machines to make certain crafts are not easily available in Uganda.
 
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Zimori says paper arts and crafts design is cheaper to make than those made out of plastics, horns, skin and wood.
 
Innocent Mulimira works at the Art Gallery along Main Street says most of the crafts and art pieces designs are determined by the clients. The foreign culture crafts on sale are popular with tourists. Craftsmen therefore think to make a lot of money this is what they should be producing.
 
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Simon Kaita, Jinja Municipal Tourism Officer, argues that most people who trade in these arts and crafts goods are not trained in creating them. They can only buy what they find on the market and this has given room for foreign crafts and arts to dominate the market in regions like Busoga.
 
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Kaita says artisans and crafts men should design the wear, tools used in homes by the native Basoga in order to sell the culture from the region.