Monday, May 22, 2017

Ndere Cultural Center

We had the opportunity to visit the Ndere Cultural Center and learn more about the cultural side of Uganda through music, dance, and song.  Throughout our time at the center, we first began with an private informational session to learn about the different instruments used within the culture then a live performance/dinner.  All of the instruments used throughout the show were similar to an instrument in the United States though the instruments from Uganda were mainly constructed from wood, string, and animal hide.  All of the students from MUBS and Drake had the opportunity to learn an instrument or how to dance within the Ugandan culture.  I personally had the opportunity to learn how to play the agwara which is similar to the trumpet and had a blast learning to play!  It was pretty difficult to play, but I had the opportunity to connect with students from the dance troupe that helped me learn!  This experience was one of a kind and personally enjoyed all of my time at the center.  From learning to play, to watching the performance, to being able to dance with the performers after the show was over, I felt surrounded by the Ugandan culture.  I would love to go again and I would highly recommend this experience to anyone that is planning on visiting Uganda!

Questions for Drake/MUBS students:
The Ndere Cultural Center recruits young prodigies into the company to become part of the program while promising an education through their work.  Through this work, it can create an area that is both educational to the students with the cultural aspect and the school aspect.  Would you consider this duel component to be beneficial to the sustainable aspect since it is helping educated people about the culture as well as educate kids or is it too restrictive on the selection process and that this is not creating a big enough impact to be considered sustainable?


Many of the dances performed were about love and how each different culture presented love from a man to a woman.  Through dance, a man and a woman would prove to be compatible and in love with each other.  However, now-a-days, people do not perform these rituals in order to profess their love to one another.  Why do you think they are still performing these dances when the culture has changed so much?  Due to the change in culture throughout the world and Uganda, what type of connection is there between culture and continuous development?

11 comments:

  1. Great post Paige! :) Referring to your first question, I think the work of the Ndere Cultural Center is sustainable because it instills passion of one's culture in the children while also providing them an education. Education is a key element to success and economic growth. This center is also sustainable because it promotes tourism and spreads awareness of Uganda and the variety of cultures found within the country.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Hannah Hansen on the first question. In the states, there are many restrictive programs for prodigies or for the arts. Although these programs are not inclusive, they sustain an environment that encourages arts. I think that this is similar to the Ndere Cultural Center, it is encouraging the cultural arts by providing an out let for prodigies while giving them education. For your second question, I think that culture and tradition high influence the norms of the day. Although people do not profess their love in the same way anymore, there are nearly some similarities between the values and meaning behind they way that one is professed now and the cultural way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm very intrigued by the fact that they offer an education to their performers. I think its a great idea that works well with sustainability because it educates students which is an important part of creating a sustainable society and it touches on the pillars of social inclusion and economic development. They include many different cultures to include all people in the country in their performances and it provides jobs for the dancers as well as generates tourist revenue for the economy. To answer your second question I think they still perform this dances of love because it is tradition and a way to stay rooted in their culture when the rest of society continues to change.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I totally agree with you Paige, this was a one of a kind experience and it was so much fun! As far as the first question goes, I do see how it doesn't really fulfill the social inclusion aspect of sustainable development, however, it does have a sort of inclusion aspect to it, in that everyone can either participate or watch and enjoy the music and dance. This brings me to the second question and how these types of places help to sustain the culture itself, even though it may not be practiced in day to day life anymore. I also agree with my previous peers in that this center opens up a whole industry of tourism that brings in so much money from other countries into Uganda which definitely helps the sustainable development of the country.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I totally loved this event, and it was one of my favorites this trip. Thanks for the great summary Paige! I think this troupe is doing a great job of providing great experiences of Ugandan culture to tourists. I think the education aspect is really cool and really beneficial for sustainability since it gives kids a chance to pursue both their passion and their education!

    ReplyDelete
  7. These are really interesting points Paige, also we did amazing at the agwara! I think that the program is an amazing way to preserve the culture of all the different areas as well as educate these kids for the future. It provides them the education with dance being their outlet and sense of stability. Sort of similar to kids in the United States that are recruited to play sports for different schools. It provides them an amazing opportunity with a sense of familiarity to express themselves!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for your post! This was definitely one of my favorite aspects of the trip. The work of the Ndere Cultural Center is truly amazing and I think it is incredible that they promote young individuals from all different villages of Uganda to collaborate and express their culture through music and dance. Referring to the dual aspect of this program, I would also agree that it is sustainable. Being able to integrate culture and school work is a way of expressing the importance of both, yet in an entertaining way for both the performers and the audience. While, I agree that there are programs in The United States for prodigies as well, I feel as though they are more restrictive and lack the freeing nature and spirit I saw at the Ndere Cultural Center. To answer your second question, I believe performing these dances connects the performers to their rich history. Although, they might not be performing these rituals to find love, maybe their grandparents or great-grandparents did and that forms a bond between the generations. Holding onto pieces of culture in a world that is constantly changing provides insight on what used to be, the progress that is currently being made and all the potential that is still to come.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post Paige! I completely agree that being at the Ndere Culture center was a once in a lifetime experience, and it was so much fun to get to learn and experience Ugandan culture from the people who express it the most. When it comes to sustainability, I would say that although the group itself lacks complete social inclusion because it is not available to everyone, the model that the group employs is sustainable because it ties in education, history, and culture, while being a business at the same time. When it comes to the romantic traditional dances, I would say that they are still performing these dances in appreciation and remembrance of the culture that generations before them hold on to so dearly. I think that this connection between culture and development illustrates that although practices may become less common with time, it is important to remember one's roots.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Awesome post, Paige! After speaking with some of the MUBS students, I learned that some of these cultural practices still take place today! This is especially true of some of the marriage proceedings, such as introducing the couple to the entire village. In the lens of sustainability, I would say that one of the major strengths of the group is social inclusion. Not only does Ndere Cultural Centre feature traditional dances from cultures all around the country, but it also ties them all together through dance and promotes unity. Ndere also contributes to economic development through its education program. School fees can be expensive, and knowledge is key to understanding. Even if their educational aspects don't include emphasis on many core subjects, the fact that they are promoting education makes this highly sustainable.

    In response to your second set of questions, I've heard from a few MUBS students that some of these cultural practices are still widely in place today. It seems that major urban areas such as Kampala and Entebbe are the places where these cultural backgrounds play less of a role in peoples' lives. I think they still perform these dances because they are an integral part of Ugandan culture and they promote the advancement of the fine arts industry in Uganda. Culture plays a key role in developing these industries and growing the local economy. In this way, cultural centers contribute not only to social inclusion, but to economic development as well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great reflection Paige! To answer your second question, I think the reason that these dances are still being performed is to pass down traditions in culture to newer generations. If these dances weren’t being performed future generations wouldn’t know the cultural aspects of their history and may not understand and appreciate it. Although these ritual dances are not performed as they used to be, many aspects of the Ugandan culture are present in today’s society.

    ReplyDelete