Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Uganda Friday: Jason the Poet.

by Darlyne Komukama

This week our 'Our Uganda Friday' blog post is a little different and a lot awesome! Now, we at Awava, have been going on for some time about the resurgence of the Spoken Word movement here, in Kampala, and we have told you about some of the events where you can see for yourself the talent displayed by these wonderful poets but today ... Today we have invited one of those poets, one of our favourites, to dazzle you on the blog itself.

Jason has been writing poetry for a very long time and when he met two other guys with the same passion as him, they started the Lantern Meet of Poets which just had its 4th successful annual recital at the National Theatre. (You may remember us telling you about it.) Jason is a regular on the Spoken Word circuit and is a firm crowd favourite at events like Poetry in Session, using his words to call forth emotions in his audience raging from joy to sorrow, inspiring people to agree with him to dub him a dissident but always getting a reaction from the crowd.

The poem featured here is one of the best received ones by the audiences. Here is Jason with 'She Cries.'

We, at Awava, continue to support locally grown talent and will feature one of Uganda's poets, once every month, in different mediums; video, audio and text. (Also, we are very excited about Linkthis, can you tell?)

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Sundress Prints! New Prints!

We just received 50 new kanga prints that are going to be turned into Sun Dresses very soon and we are super excited about them. These prints were purchased from Zanzibar, which must have the best collection of Kangas but you will come to that conclusion yourself once you look through these beautiful new prints.

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Our Uganda Friday: My Two Cents on Qwela

by Kate von Achen

I hate to say this, but coming from a musical family and having a deep love for “World Music”, or more specifically music from, or influenced by Mexico and Latin America, West Africa, South Africa, and a significant portion of Europe (East and West), upon visiting East Africa, falling in love with Uganda, and subsequently moving here, I have (and again I’m sorry) frequently felt that I came to the wrong side of the continent musically. This is not to say that the music in Uganda is bad or that there are no talented musicians here. There most certainly are! But it has been work to come across many that are genuinely, holistically, well, music to my ears. And I can’t lie, many times when I hear a song and decide I love it, I find out it’s some new West African or Congolese song, which makes me feel guilty in a way.

That said, there are some amazing musicians that truly stand out to me and my apparent pickiness. We have highlighted some on the Awava blog before (Maurice Kirya), but I do not believe we have adequately covered Qwela.

I have seen Qwela perform here in Uganda countless times. I’ve seen them for free at Emin Pasha Hotel, The Lawns Restaurant and Katch the Sun, and I’ve paid top dollar to see them open for Salif Keita at Serena Hotel. Each time I have loved them and yearned to see more.

This past Tuesday I went to see them at one of their weekly gigs at Katch the Sun and something was different. I don’t know if my ADD took a hiatus or if there had been just the right amount of wine in my system (not too little, not too much), or if it was the brief interlude to wait for the rain to stop or what, but they were even more remarkable than usual. I realized that this band is not only talented, they’re magnificent! So many of their songs have such schizophrenic tempos and not a single member, from conga drums to guitar, keyboard, or vocalists (who also dance) missed a beat, were I was missing many (which is abnormal for me). They perform such technically difficult songs with beauty and ease.

If you are in Kampala and have somehow never seen this band perform, the time is now! Actually, tonight! Qwela plays for FREE every Friday night at Emin Pasha Hotel in Nakasero and every Tuesday night, again for FREE at Katch the Sun in Bugolobi. I would carry a bit of extra cash because they do have some pretty cool t-shirts and amazing CDs to sell!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Our Uganda Friday: Even more poetry but this time, it's huge!

by Darlyne Komukama

We, here at Awava, have been on a sort of poetry binge explaining all the poetry/spoken word blog posts and we are not close to letting up either, especially not when the poets in Kampala have organised an evening of poetry as large as the Lantern Meet of Poets annual recital.

The Lantern Meet of Poets is an organisation of poets that was started by 3 young Ugandan men who felt many of their ilk needed a place to go to express themselves, receive critiques and hopefully hear some good Uganda poetry.

The recital, which is taking place on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th June at 5.30pm at the National Theatre, will be the 4th such recital for the Lantern Meet. I have been fortunate enough to attend 2 previous such events and somehow that word seems inadequate. The recitals are not just person after person reciting their poems but rather a world on the stage that immerses the viewer. Expect props, costumes, music and a plot.

The shows will be the same on both days so if you can't catch Friday's show, don't miss Saturday's. The entrance fee is only UGX10,000 and totally worth it.

See you there and enjoy your weekend.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Our May Gulu Visit & Farewell to Hanna Schwing!

Awava's monthly May visit to Gulu (sorry for the delay in this posting) was a bit different than others as this was Hanna Schwing's last trip before departing Uganda to get ready for graduate school. Hanna has been working with Awava in Uganda for the last two years and has played a major roll in helping us to expand to the place we are today. A million thanks to everything she has done so far and we're ready to keep her working abroad!

Below are a few photos from the trip. We got to welcome Joyce, the newest Awava tailor, on board (more information on her coming soon) as well as have a party with the infamous Awava burrito (chapati with Nutela and banana). Thank you speeches and gifts were given and needless to say, there were some seriously watery eyes.

After the party Lucy and Hanna traveled out to Esther's home as she is too pregnant to come to work! We're expecting the good news any day now!

Awava @ LaBa Street Art Festival!

Awava had an amazingly successful day this past Saturday (not to mention tons of fun) at the 5th Annual LaBa Street Art Festival in Kampala, Uganda. Thanks so much to everyone who was able to make it out for the festivities and a million thanks to the Ugandan German Cultural Society for organizing such a fantastic day and night!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Awava Monthly Giveaway May Winner!

...And we have a winner!

This morning, we drew the name of winner of the Awava May Giveaway out of a beautiful Awava basket.

Here you see all the names written out waiting to be drawn.

And here are the names all folded up in the basket ready to be drawn.

And here is the video announcing the winner!

Congratulations to our Facebook friend Kaza Rubaire.

Remember, the June Giveaway is one of our beautiful gomesi sun dresses so mention us on Facebook, tweet @Awava on Twitter or mention us in your blog and stand a chance to win this one. Be sure to make sure it posts to our wall when you tag us so we don't miss your mentions!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


The month of May has come to a close and we have compiled a list of all of the shout outs you all have given to Awava on various social media platforms! Before we draw the winner of our beautiful, fairly traded Kibegabega Shoulder Bag on June 3rd, please take a look at the list and make sure that we have you listed and have accounted for each media platform you mentioned us on! If you notice that your name is missing from the list OR that you mentioned us on more platforms than we have listed, please email Remember, for each platform you mention Awava on, you get entered 1 (one) time! And don't forget to keep mentioning us for the June Giveaway!

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FREE PRODUCT! Awava's June Giveaway!