This year’s national heritage awards winners announced

The Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda(CCFU) has awarded seven individuals, families and organisations for their  contribution  to promoting, preserving, researching and safeguarding heritage in the country.

During the 5th national heritage awards ceremony held at Ham Mukasa historical residence in Lubaga on Thursday evening, the Ankole Diocese in Mbarara for establishing the East African revival museum, Hana Longole from Moroto for her lead role in establishment and management of Ateker cultural site and Makerere University of Health Sciences(preserving rare medical records at Albert Cook library) each won in the tangible heritage awards category.

In the intangible heritage awards category, the Francis Walakira family at Mpambire along Masaka road for making royal drums for over 70 years and passing on knowledge and skills to generations, Judith Kirya from Jinja(conserving and promoting indigenous herbal medicine) and Dr.Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare for promoting oral literature and traditional music as well as former NBS TV journalist Bismac Amumpaire won the heritage press award for consistently reporting on cultural heritage promotion .

Each of the seven winners walked home with shs2.5 million, an award and special recognition.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the CCFU Executive Director, Barbra Babweteera said the awards respond to the urgent need to preserve and promote Uganda’s rapidly vanishing cultural heritage.

“Before we started these awards, we were looking at the level of appreciation and morale in safeguarding Uganda’s heritage and it was a bit low. The attitude of many Ugandans has always been negative towards culture. We set out to think how best as an organization can promote heritage in Uganda.  We therefore organized these awards to recognize people who have played a crucial role in promoting and preserving culture,” Babweteera said.

She explained that the awards started in 2013 have seen over 21 people rewarded for their efforts in promotion and preservation of culture.

According to the CCFU Executive Director, the awards have motivated many other people to play crucial roles in their communities in regards promotion and preservation of cultural heritage.

“From the time we have interfaced and supported people to recognize their efforts, the little we have given them has enabled them build capacity to expand on whatever they were doing. The greatest impact has however been the encouragement and zeal to even do more than what they have been doing.”

Babweteera mentioned Ugandan traditional folk musician Annet Nandujja whom she said has used the support to buy more equipment for her group.

The EU Ambassador to Uganda, Jan Sadek underscored the role of cultural in promoting unity and cohesion.

“Cultural heritage is a shared source of remembrance, understanding, identity, dialogue, cohesion and creativity. Uganda has a rich cultural heritage and a legacy for those to come that needs to be preserved,” Sadek said.

He noted that the EU has for many years worked with the Ministry of Gender and Cross-Cultural Foundation among other stakeholders to support Ugandan culture and efforts to preserve it.

“The culture and creative sectors have a potential to contribute significantly to social and economic development as well as create livelihood opportunities for the many young people in the country.”

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