On December 11th, 2015, about 70 representatives from more than 50 secondary schools (mostly teachers, young people and their parents) in Uganda were joined by representatives of government, civil society, individual cultural heritage enthusiasts, media and well wishers to witness the heritage prize awarding ceremony for the youth at Ndere Center, Ntinda – Kampala, Uganda .
Young people both in and out of school participated in the National Annual Heritage Competition in 2015. The main goal of the competition is to enhance the appreciation of our heritage as Ugandans through the eyes and hands of young people. For the 2015 competition, young people below the age of 20 were asked to draw or paint objects or activities that are important in their local culture and explain why they are important. More than 350 entries were received. A panel of cultural heritage experts selected 14 of the best entries which have been used to design a national heritage calendar for the year 2016 – this was also launched on the same day.
The Guest of Honour, Sr. Dominic Dipio, (an Associate Professor of Literature, Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences), awarded the winners in the competition in recognition of their efforts to demonstrate their understanding of culture. The ceremony provided an opportunity for stakeholders to better understand how youth can meaningfully engage in appreciation of the nation’s heritage as a way of heritage preservation and promotion.
About 70% of Uganda’s population is below 25 years. It is a firm conviction that our cultural heritage: our customs, stories, poems, dances, songs, crafts, and sites should be preserved through the hands of young people, who do not only constitute the biggest percentage of our population but are also the future custodians of our heritage. Our nation’s moral compass is largely dependent on a heritage consciousness of young generation.
Story also published in The East African News Paper