Festivals – A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | The Events Kahuna

Nairobi Underground Festivals - A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | The Events Kahuna

From Thursday 6th September to Sunday 9th September 2018, festival revelers thronged Nile Discovery Beach in Jinja to experience the MTN Nyege Nyege music festival which ended on a major high. The Events Kahuna makes his consecutive third return and brings the highs and lows of the 2018 MTN Nyege Nyege Festival.

Nairobi Underground Festivals - A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | The Events Kahuna

The writer, Embukane Vincent Libosso at MTN Nyege Nyege Festival Day Two- The Events Kahuna / Photo Credits Tweny Moments

Jinja has always been a peculiar town that never seems to threaten to wear off. Nyege Nyege (the phrase means “the irresistible urge to dance” in the local Luganda language, and something a bit ruder in Swahili) this year with MTN Uganda unveiled a three year sponsorship deal to support the promotion of East Africa’s largest music festival, promising to grow it from strength to strength.

From Jinja town it was a ten-minute boda-boda ride to the festival site, the Nile Discovery Beach Resort (the only spot you can see two bridges and two dams at a go), a holiday resort that was built but never opened. The maze like hotel, completely covered in plant life of all kinds that it possible for you to lose your sense of direction and finding it again, has become home for the festival attendees and those camping, this year round, off the main site.

The space by far became a breeding ground for culture, innovation (the first cashless festival through MomoPay), music and the perfect marriage of different backgrounds. The different stages—good for anyone on an African music crash-course offered bliss. We used our own self-created Whatsapp group to alert each other on which stage the heat was. Friday night and when Orchestre Les Mangelepa rumbled on the main stage, rocking orange Ankara suits, and the night was well lit.

Some other main-stage highlights came from the eternal disco stage where Boiler Room was live streaming was a massive highlight. The stage layout and design with steep climbs on two sides making for a cocoon-like atmosphere and bamboo pillars on the deejay booth made this an incessant return venue for us.

At the camp, we sun bathed at the banks of the Nile when it got hot during the day, slept on the hammock and chattered like birds, but when the music came on, our legs would supernaturally find the strength to carry us on and we danced like tomorrow will never come. In between sets, we found ourselves at the numerous Rolex vendor spots.

Nairobi Underground Festivals - A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | The Events Kahuna

The Bell Jamz and MTN Tidal/Pulse stages offered a dose of pop music for many. The Spirit of Uganda stage was a perfect crash course class into the vast culture of Uganda people—their dances, their music and instruments. Picking up from the Boiler Room x Ballantine’s experience first time in Nairobi and Jo’burg, Boiler Room teamed up with Nyege Nyege, featuring some of the most exciting experimental, leftfield, traditional and dance music from East, Central and South Africa.

Mornings were spent touring the Jinja town occasionally visiting the Central Market for Katogo-byenda for breakfast. Katogo a dish where a staple is cooked in the same pot with a sauce, is popular in all regions of Uganda. The staple is usually matooke, Irish potatoes, cassava or sweet potatoes, while the sauce meat or vegetables – beans, peas, groundnuts or greens.

Time stretched and snapped but we found time alongside some Uganda friends to drive to Namwojjolo, a small town on your way to Kampala famous for their barbecued chickens served on sticks and Gonja—the infamous, tasty and steamed plantain.

Nairobi Underground Festivals - A Visitor’s Weekend at MTN Nyege Nyege 2018 | The Events Kahuna

We got to experience Safe Boda in Kampala, an Uber app for Motorcycles. Motorcycles taxis, commonly known as boda-bodas, are one of the most used transportation services in Uganda. We traveled back to Jinja aboard the blue stripped white taxi (their version of matatu) through the Mabira Forest Conservancy and Najjembe market on the busy Jinja-Kampala highway. Having delighted in the irrepressible excitement of my trip to Uganda, not even the ongoing call to ban the festival would lower our spirits.

Our festival thirst quenched, Monday night we returned to the intense rhythm of Nairobi.

Photo credits: Tweny Moments