Apparently, there is more to Alliance Francaise and Goethe-Zentrum Kampala sharing office space than just a cost-cutting marriage of (rent) convenience. The gesture is deeply rooted in burying the hatchet and synergising by way of a collective Euro-cultural agenda. The historical rivalry between France and Germany is well documented and both Ambassadors resident in Uganda beat themselves up over the silly carnage from the wars between the two had caused in the past. That said, there’s no missing the much-appreciated cultural activity these two push together even with their flagship assignment to increase the number of French and German speakers across the globe. Of course the competitive edge one gets from having an additional “international” language in the global employment space cannot be overemphasised.
Both cultural institutions have won are at the forefront of creating a series of monthly activities to keep Kampala culture vultures busy. So it was to this that guests at the opening of their new space on Bukoto Street in the Kisementi neighbourhood on were toasting last month. The biggest advantage this location has over Mackinnon Road is the optimal use of space. There will be no sitting under tents UPE scenarios like it was in Nakasero. There are as many classrooms as there are conveniences to ensure no one is queuing up to use the loo.
But more importantly are the available arts spaces. The rooftop is convenient for starry night performances and even with grey weather, a tent ensures patrons are not dripping wet. The conference room is ideal for more intimate indoor showcases be they film screenings or talks on anything artsy. The basement is ideal for more discrete events even the cars will not mind making way for. The boon though is yet another addition to the Kamwokyaarea which should be designated a cultural precinct a la Newtown in Johannesburg but only if KCCA knew better. The clustering of Alliance Francaise, Goethe-Zentrum, Bayimba HQ, The Hub, Afri-Art Gallery and Femrite in the same radius is most definitely a good thing for the arts.
Text: MOSES SERUGO