Jazz appreciation in Uganda straddles two audience divides; the purists and pretenders. The former are the kind that can tell Miles Davis from Earl Klugh while the latter are the kind that will tag along to a jazz event for the snob value that brings. The purists are most likely the lot that grew up with playing LPs as a family ritual complete with removing a giant black disc from its sleeve, delicately placing it on a circular revolving platform and placing a needle onto it to elicit the crackle of Davis’ trumpet. The pretenders are mostly the come-latelys for whom any saxophonist is by default a jazz artiste even when that musician is simply a fine instrumentalist. Their regular jazz fix is the measly hour-long weekly radio show installment where the purist would binge on at least a jazz CD a day.
Film festival organisers were on a collision course with the Zanzibari “thought police” after the island’s censorship board put restrictions on the screening of the Nollywood movie Mother of George. The edict was to either “black out” the film’s sex scenes or have the screening halted. Festival organisers cowered leaving a sour taste in the mouths of festivalgoers. Yet this is one of the better offerings from Nollywood if, like me, you have been put off by the low production values of much of the cinematic offerings from Nigeria; you know the Chineke-oh, melodramatic juju-plot-driven ones with derivative titles like Beyonce vs Rihana. Not so with the delightful Mother of George in which Adenike and Ayodele, a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn, are having trouble conceiving a child. The problem defies cultural expectations and leads Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save or destroy her family. Spoiler alert; she has sex with her brother-in-law if anything to keep the DNA in the family. It may be a no-no in modern times what with all the IVF alternatives around but it is the sort of subject that gets under people’s skins.