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Title:More than just musical plays: intersections of politics and folklore in Byron Kawadwa's theatre
Author:Kasule, Sam
Periodical:African Performance Review
Geographic term:Uganda
About person:Byron Kawadwa (1937-1977)ISNI
Abstract:A lot has been written about Byron Kawadwa's work and its contribution towards developing and Ugandanizing the Kampala theatre scene and bringing into it a critical element. Kawadwa, born in 1937, a time when no formal theatre in the Western sense existed in Uganda, was a playwright, actor and director, and Artistic Director of the National Cultural Centre (1973-1997). Between 1969 and 1975, Kawadwa wrote and directed a number of plays based on Ugandan folkore, politics and social experiences. He was murdered by Idi Amin's State Research Bureau agents in 1977, a year marked by the largest celebration of African Arts in Lagos, Nigeria, where his play, Oluyimba lwa Wankoko (Song of Wankoko), represented Uganda. This paper explains why, since independence, Byron Kawadwa has been the most significant playwright in Ugandan theatre, and what makes his contribution distinct as both a playwright and director. It shows that Kawadwa created a theatre tradition rooted in indigenous performance but borrowing aspects from European theatre. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]