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Concerts at 13 Kitante Road

My niece Michelle challenged me about our poems and prose always being about the sad moments, and while I believe the saying that our sweetest songs often tell of our saddest moments, I also want to remember the fun and laughter.  When I was growing up, in the late 60s we often performed little concerts for Aunts and Uncles, with cousins – for the fun of it, and to get some pocket-money… here is a little vignette:


Adults upright on

Dinning room chairs.

The side of the staircase forms

A dark wooden backdrop

to the stage.


The first number

An Indian song that

Norah taught.


‘Mwogowali mali mali

Mwogowali maaaali

Eeeeva pali, teeeva pali

Chakara, chakara

Shugari shari’


Voices singing

Foreign incomprehensible words

That were probably incorrect

Hand and leg movements


Faces beaming with pride!


Next – Joyce’s song

Choir in place …  and …

‘Sikwendera, sikwendera

sipiriti, sipiriti, sikwendera, sikwendera

oh sipiriti!

Oh, oh, oh sipiriti …’


The parents clap their hands

the performers smile with glee

And hurry on…


Finally the ‘piece de resistance’ – the ‘bakisimba’ dance!

The white enamel basin

Now a drum, throbbing ..

‘Olunkutiza, olunkutiza

olunkutiz’olukutwala mu



Dancers line up –

Sweaters on hips – all ready

The singers start…

‘Twe yanze twe yanze

Waalalala kabweteme mu mwonger’ekyupa



Dancers march in, kneel down, pay their respects

And then …. they start,

Hips seem to swivel

Twisting and turning to the beat

Of the drums

Feet stepping forward gently

Singers clap and ululate!

The climax

The audience and performers are one!


Tu tu tu!

Tu tu,tu tu

Tuku tuku tuku tuku tu



Concert over,

The hat full of coins

We sit and share

Our spoils!

About Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa

I am a facilitator, coach and storyteller/storyfacilitator, and use story, song, art and dialogue to facilitate change and development in individuals and organisations. Over the years I have become aware of how I have used stories to make sense of my life - and of the ways in which we all use story, consciously and unconsciously. Stories - myths, folktales and personal stories - are used to teach, to bind, to questions, to hold ambiguities, to explore, to hold up a different picture, to bring together and also to hold back, to suppress, divide and destroy. With this understanding I have built story into my work. I use it to make conscious the stories people and organisations tell themselves that either support or hinder their growth. I use them as an opening, an invitation to begin to speak about the difficult things - to name 'the elephant' in the room. I use them as an invitation to people to dream of possibilities - and I also teach people to tell and to listen to stories because without a listener there is no story. I was born in Uganda and lived there until I was in my early teens. Since then have lived in various parts of East and Southern Africa - and have been involved in development work in Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and the UK. I have also coached clients in South Africa, Namibia, the UK, Belgium, Israel and USA.

4 responses »

  1. Ann Bigirwenkya

    Keep up the good work Pippa!

  2. I remember you playing the piano at 13 Kitante!
    Singing “Day by day, Day by day, Oh dear Lord three things I pray…”
    That moment framed forever in my mind…
    Daddy’s face watching you with a smile,
    The sun streaming in behind you,
    The music of the piano, your voice…
    My silent admiration of your obvious talent…
    To this day that song moves me!
    Takes me back to that moment on a sunny afternoon.

    • Thanks Nabunya – You have warmed my heart on this cold, rainy, actually freezing cape town afternoon. You must be remembering no 5 Sezibwa Rd, opposite Nakasero, coz we moved out of Kitante Rd in 1971! In those days we used to do concerts with the Kabanyolo group and the Bigirwenkyas – and Joyce, Kitongo’s big sis who lived with us.

      The time I was singing Day by Day – that was when Nina, Liz, Lorna and I – and a few others were trying to produce the musical Godspell – except that we did not have a clue how to do it, and we could not get a complete cast together, so we let it go…! I still love that song,

  3. Cheeeeeeiii I remember that Godspell season. We didn’t finish it but we had fun while we tried 🙂


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