‘From War Cacophonies to Rhythms of Peace’: Popular Cultural Music in Post- 1986 Uganda

  • R Ssewakiryanga
  • J Isabirye


The materials being collected for the Popular Culture Archives at the Centre for Basic Research in Kampala are the point of departure for this paper. It focuses on the development of popular music genres in Uganda since 1986, places this in the context of political history since independence, and discusses the particular configuration of popular culture in Uganda. Popular music and song have been used, since the days of Idi Amin, both to celebrate the political establishment and to criticize and debate it. Popular performance and audiences have played an important role in the development of a national public sphere in Uganda, and popular song has been a forum for debating violence and everyday politics. This forum has been especially important as far as gender, family and generational conflict is concerned, and has been boosted by the proliferation since the early 1990s of new media and FM radio stations in particular. The setting up of an archive to document these developments will be an important stimulus for future public debate.

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eISSN: 2159-9130
print ISSN: 1013-929X