|Article by Ogova Ondego
Published November 6, 2007
Nairobi and Kampala will soon have new working space for artists and cultural people initiated by not the public but the private sector.
While Shan Cinema and House in Nairobi’s Ngara area will be renamed The Sarakasi Dome and Base, Kampala will have a brand new arts and culture centre following the acquisition of land on the scenic Buziga Hill.
The Ugandan development, according to Musarait Kashmiri, has been made possible by the donation of 1.8 acres of land by filmmaker Mira Nair and her husband, Mahmood Mamdani. The couple are also founders of the Kampala-based Maisha Film Lab, an annual training lab for filmmaking professionals from East Africa ( Uganda , Rwanda , Kenya , and Tanzania ) and South Asia ( India , Pakistan , Sri Lanka and Bangladesh ) founded in 2004.
After acquiring Shan Cinema and House in late 2006, Sarakasi Trust say they have
When ready, The Sarakasi Dome and Base will host among other things, “A state of the art performance venue with all the necessary facilities, properly equipped training space for artists, exhibition space, a resource Centre, and the Trustï¿½s Offices,” a Press Statement from Sarakasi says.
The Base, on the other hand, will house “Ghetto Radio Station, a properly equipped dance studio, The Sarakasi Store, internet cafÃ©, and a catering facility.”
The Sarakasi Dome and Base should be ready for occupation by early 2008, Sarakasi says, adding that “The East African cultural scene is due for a major boost with the completion of both buildings as they will come with unrivalled accessible facilities for artistes. The Dome and Base will not only provide them with much needed space to further their art, they will also provide an art friendly atmosphere for development and exchange.”
Sarakasi Trust is a performing arts organisation founded in 2001 and assisting mainly acrobats, dancers and musicians in developing their skills. It is mainly known for taking performers to Festival Mundial in The Netherlands. It also hosts an annual music festival in Nairobi dubbed Sawa Sawa.
In Uganda, “The Maisha Arts and Cultural Centre will include as its centerpiece an outdoor, natural- stone constructed amphitheatre, to serve as a performance venue for theatrical and musical productions. This state-of-the art facility will incorporate additional space and resources including gallery space, a full-featured library, smaller auditoriums for musical performance, rehearsal halls, art workshop areas and several modern computer labs, as well as a bountiful local garden,” Kashmiri says.
All facilities, Kashmiri says, will be open to the public, with seasonal artists-in-residence and educational staff on-site to promote maximum community involvement.