By Bamuturaki Musinguzi
Published November 5, 2014
A Photograph that captures the precarious nature of road transport in rural Uganda has won the overall prize at the 2014 Uganda Press Photo Award (UPPA).
‘I Do’, the image by Abu Mwesigwa that won in UPPA’s Daily Life prize category, was published in the country’s leading daily newspaper, New Vision, in 2013. It shows a newly-wed couple and their entourage all crammed into a Toyota Corolla after a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF)’s mass wedding reception at Katama Army Barracks in Masindi in western Uganda.
Seventy-two UPDF officers tied the knot with their partners during the mass ceremony on September 28, 2013.
Frederic Noy, a documentary photographer who was one of the five-member UPPA jury, says winner Mwesigwa “managed to be close to the action but in this picture he keeps a distance from his subjects. It is a very well composed picture and the flash light was well used. Whoever has lived in Uganda will agree that this picture tells a good story and as it tackles a subject that Ugandans deal with on a daily bass.”
The prize enabled Mwesigwa to return home with a certificate and a new Nikon D300s DSLR camera sponsored by the US Mission to Uganda ‘to enable him to continue his valuable work with the right tools for the job.’
The UPPA awards ceremony took place on October 15, 2014 in the framework of a photographic exhibition at Makerere Art Gallery of Makerere University’s Margaret Trowel School of Fine Art. The exhibition runs through November 8, 2014.
“It was a great surprise, indeed a great honour for me to have been declared the overall winner in the 2014 Uganda Press Photo Award competition,” an openly delighted Mwesigwa told ArtMatters.Info in Kampala. “This national recognition is a moment to cherish. It brings a photographer useful energy to continue to push his limits and to make his images better and better.”
Mwesigwa, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art with specialisation in Photography from Makerere University, works for New Vision Newspaper Group of Kampala.
‘Against the Mini-skirt’, a picture by Colleb Mugune that captures a mob attempting to undress a mini-skirt-wearing woman on the Mbarara-Masaka road on July 27, 2013 following a proposed law to ban miniskirts in Uganda, won the UPPA News Award prize.
Peter Tera won the UPPA Portrait award for his photo, ‘Bright on the Roof’ that, he explained was done for a budding gospel hip-hop artist called Rankie: “Rankie asked me to do a shoot for her promotional materials and I thought the view from the top of Buganda Road flats was great, especially with the sun setting and the old peeling paint and rusted rails captured in the photo.”
A picture showing a snake swallowing a lizard in Mabira Forest in Central Uganda won Matthias Mugisha UPPA’s Nature award.
Mugisha also picked the Creative award for his photo that shows a part Kampala city in the night. The picture was taken while two people walked along the railway line in Kampala with torches towards the camera during a long exposure.
Michael Nsubuga bagged the UPPA Sports award for his image showing Sports Club Victoria University’s Mathew Odong beating CS Don Bosco’s goalkeeper Mike Kabeya for the only goal of their first round second leg Africa Champions League match at Namboole Stadium in Kampala on February 16, 2014. Sports Club Victoria University won 1-0 but bowed out 1-3 on aggregate. CS Don Bosco is a Congolese football club based in Lubumbashi.
UPPA’s Story category was won by Edyegu Daniel Enwaku for his picture that captures a male rite of passage by circumcision among the Gisu (also known as Bamasaaba) community; the picture is Launch of the Imbalu Season.
A tradition stretching back to 1801, the imbalu draws Bamasaaba from Kenya (also known as Babukusu) and Uganda to the Mutoto Cultural Grounds in Mbale in eastern Uganda, to launch the event, and the cultural spectacle is also beginning to gain recognition as a tourist attraction.
Malcolm Webb, a correspondent for Al-Jazeera English TV who also doubles up as co-chair of Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Uganda (FCAU) which, in partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, US Mission in Uganda and Definition Africa, who is also a, said, “The Awards have grown from strength to strength each year. This year over 700 images were submitted, which is more than double what we received in 2013. Also the standard of the entries in 2014 is higher.”
“The Uganda Press Photo Award provides a unique platform that recognises the creative work of photojournalists in Uganda, something that was previously lacking,” Edward Echwalu, a photojournalist with Reuters and FCAU member, noted.
Established in 2012 by FCAU ‘to recognise the individuals who record the visual history of Uganda, working tirelessly and sometimes taking great risks so that the public can stay informed about what is happening’, the awards aim to promote the best of today’s photojournalism in Uganda as well as encouraging a new generation of photographers. UPPA also organises workshops and discussions, offering photographers opportunities for skills transfers and discussions.