Circus Shows in the Alleys and Shacks of Kampala.
The space between audience and artist has been removed. The performers and public will be on the same level, eye-to-eye. Actors, dancers, jugglers, fire breathers, and acrobats will capture the audience’s emotions, as they provide a message focused on the rampant, unwanted pregnancies among young Ugandan girls and related school drop out.
Globally, Uganda is ranked first in fertility and has the world’s youngest population, with 52% of the Ugandan people under age 15. A Ugandan woman, on average, will have 5.8 children during her lifetime and more than 40% of them have no access to family planning services. These factors put pressure on government officials who are responsible for organizing health, education and other services for a fast-growing population. Recent demographic forecasts predict a troubling future for Uganda. The current population of 39 million is projected to reach over 100 million by 2050 (with 15 in Kampala alone!) This is an average annual increase of 2 million children that need food, as well as health and education. This rapid increase in population will leave millions of Ugandans without vital resources and increasingly trapped in unsustainable situations.
The female literacy rate in Uganda is 66%, while the male literacy rate is 79%. The reasons for this gap are varied, including early marriages (particularly in rural areas), and unsafe scenarios including sexual harassment in a way to class, a lack of private bathrooms in school, as well as money to buy sanitary pads resulting in absences. The rampant phenomenon of the “Sugar Daddy” also plays a part; unscrupulous adults prey on vulnerable girls, offering phone credit, clothes or money. These victimizations increase the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as others STDS. Additionally, when girls get pregnant, they are forced to withdraw from school, while the fathers of their children are permitted to continue.
HCU works with communities to try to stem these misfortunes and provide girls with the knowledge they need with a different and fun approach. The stages of this circus tour “OKUBEERA NE’MBELLA ENUNGI” have been the slum of Namuwongo, the district from which the HCU members come from. One afternoon a week for 20 weeks, the public had enjoyed varied circus performances, free of charge! In blazing costumes, stunts, human pyramids, juggling, clowns, spitfire and acrobatic dances as well as the story of Walia, a student forced to leave school for an unwanted pregnancy.
A 40-minute attractive show with a social and insured affection. The show aimed to further expand and enhance the educational message, and it gives a voice to Esther Nakajjigo, Ambassador for Ugandan Women and Girls. Esther is a 22-year-old student at Makerere University, who, in 2016, launched a campaign combating unwanted adolescent pregnancies, hoping to bring down the statistics from 25% to 13% with the production of a TV reality show entitled Saving The Innocence.
All of this was possible thanks to L’Orizzonte and to the extraordinary performer Laura Kibel, a world-renowned Feet Theatre artist who donated two of her shows to Hiccup Circus Uganda. The “OKUBEERA NE’MBELLA ENUNGI” tour had culminated with a final performance at City High School, one of Kampala’s largest secondary public school, bringing the total audience to over 10,000!
Sometimes even the things made with feet can make a big impact!