Breaking Uganda; Capturing Uganda’s Breakdance Revolution
This series of work aims to document the evolution of breakdance in Uganda. As the second most widely spread hip hop element in Uganda after rapping, breakdance plays a vital role in youth empowerment, gender equality and freedom of expression.
It was during my time at Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU) that I was first exposed to photography when I was handed a camera and told to shoot some pictures of people breakdancing. Since then I have been documenting the urban youth scene and hip hop culture that is rapidly spreading across the country’s communities. Having been a student and a teacher, practitioner and observer, I personally found a voice through breakdance and photography, the art form that has become my medium of expression and that I enjoy developing continuously.
The major advent of breakdance in Uganda came in 2006 with the birth of the hip-hop charity BPU, the brainchild of veteran hip hop artist, Abraham Tekya. Over time other organisations and events began to pop up all over the country to further broaden the reach of the breakdance culture in Uganda. These myriad platforms include Break-Fast Jam, a Ugandan hip-hop event whose overall imperative is to give a different dimension to the breaking culture in Africa. Break-Fast Jam sprang up in 2011 to enrich hiphop practitioners with an abundance of skills, knowledge, inspiration and experience on a non-partisan platform through competitions, workshops, performances and exhibitions. For four years it has been East Africa’s most outstanding breaking event featuring top breakers from across the region. Organisations and events like BPU and Break-Fast Jam have provided fertile ground for the art form to flourish and the scene to develop rapidly across the county.
My aim is to record and promote this growing culture in order for us to be able to trace its history. By translating the work of the practitioners in workshops, battles, schools, slums, rural areas and the city into images I use my voice to visually celebrate the positive living associated with this dance form and raise awareness of the impact that breakdance can have on people’s lives.
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© Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar 2015