Saturday September 4 2010

NTV Akawungezi, brilliant


I doubt whether anyone relies on TV evening newscasts as their main source of news. At best they are a digest of news that has already been read on radio, will be covered in greater detail in the papers the next day, or is not necessary at all. You could miss it and miss nothing. Fine, there's always a feature or special report, but that's only useful if its informative and unique. Unfortunately that's usually not the case.

NTV Akawungezi, the news in Luganda at 7 p.m. daily on NTV, is an exception. Since it's meant for a Luganda-speaking and, I'll assume, moderately educated audience, the stories are usually of a tabloid nature; lynchings, accidents, fights and the like. What makes it exceptional is the presentation.

The stories grip because the vocabulary used to tell them is idiomatic, rich in proverbs and sayings that usually blend in with the content such that non-native speakers of Luganda are not lost. The conversational style is engaging and suits the language. Plus, it's free of the artificial air and incoherence of Luganda news on other stations where the anchors stumble over their words or muffle them.

The best part of the broadcast is usually the special reports, which excel in both content and reporting. I've been enlightened about Buganda cultural practices and sites in a way that's informative and intriguing and has never once veered to the parochial. Unlike the news in English, NTV Tonight, the reporting is relevant, spare, free of un-necessary personal opinions, and the interview of “experts” is usually warranted and relevant.

It's always one newsreader; the affable Frank Walusimbi, Hatima Nalugwa Ssekaaya or Faridah Nakazibwe, leaving the awkwardness and exhausting switching imposed by employing two newsreaders over a 30 minute segment as a preserve of the 9 o'clock news. If you decide to watch news, and understand Luganda, NTV Akawungezi's simplicity, beautiful language and illuminating reports will on most occasions keep you entertained and informed.