At a wedding in Jinja, entertainers were not the usual kind we are used to and that is why you couldn’t miss the young girl with a big smile twisting her waist in all directions with a big smile. I thought I was the only one enjoying her moves until people started dancing and giving her money. Mariam Namuganza made even the big people wiggle their waists. Rainbow Magazine caught up with the young talent who is not only a dancer and a director of a traditional dance group. Indeed, leadership comes from God and to Mariam, it came earlier than normal. Christine Nakalungi talked to Namuganza about her intriguing career.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Mariam Lucky Namuganza, I am 11 years old, studying in Primary Five pupil at Mother Mary Junior School, Iganga. I love singing and dancing.
When did you start singing and dancing?
I started dancing when I was four years old. My father started training me when he discovered that I am talented. And ever since, I have been dancing at parties.
Who is your trainer?
My dad, Mr Muwaya Asuman Kivumbi who lives in Mayuge District, is our group trainer.
What is the name of your dance group?
Motherland Dancing Group.
Which kind of dance do you do?
We are traditional dancers and dance Kiganda, Kisoga, Gisu dances among others. We are hired to dance at parties in and neighbouring countries.
How many members are in the group?
We are six members
What are their names? Namuganza and her team pose in their dance costumes. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA
Muteesi Shannina (17 years old)
Shakira (16 years old)
Joan (14 years old)
Sharifah (14 years old)
Birungi (15 years old)
Namuganza and her team pose in their dance costumes. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA
How did you come together to form the group?
When I started dancing, my father who is the manager of the group, went around recruiting children with the same talents and that’s how he came up with the members of the group.
How much do you charge per event?
Our charges differ according to the distance. If a party is far away from our home district of Mayuge, we might charge more than we would charge if the party did not involve costly transport fares. Our charges begin from Shs400,000 onwards.
What do you use the money for?
Most of the members in the group do not come from wealthy families. Whenever we perform, therefore, each member is given a certain percentage, which contributes to our school fees.
What inspired you to begin the group?
Apart from the fact that we are naturally talented, we want to inspire other children to use their talents for better use. Even if you do not have a job, you can use your talent to earn money.
What happens if you get a gig during school time?
We go to different schools and I am in boarding section. Whenever we have to perform. Our manager who is my father communicates to the head teachers who give us permission to go out and perform. We however do not do it during exam time. Luckily, most parties are over the weekend, so, it does not interrupt our studies.
Communication from the manager
I always tell these children that dancing is your talent and not your profession. This is to help them look at the bigger picture and other opportunities. Education comes first but for children who might not have school fees, we have to find a way of sustaining them. That is why dancing is also crucial to their education.
Name: Mariam Lucky Namuganza.
Class: Primary Five
Home dirstrict: Mayuge
Dance group: Motherland Dancing Group.