In Summary

Performing artistes actually make some good money from weddings, traditional ceremonies and entertaining at corporate events. David S. Mukooza finds out how you can make a fortune from such a business.

Initially, people who took to dance especially cultural dances were regarded as failures in the academic world or even in the corporate job market .Many did not pay attention to the fact that cultural Music and dance is a talent and at some point, people can earn a living out of it. The improvement in the social life of Ugandans lately is one of the reasons this business has gained momentum among Ugandans especially the youth.

Cultural entertainment
According to Ms Harriet Najjuma, one of the directors of Afri Performers - a cultural performing troupe, this business is about dancing and singing cultural music. A troupe is in most cases expected to have the skills to perform almost all cultural dances in Uganda and others go an extra mile to perform those from other countries in the world.

Some of the most recognised dances are Nankasa, Bakisimba, Muwogola for the Baganda, Kitaguliro for Ankole, Kizino for the Bakiga, Mwaga or Imbalu dance for the Bagisu, Runyege-Ntogoro for the Banyoro and Batooro among others.
Troupes offer their service in packages according to what the client has asked for, the nature of event that they are going to entertain at the venue in terms of distance.

Ms Najjuma says the money they charge for performing at an introduction ceremony is different from that of a wedding. More so, an upcountry event will also be a little more expensive than the one in the central district. The troupe and the client enter into an agreement where the client pays money and then given a receipt. Most troupes work on advance payments and their workers (dancers) are mainly paid a wage for every event performed. However, a few troupes pay monthly.

What is required?
Starting this business, according to Ms Najjuma, requires not only the talent in music and dance but also passion for music.
“You must be very creative, able to compose and choreograph different dances because this will help you showcase different styles at different events and your audience will never get tired of you,” she explains.

Secondly, you should have creative dancers because it is a troupe and not a one man army. She adds that having a set of different instruments such as drums, xylophones and outstanding dance costumes is also an added advantage because this will help people differentiate you from the rest and attract more business.

Capital
A capital of Shs4 million can start a fairly good cultural troupe. This capital can help one purchase instruments, buy material and make some costumes.
Ms Najjuma says part of this money can also be used to publisicise your business through making fliers for people to know about your business and its potentials.

However, Ms Najjuma says this capital should be accompanied with the right skills in different dances and songs together with the ability to manage a business especially this one that deals with many people.
You should also be innovative to not only stand out of the many troupes but also attract and retain new customers.

Profitability
This businesses is very profitable because the level of investment is low compared to the returns. According to Yusuf Kaddu, the proprietor of Kika troupe, once one procures all the instruments and costumes, it takes you some time to procure others. Therefore, the returns that the business achieves are on zero investment.

He says, “Other factors held constant one can hit a profit of more than Shs15 million in a month if your troupe is popular and you have a high bargaining power.”
He also says some organisations are ready to spend on this kind of entertainment during corporate events and are slowly increasing the stake of the business.

Issues
Much as Najjuma says the business is not high-risk, it has many challenges. Some Ugandans are not proud of cultural entertainment, calling it local.
“Therefore, they will always down play advances or if only use it as a last resort,” Najjuma says. This mentality has greatly affected the business.
Najjuma adds that the business is infested with a lot of unprofessionalism stemming from the high levels of illiteracy and they sometimes slow down the business.
Good talent is also hard to train and retain in this highly competitive business as creative dancers keep hoping from one troupe to another.

Challenges
Much as Najjuma says the business is not high-risk, it has many challenges. Some Ugandans are not proud of cultural entertainment, calling it local.
“Therefore they will always down play advances or if only use it as a last resort,” Najjuma says. This mentality has greatly affected the business.

Najjuma adds that the business is infested with a lot of unprofessionalism stemming from the high levels of illiteracy and they sometimes slow down the business.
Good talent is also hard to make and keep in this business as creative dancers keep hoping troupes. “Therefore, it is hard to make and keep a good team,” Ms Najjuma says.