Kiwewa’yimba: Creative minds, dare to fail!
In my first column, I thought I was incisive and provocatively triggering dialogue and debate when I tackled the disturbances hindering the growth and development of art in Uganda. Not that I expected much in response, but at least I had expected some of the creative minds that our country hosts to snap their fingers and say: “Yeah, this is it! We need to move on and this is my contribution!”
By Faisal Kiwewa
How come? Well, I am not going to dwell on the fact that creative entrepreneurs in Uganda are confronted with multiple disturbances. Times to point fingers and blame others for these disturbances have long past. Funny enough, we still remain eager to blame others and continue to call for action without taking real action thereupon.
And yes, we might not have the necessary skills and professional education in the area of arts and cultural management, but I cannot help but notice that the main disturbance is a lacking ability amongst our creative entrepreneurs to really dare.
Daring creative entrepreneurs
If we are honest to ourselves, the gradual development of Uganda’s creative industry has come about because of the presence of some daring creative entrepreneurs: Those who understand that realising any idea or achieving any progress comes with risks and – at times – with failures. They have experimented, gone extra miles, sacrificed time, energy and financial resources to bring new cutting edge initiatives and increase artistic creativity.
I was once told it is better to have a worthy failure than a mediocre success.
And I concur with this to the fullest, because “flops” – as the journalist fraternity prefers to put it – are part and parcel of a later greater contribution to a much-needed progress and success. A failure is not the end of the tunnel, but offers a moment of reflection and a chance to go back to the drawing board to come up with new and better ideas. To start all over again, but this time heading for success.
Looking at experiments from a scientific research perspective, we have to note that some scientists spend their whole life failing. But no one questions the value of their work because those failures contribute to the much greater and longer path of eventual success. So, why do we not value artistic experimentalism the same way, as a valuable contribution to greater successes, to our country’s creative progress?
It is a sad fact that the number of daring creative entrepreneurs remains few.
More innovative ideas
There is little experimentalism; there are few innovative ideas. And many times, such innovative ideas are badly duplicated and multiplied, so that we again end up with more of the same. Most creative entrepreneurs seem to reside comfortably on their island of artistic happiness without even thinking about the greater implications that their work could actually have.
Where is the motivation, the interest, the idealism to contribute to develop the Ugandan creative industry into something unique, something outstanding and something that will be recognised throughout the world as something purely Ugandan?
I am aware that there is also a lot of talking of this kind, but there is little real action, rendering the talking into lip service. During many arts conferences in Uganda, East Africa and the continent I continue to hear that the development of the creative industry depends on the next interventions. However, they forget to add that we need daring interventions, those that bring about change, enhance our so badly needed resilience.
So I do dare to say; our creative entrepreneurs are not daring enough to leverage our great local arts and culture! It seems we are collectively missing out on a great opportunity.
This raises a pertinent question: How does one nurture adventure, ambition and guts amongst creative entrepreneurs?
Shake up the so-called establishment
I am not sure whether I can give you a clear-cut answer myself. I speak from experience that it requires guts to shake up the so-called establishment in our creative sector. And I have tried to make my own modest contribution to stimulate creative abilities to dare. This often comes down to seriously kicking some butts. Because it takes some good convincing to make creative minds make use of their capabilities and capacities, making them understand that there is no one to unlock their potential but themselves, getting them to the point to dare, more and again.
Fortunately, I have seen a good number taking on this call to dare. So that is the positive news: we need creative entrepreneurs that lead by example. But we need more of them.
Not to copy them and have more of the same, but to learn from and get inspired by them and develop own new ideas.
And creative entrepreneurs would not only set an example for their fellows; they would set an example for the economy and society at large, preaching the gospel of creativity for all our actions. We would then serve a much larger segment than just our modest arts and culture sector; we would serve our economy, our society and our people.
Despite all this lamenting, I am also convinced that it is not too late to use our rich cultural heritage and artistic minds to transform Uganda socially and economically. It can still be realized if we persist, mind our business, make use of the available creativity and, most importantly, dare to fail!
I am calling upon those that are blessed with creativity and creative minds to dare: To fail, to flop, to move further, in the interest of paving the way for a creative and prospering Uganda!
Faisal Kiwewa is the Founder and Director of Bayimba Cultural Foundation and current Chairperson of the organizing committee of the Uganda Annual Conference on Arts and Culture.
Now, startjournal.org would like to hear the readers’ opinions about the questions Faisal Kiwewa is addressing.