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Wabwire Wa’ Waheirire; Connecting Youth through creative arts and dialogue

In a world where young people are taking the center stage of the change we all hope to see, we are yet to meet many more youth doing things in a bid to empower other youth. Wabwire Wa’ Waheirire , a student of Bachelor of Laws is one of these youth taking Uganda to a whole new future designed and crafted to better suit the Ugandan Youth.

Wabwire at the Earth Hour Event.

Wabwire is the Founder of Youth-Connect Uganda a social enterprise aiming at bringing young people together through creative arts, curated monthly dialogues, and whatnot.

We had a small chat with him;

Wabwire, tell us more about yourself, preferably something we don’t already know?

I’d really describe myself as a person with a versatile skill-set, a lot of integrity and a willingness to go the extra mile to serve young people in my generation especially those that are still finding and figuring out their belonging in this razzmatazz and jigsaw of life. Maybe, to add on that- I’m pragmatic and never cease until I’m proud I have achieved it.

What does the name Wabwire Wa’ Waheirire mean?

My name in Samia means “ his father’s son”.

Your name is quite intriguing, first of all you have no English name. Why do you think your parents made this choice of rhyming names?

I have English names bestowed unto me by my parents that I deliberately divorced embracing the rhythmical one you observed. I’m in the process of finalizing with my poll-deed (legal requirement to change a name). My parents, unfortunately (I think) are still impressed by English names.  To me, they do not define me notwithstanding the subtle adage-“I define a name, a name does not!” For me, an English name doesn’t give me meaning. The name I chose gives me meaning, attaches me not to my colonial history but to my ancestral history, it gives me unique identity and hence the reason why I attach much importance to a name.

The Youth Meat Up

Tell us more about Youth Connect Uganda.

I started Youth Connect-Uganda a Social-Enterprise in 2014 whilst still in High-School. However, active engagement started in 2015. My major aim was to try to create a safe space and environment for aspiring young change makers, creative artists and social activists to mutually and civilly discuss, formulate the way forward and how they can help each other to disrupt and make or create the societies, communities and world they want.

This has been achieved with some of the curated events we have hosted including December-Youth Camp, monthly panel discussions on issues that have been trending or prevailing, informal  but formal Youth meet & meat-ups especially with the creative artists like poets, musicians, dancers, photographers, fine artists among others. Our engagement has seen over 400 youth this year benefit from our activity log.

We also recently launched our volunteer Youth-Hub from where we can make a follow up of our participants and also have them, in exclusive free attendance and engagements  to our events and workshops.

A safe space for mutual and civil dialogue??? Why choose this of all topics and avenues like debates?

You will realize that in as much as the spaces are available, most of the spaces do not blend with the reality of the contemporary ideal youth. Ours is a free space where each one of us is their own expert basing on their experiences and stories. So we acknowledge that and create that platform opportunity for free expression without censor for as long as it is civil, mutual and necessary.

Dancing at a recent Youth Meat Up in Kampala.

Where shall we see Youth Connect-Uganda a few years to come?

My dream is to see many youth that have subscribed to it disrupting the status quo and creating the Communities, Societies and world they want with the knowledge acquired while at the Hub. In future, we plan to partner with other youth-related institutions to have a  have a large structure for young people to engage freely and express themselves i ways they can for as long as the expression is positive and can help put a brick to the betterment of this our society.

What new additions are you planning to fix onto the Youth Meat Up?

A dialogue space for photographers, fine-art enthusiasts. Exhibitions of young people’s creative works. And maybe a Start-up pitch hub.

We get that you chose to call it Youth ‘Meat Up’ because it’s a space for creatives but still, enlighten us?

The Youth ‘Meat-Up’ is just the name given to this creative artists project. “Meat” sounds like “meet” so, here young people get to meet up and with roasted meat as a refreshment get to take themselves to a tail of discovery, knowledge and experience sharing and networking.

If I am a young Poet, say just out of high school, can I be given a chance at the Youth Meat Up?

Absolutely, why not? All creatives of any age having talent in Poetry, Music, Dance, Photography, Fine Art, Graphics, Comedy, Drama, are welcome at our Monthly Meat-Ups.

What is your final message to the youth waiting to strike blue collar jobs and whatnot?

Blue collar-job, in as much as our societal construct has limited them to be for those in the inferior class are the way to go and in sync with our demands and systems. Tomorrow’s change makers and successful individuals will be those who embraced the practical things, those that created something with their hand dexterity. The tragedy is, we have idolized white-collar jobs at the expense of blue-collar jobs.

 To follow more of his work and to attend a Youth Meat Up, like Youth Connect Uganda on Facebook.

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