By Alex Roberts
Tucked back on a busy road, just out of earshot of the Bukoto, Kampala din, B.SoUG sits nestled back in a compound, a small oasis for arts. It is becoming a hub for creatives in Kampala, who flock to it’s Kitenge draped confines to meet the likeminded and put in some work over pitchers of pressed coffee.
Inside, someone is always striking some sort of spark- in a side room next to the knitting projects a guitar lesson is being given, outside at a table, several masked people are intensely dissecting a short story in a creative writing workshop. There’s always some mixed up playlist of neo-soul or Afrohouse wafting in the background as the outdoor kitchen is churning out some of the best dishes on this side of Kampala.
Conversations crackle over hibiscus iced-tea and bowls of house special pumpkin soup. As evening descends down over Kampala, bottles of dry-red find their way to the table and candles are lit, flickering off the kitenge draped decor that hits the eye as a bomb of colour. Ideas flow freely within this little courtyard in Bukoto, and the space simply wouldn’t work if such freedom of thought was treated as a half measure.
As the founder Beatrice Tusiime says, “I want to feel that inspiration that Ugandans can own something at that level, to feel that we are so Ugandan but we can and help to inspire youth to just go ahead and start. How you start is up to you.”
As Uganda has begun to shift more focus towards the creative industry within recent years, B.SoUg has managed to ride the wave forwards and carved its own place within the niche. Now, perhaps more than any other city in East Africa, Kampala could surface as the destination for creatives, as artists are still finding their feet to venture into experimentation. In years to come, after the specter of the pandemic has faded back into a weird memory, B.SoUg will maintain its status as one of the few places that truly held it down for artists during this mad time.
Tusiime continues, “All of this is connected to creative space, they just felt as though they needed to feel as they own it. They needed to feel it is ours, and they need to protect it.”
In B.SoUg it will be- over pots of dawa tea and platters of shin of beef stew, put out with flair all the way down to the spoons. Within these outdoor glass-bottle kitted walls the conversation continues.