GOING!!!! The Uganda National Theatre

If the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) could seriously take the feedback it gets in the comments section, then it wouldn’t be publishing such stories.

Finally it has been confirmed the National Cultural Centre in Uganda, popularly known as the National Theatre, is to be demolished and replaced with a shopping mall, something that has attracted public outrage.
As soon as the news of the demolition of the iconic 60-year-old piano-shaped building landed in the ears of Ugandans, the public expressed disappointment with the decision taken by government. 

Ugandans react

Abu Tahir‏ @BadrMwanje; This is really outrageous. We are losing all history in the name of pseudo development. What happened to the Shimoni land?

#GraceWalker‏ @Eyexaque; Shimoni land, Nakawa, Naguru quarters all demolished for bigger buildings… 13 years later… Nothing!!!

Bren-Duh©™‏ @mac2tweety; Shimoni Land is near the National Theatre with a bush inhabited by an incomplete “Investment”.

Mulindwa‏ @mulindwa_i; Can’t that new building be built somewhere else? There is still more land around Kampala why demolish to replace? Destroy all national heritages and replace them with ugly glass and ceramics. Complete with shops selling Chinese shoes and Brazilian hair.

Gaspard Kayitare @GaspardKayitare; Sad. This place holds some good memories.

ft‏ @tufre80; National Theatre is worth a lot more than land where it sits. Civilised societies treasure their landmarks. Value of Europe’s famous places.

Ronald Sebuhinja K‏ @sebsronnie; Even Dubai with the most spectacular steel and glass towers maintains its key heritage architectural sites…

byron matovu‏ @ByronMaty; This is Uganda. Where decisions are made on short term forecasts and blind devotion to the $. These guys don’t care about heritage.

Meanwhile, tenants at the National Theatre have been given until the end of this month to vacate the premises and demolition is set to begin in a few weeks’ time.

According to the proposed plan, the facility is set to be transformed into a mega complex with a multi-million shopping mall, arcades, modern restaurants, bars, cinemas, state of the art auditoriums and a six underground car parking.

The news of the then impending demolition of the National Theatre came to light last year when the director of Theatre Factory, Philip Luswata-Kafuluma went public, saying that the theatre had been sold.

However, the claims were denied by the Theatre management and the minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Janat Mukwaya.

Asked by artists to produce land titles as assurance that no one has sold the land, Minister Mukwaya assured them that the current National Theatre building will not be demolished but renovated to accepted standards. But now it emerges the Theatre is to be demolished.

According to the plan, the mega project will cost $100 million (about Shs 360 billion). UNCC is expected to sign a contract with investors by next week. Currently, UNCC generates Shs 2 billion from the National Theatre in rent and projects to generate Shs 50 billion annually once the project is complete.

Established by an Act of Parliament of 1959, UNCC is a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. It is mandated to preserve, promote and popularise Uganda’s cultural heritage locally and internationally; to entertain and educate the public using theatre and film; and to enhance and safeguard the quality and standard of the arts in the country.

The national Theatre is among 51 buildings and sites in Kampala, that were constructed before 1969, reflecting Uganda’s socio-cultural, religious, political and economic history that have been identified by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) and its partners as an important step towards the preservation and promotion of these assets.