Culture concerns itself with socially transmitted behavior patterns, habits, knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs, institutions and all other products of human work and thought. It is a strong pillar of every human society, transmitted from one generation to another. It influences people’s views, values, humor, hopes, loyalties, norms and fears.
The growth and development of Uganda’s culture can be classified into four phases based on the social, economic and political actions. These have had fundamental ramification on the preservation, promotion and protection of the cultural heritage of the people of Uganda. The first phase is the precolonial experience of knit societies where the families and communities were the main transmitters and preservers of culture. The second phase being the colonial advent where colonialists introduced new socio-economic, political and religious ethos. The third is the post-colonial phase which came with increased creativity and collapse of the community centers. The last phase is the post modernity summarized as the industrialization of culture and acculturalization of industry.
With the restoration of traditional institutions in 1993, communities have started revitalizing especially ‘the fire place’ as the traditional informal means of educating communities and the young generation of the values, beliefs and taboos that held them together. Some communities have radio programmes to educate the young about their lineage and culture. Uganda emphasizes the development of a National Value system to change citizen’s mindsets, promotion of patriotism, and enhancement of national identity and nurturing of an appropriate ideological orientation. With 65 indigenous communities, Uganda’s diverse cultural heritage has emphasized the role of cultural and religious institutions in instilling and nurturing values, norms and behaviors towards a common goal of economic prosperity and community development.
According to UNESCO, 2010, world exports of creative goods and services reached $592 billion in 2008 with an annual growth rate of 14% during the period 2002 – 2008, while South to South trade of creative goods amounted to nearly $60 billion. From 2004 to 2008, Uganda’s exports of cultural goods and services were valued at US$239 million (approximately Ug.shs.427 billion). The Culture and creative industries contributed approximately US$6.7Million (approximately Ug.shs12.6 billion).
As a country, Culture and creative industries are duly focused on as one the pillar in the Country’s socio-economic development. The Government of Uganda therefore pledges through programs 13 and 15 (Community development and Mind-set change and Regional development respectively) of NDP III to invest in the Culture and creative industries until their contribution to the National Economy is visible and undisputable.