Still under construction… but ready to rock’n’roll!
Toonda Cultural Community Center
Toonda (from Swahili “to create”) offers local people the opportunity to meet, to try out, to exchange art and culture in the rural environment of Western Uganda. It is a place for an open exchange of ideas, for creative processes and cooperation between people of different cultures. Art and theater can have a positive influence on the self-confidence of everyone, but especially of young people, and promote other approaches to problem-solving. In this sense, the Cultural Community Centre is meant to offer a complement to the standard Ugandan school system. Toonda is a place for all age groups, independent of education, a place where different local groups can meet or where new groups can emerge. Among other things, there is no electricity in Kyakataama, so the day ends for everyone when the sun goes down. However, people can still read, paint and discuss in the “social room”.
Toonda consists of just under one hectare of land in Kyakataama, about 45 minutes from Fort Portal at the crater lakes. It includes a dormitory for volunteers and/or artist groups, a “social room”, a kitchen, toilets, a stage and a meadow with a campfire site.
The village of Kyakataama
TOONDA is at home in Kyakataama, a small village in western Uganda, about 45 minutes away from Fort Portal. This is where the Mutoro people of the Toro Kingdom live. The village nestles on the crater lake Nyambuga with a view of the 5000m high Rwenzori Mountains. We are surrounded by about 60 other crater lakes as well as the Kibaale National Park. Most of the people in Kyakataama live in small mud huts and are self-sufficient in agriculture. School education is low, but the thirst for knowledge is enormous.
What’s happening now:
A festival is planned, the first artists from abroad are excited to come and the community center is in the middle of being build.
Unfortunately Corona finally hits Uganda badly and we’re having a 42-days Lockdown until end of July/ August 2021. Meanwhile we’re allowed to built on, so we’re working on the toilets and the theater right now. Anna Myga Kasten was visiting us at an Artist @ Community Work this June to design the theater and start constructing with us.
Due to Corona we’ll post-pone the festival to September, waiting with the final program until the Lockdown is finished and we can make real plans. As our two artists from Vietnam and the UK have trouble leaving and re-entering their country due to the pandemic, we’ll welcome then in December/ January.
Macri from Peru will most likely coming for the opening and will do music workshops with the community in September. Also we’ll welcome dance Tumi and writer Indra from South Africa this September.
How it began:
Rayka (author, ethnologist) and Jonas (artist) were nomads, researchers and artists convinced of the need for international cultural exchange of creative people. During a trip through Uganda, they fell in love with the crater region of Western Uganda. In the village of Kyakataama, they found the place where they wanted to realise their lifelong dream. While Jonas and Rayka were creating a sustainable concept in the midst of nature as an alternative to social emptiness, fate struck – Jonas died of malaria in August 2019 at the age of 39. Despite the grief, Rayka, with the help of friends, continues to pursue their lifelong dream, builds the artists’ meeting place and now sends 30 village children to school.
Thanks to family and friends for supporting Toonda!
Thanks to Indra Wussow and the Sylt Foundation for partnering and supporting Toonda Cultural Community Center!