Prof. Mercy Mirembe Ntangare Makerere University – The Woman’s Equation in Uganda’s Entertainment Industry
Prof. Ntangaare explained the equation as the triangular relationship of women in the market place with elements feeding into each other beginning with any of the 3; product, producer or patron. She explained that the products are the actresses who crave to become stars; producers are directors/promoters who put the performers (women) on the stage; while the patrons are the audiences/fans whom she described as the kings. The medium that brings all into the market place are the performances, mostly live ones. In the market place, deals are initiated and sealed through exchanges and transactions. The exchange creates value while the transaction transfers ownership of that value from producers to patrons through performances. Women have always been at the centre of performances of all kinds; in places of worship either as celebrants or just participants, in schools as teachers, in rituals and ceremonies and many other areas. Women are regarded as the “spices of life”.
Women in the entertainment industry are used to spice up performances, but are most times commoditised (and discarded). She contended that women are not beneficiaries of the entertainment industry because they are seen as commodities which have a shelf life. They go through the product life cycle; they are introduced to the market, grow, mature and decline. This is the sad situation. In the industry they are despised, called names, ridiculed etc. However some of them have made it e.g. Anne Kansiime the Ugandan comedian and a few others have made their mark on the entertainment scene. Prof. Ntangaare asserted that the popular entertainment industry has lots of fans which started in the energisation of the Ugandan economy. Makerere University was not left behind. From the diploma in Music Dance and Drama the university is now offering bachelors’ degrees. She said that the market has rules but some women have been able to negotiate the rules and are now picking up. She used an example of women’s bands although always breaking up. She stressed the need to support more women artists by attending their shows etc.