Music, dance and drama are indeed a balm that dulls many pains and pushes reconciliation, as the award-winning TV and radio drama Yat Madit proves.
No wonder, with support from the European Union, Media Focus on Africa Uganda is implementing the second season of the project dubbed Crossroad: A Soap Opera for Social Change.
This is an extension of a reconciliation project implemented between 2014 and 2017, that included the launch of Yat Madit last year.
The drama airs on Voice of Karamoja (Karamoja), Mighty Fire FM (Acholi), Kyoga Veritas FM (Teso) and Lango FM (Lango), targeting war-torn communities in those sub-regions.
Speaking at a dialogue held at Puranga in Pader district, Paddy Lawot, an opinion leader, said there is need to take action to the next level. He encouraged use of the locals to come up with content for plays and dance routines aimed at post-conflict reconciliation.
Yat Madit depicts the life of different people living together in a trading centre. It represents a community recovering from the ravages of war, with challenges such as unemployment, land wrangles, alcoholism and domestic violence, among others.
It won three accolades at the 2017 edition of the Uganda Film Festival (Best TV Drama series, Best Actor in a TV Drama series and Best Actress in a TV Drama series).
Yat Madit also won an award for the Intercultural Innovation Award hosted by United Nations Alliance of Civilisations and BMW Group, in New York.
In the first phase, a 13- episode Yat Madit aired on TV and radio, translated into various local languages for community screenings that were followed by intercultural dialogues.
Despite the return of relative peace in the sub-regions, communities still face the after-effects of war, including psychological trauma, ethnic tension and land disputes, among others.
“When we were holding the first dialogues, participants always requested us to invite more people for the dialogues, or if we could take the series to other counties, clans or villages which they felt also needed to be engaged in dialogues because of the challenges they were facing. We are glad that we can now reach more people with a much-needed and timely project both in communities and on air,’’ Jan Ajwang, the media focus programmes manager said.