The stunning dance theatre play Nambi, also known as “The African Shield Maidens,” aspires to empower women and emphasise their important contributions to society, regardless of their social status.
By highlighting the lessons to be gained from the exceptional female warriors, army chiefs, and businesswomen of ancient times, this performance questions the gender roles for women that are still prevalent in contemporary traditional African civilizations.
The show, which is directed by the gifted choreographer and well-known dancer Lillian Nabaggala, comprises four outstanding female dancers: Kawesa Sharlot, Natabi Salam, Nambooze Haula, and Nakato Rachael.
Together, they bring to life the biographies of significant historical people including Queen Sheba of Ethiopia, Ahosi Mino of the Dahomey Amazons, Queen Ya Asnataawa of the Ashanti Empire in Ghana, Nzinga of Angola, and Amanirenus of the Meroitic Kingdom.
These amazing women impacted their states profoundly by their leadership abilities, combat strategies, and the assistance they received from the men in their lives.
The idea of Nambi, who is thought to have originated in Buganda, Uganda, as the first woman on Earth, serves as Nambi’s inspiration. The work provides a connection to Uganda’s rich cultural legacy by investigating this historical narrative.
No matter what their background, it emphasises the power and resiliency that every woman possesses, inspiring women to raise their heads high and defend their convictions.
Nambi also recognises the significant roles that women have played in Ugandan civilization, from Princess Bagaya to powerful queens like Naginda Sylvia of Buganda and Bestie Kemigisha of Toro.
This story includes not just politicians but also a regular woman who sells Mandazi on the street to support and feed her family. Many strong, independent women have moved to places like the United Arab Emirates with the resolve and fortitude to work tirelessly to make sure their families have a good life and access to education.
Not only has their move to the UAE given them financial security, but it has also given them newfound independence. Some of them have come to represent hope and serve as examples of what is achievable if one is persistent and resilient.
Nambi, which was first produced in 2017 with just three dancers, expanded into a larger show in 2018 with five amazing performers. 2019 also saw the production of a dance short video encapsulating the essence of the performance. Nambi will now be performed as a complete one-hour dance piece at the Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) from August 25–27, 2023, in conjunction with Batalo East and choreographer Lillian Nabaggala.
Five performances will take place over the course of the three days, with one on Friday, August 25, at 7 p.m., two on Saturday, August 26, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, and two on Sunday, August 27, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Through the art of dancing, this immersive experience aims to enthral viewers and motivate them to lead better lives.