The newly-crowned Miss Tourism Uganda has asked the public to work hard and preserve cultural arts and crafts that were done by the ancient blacksmiths for future upgrading in the new science and technology trending platforms of the world.
"I believe that people can get involved in cultural arts and crafts so that they may benefit from tourism right away from the rural areas to urban areas without much hustle," Sydney Nabulya Kavuma, 20, the new Miss Tourism Uganda hailing from Buganda Kingdom said on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to Vision Group.
“Many tourists from all over the world are attracted to African art and craft items and that calls for conservation of our beautiful tourist attractions especially pieces from our traditional iron smelters in the villages,” Nabulya added.
She added that when all Ugandans get involved in tourism promotion, the country gets foreign exchange that brings development to all parts of the country irrespective of regional imbalances suffered over a long period of time.
Ankole artifact and craft piece made by the ancient iron smelters in 1885
Moru Consolata,21, the first runner-up hailing from Kalamoja sub region believes that every regions contribution towards cultural art can be of great value to tourism.
“Forget about the funny and degrading saying which many Ugandans refer to us; 'we shall never wait for Kalamoja to develop', we also have unique art and crafts men who can surprise tourists and we earn a lot of money for our region,” she said.
Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, and weapons.
“There was a historical distinction between the heavy work of the blacksmith and the more delicate operation of a whitesmith, who usually worked in gold, silver, pewter, or the finishing steps of fine steel which Uganda has,” Moru added.
The second runner-up Denise Ayebare from Kigezi sub-region also highlighted the need for the Government to support the local blacksmith from her areas.
“We have iron smelters (abaheesi) from Kyokyezo, Nangara and Butumbi who used to make knives, pangas and farming tools but they are dying out because many of them can access resources to do their work diligently.”
I appeal to the government to offer cheap credit facilities for such skilled villagers for us to create a hub of cultural art pieces for tourism and marketing of our cultures.
While there are many people who work with metal such as farriers, wheelwrights, and armorers, in former times the blacksmith had a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, from the most complex of weapons and armor to simple things like nails.