The festival will attract more tourists from China to visit Uganda and enable Uganda hit its target of getting four million visitors per year.
PIC: (The chairman of China Africa Friendship Association of Uganda, Eng. Benon Mugarura (left), China’s ambassador to Uganda Zheng ZhuQiang (centre) and Godfrey Kiwanda, state minister for tourism (right) during the launch of the second edition of the Dragon Boat Festival. (Credit: John Odyek)
KAMPALA - The Dragon Boat Festival is set to attract many local and international participants including those from China.
China’s ambassador to Uganda Zheng ZhuQiang said he was happy that dragon boat culture was being embraced in Uganda.
“Every year between May and June, many dragon boat festivals take place in China and in other parts of the world,” ZhuQuiang said.
The ambassador said this during the launch of the second edition of the festival in Uganda. The function took place at Arirang Hotel, Kampala.
At the function, the ambassador pledged that the embassy would contribute sh200m towards the organisation of the festival.
The event will take place on June 16 at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Entebbe.
Godfrey Kiwanda, state minister for tourism, speaking on behalf of the Government, said Uganda was blessed with many fresh water bodies where the dragon boat races can take place.
Kiwanda said the Kabaka’s Lake could be used for boat racing and it could attract tourist.
“The Kabaka’s Lake is within the city and it could attract many visitors if it is used for sports tourism. When I was in Malaysia, I was driven for 300km to go and see a fresh water body and there were many people there.
"Uganda has so many lakes and rivers that can be visited by tourists,” Kiwanda said.
He hoped the festival would attract more tourists from China to visit Uganda and enable Uganda hit its target of getting four million visitors per year.
Uganda currently gets about 1,320,000 visitors per year.
The dragon boat festival has its origins over 2,000 years ago in China. It was intended to commemorate a patriotic poet Qu Yuan who was devoted to his country with heart and soul. It has grown into one of the most important traditional festivals in China.
Vincent Musubire, chairman of the organizing committee Dragon Boat Festival said during the festival there will many activities.
They include a cultural trade expo where Uganda and Chinese organisations will exhibit trade items and services themed under fashion, food, health and hospitality services.
There will be cultural games involving spectacular kite shows, martial arts, tug rope competitions, acrobatic displays, cultural dance competitions, language articulation. Other activities include; music and dance and tug rope competitions, cultural cuisines; Chinese and Uganda menu will be presented.
Musubire said there will be competitive boating race of teams. He said the dragon boats will be specially branded with a ‘dragon top’ and sticker of the competing team.
The rowing teams will be comprised of professional rowers, competing teams have the choice of using their team members as back up or hiring extra professional rowers.
The chairman of China Africa Friendship Association of Uganda, Eng. Benon Mugarura said the mission of the organization to carry out activities that will benefit Uganda and China private sectors in the people to people trade (exchange of goods and services) business investments, cultural and social interests.
“Through this festival we hope to go a long way to promote friendship and cultural exchanges between China and Uganda.
"The Dragon Boat festival strengthens bonds within families, communities it establishes a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature,” Mugarura said.