We had a three-in-one event at the New Vision offices: Launch of The New Era pullout, My China Story and Pakasa Youth Forum.
By Joseph Kizza
(All photos by Miriam Namutebi)
8:30pm Change of mindset needed - Frank Tumwebaze
In his remarks, Minister Frank Tumwebaze speaks of New Vision in glowing terms, saying the media house has done many developmental projects.
But he is keen to underline that a change in the mindset is important, when it comes to the Pakasa forum.
"You show people how people did it, but how do we induce people to do it? We need to do a lot to change the mindest of especially the young people," Tumwebaze says.
In the same spirit, the minister thanks the Chinese government for their "practical infrastustructural projects - including physical and technologicalprojects".
"Feel at home. Continue partnerships like these. And I thank Ugandans for being hospital and warm."
8:29pm A new era of solidarity
Ambassador Zheng ZhuQiang says the Uganda-China relationship has also entered a new era - a time of harvest (here, he names the projects completed, including the Entebbe-Kampala expressway, as well as others nearing completion).
He underlines that the bond between Uganda and China is one built around solidarity and one that will continue to live on.
The envoy is particularly appreciative of such projects as Pakasa Youth Forum to help young people do something for themselves as well as help others.
8:15pm PAKASA YOUTH FORUM LAUNCHED
8:05pm AND THE MY CHINA STORY WINNERS ARE . . .
Simon Ivan Kakembo
Eng. Atwakyire Moses
Simon Peter Kimbugwe
Gamal Abdul Nasser Ssebaggala.
And for winning, they are all called up to the front for the guests and all those watching on TV to see. Each one of them is holding a prize package, which has a HUAWEI GR5 mini phone. But that's not all. They have all entered a draw for a chance to win a trip to China.
8:00pm NEW ERA PULLOUT LAUNCHED
7:46pm A blend of food and music
That is what we are having right now.
While the forks, spoons and knives cling on the tables, we have more entertainment on the stage courtesy of the China-Uganda Performing Group.
7:40pm Dinner with Peacock Dance tunes
It is time for dinner.
If the thought of Chinese cuisine whets your appetite, this is the right time.
Guests are establishing peace with their tastebuds against a backdrop of equally savoury tunes from the Peacock Dance.
7:30pm Exchange of culture
According to Kabushenga, the My China Story initiative will help Ugandans understand the Chinese and the Chinese understand Ugandans.
7:24pm 'China has very high standards'
Kabushenga says in the beginning, he was hesitant when he was told about New Vision's New Era project.
"I was hesistant at first because I was worried my team would not live up to the high standrads of the Chinese people."
But along the way, the chief executive would soon realise his team, oozing determination, was very much up to the task at hand. And how proud he is now following successful execution of the project!
7:15pm Kabushenga: 'I want to tell my China story'
It is a calm, warm evening here at New Vision. After Barbara Kaija's speech, we have a break in the form of a brief video showing the Dragon Boat Festival, recently launched in Uganda.
Once that is done, CEO Robert Kabushenga is next on the stage.
He starts off by telling - and not writing - his China experience.
And his is quite a hilarious one - he tells of how once while on a trip to China, he managed to buy shoes using a calculator because of language barrier.
6:59pm Three launches in one
Tonight, we are launching the New Era pullout, the My China Story and the Pakasa Youth Forum.
Meanwhile, Kaija says over 600 entries have been coming through from the public for the My China Story competition.
She urges Ugandans interested in participating to write "properly and beautifully" to stand a chance of winning. But she cautions - "Please respect the copyright laws".
By the way, Vision Group staff and close family members are not eligible to participate in the competition.
6:59pm Why China?
According to Editor-in-Chief Kaija, many people have been asking her why, of all countries, China.
And her response: "China is a major trade partner for Uganda - on top of being Uganda's largest source of foreign investment."
6:55pm A better understanding of a two people
Kaija, who spearheaded the idea of the New Era pullout, talks of the China-Uganda relations in the areas of trade, culture and recently the media too.
"We appreciate partners who support local media without curtailing media freedoms," she tells guests.
Meanwhile, the guest of honour, Frank Tumwebaze, who is the Minister of Information Technology and Communications, has arrived.
6:46pm Uganda-China ties 'span decades'
After a rousing round of both the Ugandan and Chinese national anthems, Vision Group Editor-in-Chief Barbara Kaija takes the mic and the stage.
She starts her delivery with warm opening remarks.
The co-operation between Uganda and China is one that has been "spanning decades", she says.
6:37pm Umbrella dance
A brief but insightful video on the belt and road initiative it was.
But the guests, while still reflecting on what they have just watched, are told they should prepare for some Chinese entertainment.
Ladies and gentlemen, here comes the Umbrella Dance!
What makes the performance more interesting is that it is being executed by a group of Ugandans - Uganda-China Performing Group from the Confucius Institute Makerere University.
6:30pm Video on one road, one belt
Next up is a video highlighting the belt and road initiative, which was launched in 2013 by Chinese president Xi Jinping.
6:22pm Footage on Uganda-China ties
Following the introductions, the emcees tell us it is time to show a short video illustrating Uganda-China relations.
The footage is quite informative - part of it touches on the infrastructural strides that Uganda has realised with the help of China.
There is much more and I must say the guests are every attentive.
And here come the introductions . . .
We have the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi.
Former agriculture minister Victoria Ssekitoleko is also in the house.
Ambassador Zheng ZhuQiang is here, as is Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga.
Another notable figure is Dr Monica Chibita, the chairperson of the Vision Group board.
6:00pm We are underway
The master-of-ceremony Ronald Kato and his co-emcee Pearl Kisakiyiika take to the stage to deliver their introductory statements. Kato will speak in English while Kisakiyiika is doing the Chinese translations.
I must say her Chinese is very impressive!
5:56pm Makerere vice-chancellor also here
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice-chancellor of Makerere University, arrived a little while ago and he is delighted to engage in some mingling with other guests.
We are live at the New Vision head office in Kampala.
5:35pm CHINESE AMBASSADOR ARRIVES
5:27pm Kasyate is also here!
Simon Kasyate, a very recognisable figure in the Ugandan media industry, is among the guests.
Of course wearing his trademark bow-tie. Sharp!
Other guests here . . .
5:20pm A rosy, red affair.
The tables are sweetly bedecked with fresh roses.
Meanwhile, guests are checking in at the venue by the minute.
5:13pm Settling in
We have the first arrivals here.
Conversations are flowing.
Very soon, the entire tent will be filled.
5:05pm All set
The Tuesday evening sunshine is washing gloriously over the huge tent where the event is due to start any time soon. For now, the organisers have done a pretty good job of setting the tables.
Glasses are sparkling on the cutely decorated tables as a landscape of red and white sweeps across the tented space.
5:01pm Ni hao! Hello everyone!
We are having a Chinese Evening at the New Vision head office this evening, which will feature the launch of The New Era pullout, launch of the My China Story as well as launch of Pakasa Youth Forum.
Stick with us here, we will keep you updated.