Song and Nation: A Study of Secondary School Music Competition Original Song Composition in Uganda


African Humanities Program Dissertation Fellowships


Department of Literature


This study examines secondary school music competitions, a major event on the national calendar. It particularly analyses song as a performance of nation mainly because the competitions have, over the years, concentrated on themes around national experience. The research discusses the ‘original song composition’ item as a distinct subset of the larger corpus of secondary school inter-house song competition. Drawing on Postcolonial and Performance Theories, it examines the ‘original song composition’ as a neo-traditional performance site where national experiences are not homogeneous, but are at a deeper level full of complexities and tensions. Performance is seen as a communicative process which draws on a plurality of voices. The debate on the nation portrayed in the ‘original song composition’ demonstrates that students consciously and unconsciously perceive the nation as a site of interactions, intersections and contentions of identities and power with the nation as an amalgamation of layered experiences, thoughts and relationships.