Nyambadde is a word to say “I’m wearing…” in Luganda, a language that is spoken in most of Central Uganda, including the capital – Kampala. As the city I’ve spent most of my formative years in, I can confidently assert that Kampala is home to an expansive social scene with the stylish individuals to complement it.
Every story shared is an aspect of self-discovery a person has indulged us in. It comes from a place of pondering on who one is, and how they express what the answer (or what they hope to be the answer) is to that personal question. Personal style is in essence one of the ways to express self-identity.
Nyamabadde is an expression of style by the different “cityzens” of Kampala. As curator, I reach out to people from different walks of life in Kampala – be it fashion editors, campus fashionistas, media personalities, even that person that catches your eye as you rush through the mall to your movie.
To feature on Nyambadde, each individual is requested to write a short (maximum of 100 words) piece on what they consider to be their personal style. Writing could be in any written form: prose, poetry or lyrics and includes 1 high quality picture of one’s choice to accompany the style story. Each story then goes through a thorough editing process with the curator and the writer to ensure that each person’s story is told to perfection after which a suitable title (of not more than 4 words) is assigned.
The beauty in asking each person to write about themselves rather than have them written about is to show how that person sees themselves. Holding up a mirror to yourself and telling the tale of who you are is for me one of the purest ways to tell a story.
Personal style is of course always evolving, but we each have those signature looks or pieces that those in our circle refer to as “your look”: be it the signature crazy hairdos or perfume, the oversized pairs of sunglasses or denim pants you seem to have in abundance, or even that striped shirt you have in 50 different colours and textures. There’s that unique item or image that you identify with, or aspire to. That’s what this is about.
I hope Nyambadde turns out to be a way to tell a story about Kampala through its people – its very fabric – and what stories they tell of their style, and ultimately of themselves. After all, what the people of Kampala look like everyday, is indeed what Kampala looks like everyday.