Leah Walkowski and Mwaka Benson, Northern Uganda HipHop Culture
From 1986-2006, as war raged throughout Northern Uganda, Mwaka Benson (better known as Benny) turned to rapping and music as a means of coping with the turmoil surrounding him. Since that time, he has worked with youth in the Kitgum Sub-region of Uganda, helping them to find inspiration and empowerment in much the same way he once did.
Benny founded the non-profit Northern Uganda Hiphop Culture (NUHC), an organization dedicated to empowering and inspiring youth through rap, break-dancing, and graffiti. Working in collaboration with Peace Corps volunteer, Leah Walkowski, NUHC is currently operating in the Kitgum township and surrounding areas.
In their newest outreach initiative, Leah and Benny are mobilizing NUHC in an effort to reach previously inaccessible youths in prisons, orphanages, and rural communities with their message of creativity, hope, and inspiration. Planned outreach efforts at various institutions and communities include performances by NUHC members, education sessions on topics such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, or WASH, and lessons on rap, break-dancing, and graffiti.
Ultimately, through NUHC’s outreach initiative, Leah and Benny hope to dispel common misconceptions about hip-hop culture whilst showing Ugandan youth and their communities new, powerful means of community building, self-expression, and empowerment.
Funding from The Pollination Project will be used for the purchase of outreach equipment such as mobile speakers and musical instruments.
For more information, please visit NUHC’s Facebook page.
GRANT AWARD DATE: March 19, 2015