Ugandan musicians denied US visas in setback for new diaspora bands


About two weeks ago, several Ugandan artists left the United States Embassy in Nsambya in disappointment after being denied visas to the United States.

The artists, it is understood, were to organize several musical performances in the United States.

The post-pandemic era has led to the formation of new small Ugandan diaspora groups, especially in North America, which has created greater demand for Kampala’s top performers.

Some of the A-lister artists are currently charging between Shs20,000,000 and Shs35,000,000 to perform at a single show in the United States, excluding airfare of around Shs15,000,000 for the artist and the manager.

The excitement of a big payday, however, suffered a crushing setback after several performers walked out of the embassy empty-handed.

Sources in entertainment circles are silent on this, but ChimpReports understands that several members of Swangz Avenue had visited the US Embassy about a fortnight ago.

Although no one wants to release the details publicly, sources in North America have also confirmed that Uganda American Entertainment (UAE) has stopped promoting artists for at least a week at the moment, which matches the said situation in Kampala.

Sources say the new team, Uganda American Entertainment, led by Issa Kawooya, is facing VISA issues.

Kawooya made the media rounds in Kampala in early March promising to eclipse the traditional powerhouses of North America.

Uganda American Entertainment had lined up Swangz Avenue trio Winnie Nwagi, Vinka and Azawi plus Chosen Becky and Rakai Mayor Mathias Walukaga.

This setback is not easy to overcome, reiterated an entertainment industry source from Kampala, as it is very difficult to process US work permits with costs estimated between 60,000,000 and 80,000,000 shillings for this process alone, plus artist fees, airfare, accommodation and maintenance, which makes it very difficult for small groups to part with this kind of money that they cannot recover .

Asked why artists agree to apply for tourist visas with all the risk involved, the source added that artists understand how difficult it is to recoup this type of investment, hence the reason for the shortcuts.

This investment can only be made by large, well-established organizations.

Recently, several domestic entertainment stars like Alex Muhangi, Alex Muhangi, Maureen Nantume and others were denied entry to the United States because they were traveling on the wrong visa.


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