The Stream

George The Poet: Can music bring change in Uganda?

On Tuesday, February 9 at 19:30GMT:
George Mpanga, more commonly known as ‘George The Poet’, is equal parts spoken word performer and social commentator, often using a mix of poetry and music to dissect issues such as race and politics.

His socio-political podcast, “Have you heard George’s podcast?”, last year won a prestigious Peabody award. It was the first time a podcast outside the United States received the honour.

Mpanga was born in London but also feels deeply rooted in Uganda, from where his parents emigrated in the 1980s.

His emotional connection to Uganda is evident in “Black Yellow Red”, a short film he released last month in response to the country’s disputed presidential election.

In it, Mpanga offers his perspective on the day-to-day problems facing Ugandans. While addressing the elections results, he wonders whether music, not politics, could be the catalyst for change, adding that his fellow diaspora members can also play their part.

“Our country’s future isn’t just in the hands of the next government – it’s in the destiny of all Ugandans – home and abroad, we’re all represented by the same flag: black, yellow and red,” he says at one point in the film.

In this episode of The Stream, we sit down with Mpanga to discuss Uganda, identity and belonging, and his belief in the power of music.

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
George Mpanga, @GeorgeThePoet
Spoken word artist