HIPUganda weekly, September 12-18 2016, Screen Shots.

This week’s most popular post was initially shared in a closed Facebook group, and with permission of the original poster, and eventually also with permission of its owner, shared on the HIPUganda page.

One thing that is remarkable is the number of likes and shares of each of the posts. But this might say more about Facebook’s algorithms, and that is not what this blog is about… And also, we do not want to compromise the ‘closed’ nature of the group the picture was posted in.

In the comments with both of the posts people were sharing their memories seeing films on this screen. It must have been quite an impressive place. Reading the comments and connecting them could be the basis for a nice short movie:

‘This was the largest Drive-in in the whole of East Africa, capable of accommodating 800 cars… [it] also had a covered sitting area, bar and a restaurant.’ ‘Watched a lot of movies there. Used to prepare dinner and go there with cousins and friends in three to four different cars. Have a picnic dinner and then watch the movie. And talk across the cars…’ ‘Sunday’s was my favourite specially in the far most back parking where you can have drink & fun’ ‘Remember sneaking into the drive-in in the back trunk of a VW beetle…’ ‘Last visit was just before the Tanzanian war in 1978, with Edith (now my wife)’

Get the picture?

One of the comments to the post pointed out where the drive in cinema was: ‘Now this makes sense.I always wondered what the big white board/structure was for at the ICD on stretcher road. Had no idea it was a drive in cinema.’ While we were preparing to go, see, and photograph the screen, photos were already posted… What a luxury! And how nice to know that we share this fascination on past and present realities with others.

In addition, a weekly program of the screenings for the drive in was posted in one of the comments.

It is not just any weekly program, but that of the second week of October in 1970. We can tell from the ‘heartiest congratulations to the Government and people of Uganda on the 8th Independence anniversary. These kinds of felicitations were common practice, also in, for instance, the independence parades that were held the first few years after the 9th of October 1962, and in news papers where companies announced their wishes. What is striking to me, but I could be reading it in the wrong way, is that the congratulations, or the way in which they are formulated, include a distancing from ‘the Government and people of Uganda’. As if the drive in cinema is not part of Uganda. Maybe the owners indeed did not consider themselves to be part of ‘the people of Uganda’.

The movies that could for a couple of shillings be seen were, next to the at that time already four year old made in the USA header of the bill, slightly more recent Bollywood films. Both of them latter two surely gave the audience value for money. Sajan is a movie that can be enjoyed for 2,5 hours. Neel Kamal takes 15 minutes more of your time.

I wonder whether the projections were subtitled (in English?) when screened in Uganda. Or maybe have a voice over? Or a Luganda speaking VJ?

Looking at the film poster I am not sure that ‘Single Room Furnished‘, featuring Jane Mansfield, would make it to Uganda, thanks to the anti-pornography bill.

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