Official statement on dehumanising youth by talent show judges of Yolesa Ekitone on BBS Telefayina issued 29 April 2021



MenEngage Uganda Youth – a network of youth-serving and youth-led organisations issues this statement on the very disturbing display of carelessness by judges during the BBS Yolesa Ekitone Talent Show as seen from video clips making rounds in the public on internet.

We want to condemn in the loudest voice possible the actions of the judges led by Mr. Alex Mukulu who was cheered on by laughter by the two female judges. Body odours should not be a reason to humiliate, belittle and shatter the self-esteem of young talent. The remarks and laughter by the judges cast the youthful performers in to a belittled state. Body changes are a stage of growth and development among young people. Some of these changes include sweat glands becoming active. It is important to know that this is only a temporary stage of life and can be handled with proper guidance and support. The judges ought to have known that! Our self-esteem, pride, and confidence are all built up in these years when our bodies are going through all these changes.

We believe that the talent show was created to identify and promote raw but promising talent; any adjudicator for such shows should possess effective communication skills that lead to promotion of talent rather than embarrass those with potential. We therefore believe – as an elder, brother, and father, Alex Mukulu should have handled the situation better than that. The laughing co-judges should have opted to provide guidance in a manner that restores hope and confidence in the young performers. We all came from somewhere and we’re nurtured by elders in our communities. There were endless opportunities for you to convey your frustrations off-camera away from the full view of the world. As elders, we ought to do better to nurture the next generation of men and fathers.

We therefore demand an official apology from the judges for their actions that were a violation of their dignity. We intend to petition the management of the station and UCC over what we think is dehumanising content in the public eye.

For interviews contact

Fiona Morrow, Youth Coordinator: +256 –758–154-035 Twesigye Osmas, Youth Steering Committee Member: +256-757-051-606