To show a very different Uganda to that depicted in the viral “Kony 2012” video, Mara Foundation ofUganda has launched “Uganda 2012 – More than Kony 2012” a three-minute video that comprehensively summarises Uganda, displaying its natural endowment and the vast opportunities that exist in tourism, business and lifestyle. This is to counter the negative impression of the country created by Invisible Children’s viral video, which the foundation believes may have damaged Uganda’s reputation for years to come.
The foundation credits the “Kony 2012” video with surpassing all expectations in raising awareness of the activities of warmonger Joseph Kony, but says it simultaneously created an impression in the minds of many thatUganda today is unsafe and unstable, whereas the reality is very different.
While the Foundation hopes that the video does not downplay the goal of capturing Kony, it hopes to present a more balanced representation of Uganda that many Ugandans feel they rightly deserve.
The fact that Lonely Planet named Uganda as the top destination to visit in 2012 is a testimony to the country’s rising popularity as a world-class tourist destination. Mara Foundation says that their aim is that the hundred million people who watched “Kony 2012” view “Uganda 2012 – more than Kony 2012” as well, and see a very different story of the country.
Founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, Ashish J. Thakkar, who was recently selected as a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum, says, “As a passionate advocate of Africa, and most especially Uganda, I want the world to view Uganda as it is – beautiful, serene, and entrepreneurial. We have had enough of people trying to create a negative impression of us as a continent and fundraising on the back of it.”
Ashish is also flying into space as a Founder Astronaut for Virgin Galactic representing East Africa as a way to promote the region.
Launching the Presidential Initiative on Sustainable Tourism in London earlier this year, Uganda’s President Museveni emphasised the importance of attracting visitors to Uganda as the preliminary to other growth opportunities for the nation.
“While tourism is about travel, Uganda’s 5-year National Development Plan (NDP) recognizes the tourism sector as one of the primary growth drivers of the economy that create market for local products. Tourism is in essence the opening of a window of opportunities into Uganda,” he said.