The Rolex Festival is this Sunday on August 20, 2017 at the Uganda Museum. Mike Ssegawa chatted up Enid Mirembe, the brainchild of the event, why she was doing rolex festivals.
1. The Rolex Festival is back this year, what is new about this year’s do?
This year, we have street activations towards our theme… “street smart” empowering these Rolex vendors as we also sensitive them to be clean…hygiene adds value to a product….
2. Why the rolex, not mbooli, maize or banana festival?
Well, the Rolex is a unique food in Uganda. I was Miss Tourism Busoga in 2015/ 2016 and as a project I decided to promote culinary tourism… I wanted people to stop the stereo type of Basoga and chapati. It was so hard. It hasn’t been so easy. Lots of criticism, rejection but the fact is Uganda being a country with many tribes and different food culture…we cannot associate with one tribe’s (staple) food because the others will be like why didn’t they choose our food?
Rolex is however the number one roadside delicacy that is eaten by everyone regardless of age and nation background…it is national.
3. For those people who don’t know about the genesis of the rolex festival, can you bring them up to speed?
A Rolex is a rolled egg and chapati with a few vegetable like cabbage, onions and tomatoes. It was invented in the early 2000s around universities and it was eaten by university students after sports events….slowly and gradually it graduated to diff places and hence (it spread) all over Uganda.
4. What kind of feedback do you get about the rolex festival?
Last year’s festival had its goods and bad…..despite having no sponsor we did it… the youth through last year’s event called for help…they were happy that they were recognised. However, most of them think that the project is government owned. No, it’s not….
5. What motivates you to promote the rolex this aggressively?
I am a musoga and we are known for chapati so I was using the stereo type and stigma to promote my region….. And as well help the youth that despise jobs but are in employed. With a Rolex stall you can never go hungry and lacking, trust me.
The main objective of this event is to promote this meal as a tourism product because we well know food is a global identifier i.e Japanese have sushi, Indians have biryani, mexican have tequila, European have a wine culture, Italians have pizza and pasta, so I also want the rolex to be our nation’s identifier and we promote it so that it creates employment for the youth hence wealth and job creation.
6. Are there no health concerns about over consumption of rolex, since it is heavy on fat and carbohydrates?
We should learn to eat healthy…don’t take it with a lot of oil plus you can make chapati with very little oil….we as humans should learn to watch our weight, as well why consume a lot? But the Rolex has all the body build foods we need.
7. Where is the fun in this year’s festival?
We have had 8 street activations in Nansana, Ggaba, Kitintale, Kasangati, Makerere Kagugube, Busabala and Kyengera, with these we were following the pillars that drive the main event i.e hygiene, safety standard and more…this has created hype and sensitized these people to be clean.
At UGANDA MUSEUM we got bouncing castles, face painting, band artists, celeb cookouts, lots of Rolex and drinks.
8. Where do you foresee this festival in the near future?
I see this festival having regional plus international tours working on our pillars i.e hygiene and safety standards to add value to this brand. We will also have comfortable street markets for us to sit and enjoy this delicacy. Health is key.
9. Anything you want to add?
I want to thank everyone who had believed and been in this hustle. Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi, minister of state @MTWA, Rolex initiative team, Coca-Cola, Uganda Tourism Board, KCCA, Galaxy fm, Kaswa flour and Shell Gas.