A disappointing show, where Bussmann, judging from her website an established comedienne and once a budding celebrity journalist, tells her story of leaving her career as a celebrity journalist, in pursuit of peace maker John Prendergast in Uganda, in 2005, where Prendergast's objective was to broker peace between Museveni and Kony of the LRA.
The show has received a lot of critical acclaim, but didn't even come close to living up to the hype. Bussmann was clearly doing a spiel she had done many times before and, as her story is really seven years old, felt very dated. She briefly, not even for a minute, ad-libbed, comparing her entering Uganda seven years ago with her return now, where the joke was fresh and the tone noticable different. The rest of the show, sadly, had little value and was at times even annoying.
Bussmann has her show prepared for a 'northern' audience that has little understanding of the Ugandan conflict, individuals that would be challenged when asked to find Uganda on a map. She addresses this during her show, using slides and showing a map of Africa, pointing out Uganda and then, in Uganda, Kampala. Considering this show was held *in* Kampala, where everyone, on top of that, probably has a decent understanding on the (former) conflict in northern Uganda, Bussmann actually pointing out where in African you can find this country called Uganda was downright insulting. She apparently didn't even have the decency to skip these two slides and throw in a few lines specifically for this particular audience. That's just plain lazy.
In the end, I was expecting much more. Not so much because of the reviews of the show, but because Bussmann also wrote a well received book on her experiences, on which the show is based, and now claims to live in Nairobi and recently wrote a few comments in relation to Kony2012. I was expecting not a (perhaps once) clever one-man show, but something that was more engaged, both socially and politically, being able to give a fresh, or perhaps unorthodox insight into Uganda's current state of affairs. Instead, we were served something canned and stale.
And, I suspect, many other spectators were expecting something fresher as well. Bussmann admitted that this performance, at the fairly new, and trying to be very hip, MishMash, with some 600, mostly whities, attending, was her biggest crowd yet. Sure, Kampala ain't no New York or London and options for a night out are limited, but not that limited. I suspect that few attending were waiting for a seven year old review of the conflict in northern Uganda by an outsider, presented to be digestible to individuals who have little clue about Uganda in general and the conflict in particular.
And, sadly, Bussmann set the tone from the very start, making it clear she was only going to say one thing on Kony2012, which ended up being a somewhat funny commment on wanking in public.
Slightly related, Prendergast strongly reminded me of the character Jurgen Thor from Ben Elton's book This other Eden.