Bamuturaki Robert knows how to draw a crowd and keep a smile on their faces. The 42 year old actor is the star of the Omumashaka Drama Group, which performs regularly in the Kyambura region of southwestern Uganda.
As a boy Robert joined his primary school’s drama club and soon discovered he had a natural gift for acting. However, as a young man being raised by a widowed mother in rural southwestern Uganda, Robert soon had to leave school to help support his family. He joined a local acting troupe and began performing at public events and private ceremonies.
When Robert learned he was HIV positive in 2001 he, along with the doctors at a local clinic, decided that his gift of performance may be a great tool to educate others on the risk of HIV. He enlisted other HIV positive people, trained them to act, and started an outreach and education drama troupe. The troupe performed at local villages and clinics to educate people on what it’s like to be HIV positive as well as how they can protect themselves from getting the disease.
In 2010 when he heard that the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust was seeking to support a local performance group, he and his fellow actors expanded their troupe and formed the Omumashaka Drama Group. They used a combination of plays, songs and dances to increase their outreach message to include topics in conservation, childhood education and home economics. The group auditioned and won the chance to perform at the VS Kyambura Gorge Lodge and now receive monthly support from the VSPT.
The group performs regularly at the Volcanoes Safaris lodge as well as at the VSPT sponsored Empundu Community Playground, where they draw hundreds in to see their monthly performances. Children especially love the performances and Robert spends his free time training kids in play writing and acting.
Robert has also started a “post testing” club that serves as a support group for people who have tested HIV positive. His advice to others is “stay active, take your medicine and always know that your status is not a death sentence.”
Thank you, Robert and the rest of the Omumashaka Drama Group for your talents, dedication and commitment to education!
Nicole, Uganda – Volcanoes Safaris Partnerhip Trust