KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Christmas cantata at Watoto church is back. However, with fear of the spread of COVID-19, the endeared theatrical production will not be for physical attendance.
Before the COVID-19 induced restrictions on mass gathering, Watoto church had been organizing three shows of the epic show per day for four days during the Christmas festival season, staged at the former centre of creative arts- Norman cinema which was transformed into a religious temple.
For over 36 years, Watoto church has made it a must to present the cantata which comprises high-energy music, creative dance and drama that bring to life the story depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. The show always attracts thousands of people from Kampala city and beyond with many normally waking up very early in morning to join long queues.
However, Easter Nakalema, the Watoto communications officer says that this year, people will not need to hustle to watch the presentation as the production will be broadcast right into the comfort of their homes.
“Despite the challenging times, the faithful and other people need to remind themselves that God will not abandon them, thus the decision to take the show close to them in their respective homes. We shall be screening this show on TV and streaming it on our YouTube channels and other social media platforms like Facebook. The beautiful cantata production this year will run under the theme, ‘God With Us’,” said Nakalema.
She notes that the show has already been produced and will be broadcast from December 23 to 27 on different TV stations including See TV, NTV, NBS, Family TV, UBC, Star TV, Magic 1 and U24. The show will be also streamed on Watoto church official online and social media channels like YouTube and Facebook.
The national broadcaster, UBC, will be broadcasting the show on December 24 at 8:30pm and later on December 27 at 2:00 pm. According to their programme, the premier show for the production will be broadcast on Watoto’s official channels on December 23 at 7:30 pm.
Nakalema adds that in addition to the traditional cantata shows, they have added a brand new Christmas music album titled What Child is This (Emirembe) which is a new take on Christmas classics, by the Watoto choir. “This melodic album of original music infuses the resilience and style of Africa with the age-old message of the birth of Jesus Christ- the savior of the world,” she adds.
In a written communication, Gary Skinner, Watoto founder says that even in the most uncertain times, the faithful should be certain that the Lord is with them. He adds that with an incredible cast and crew of about 200 people, this production is colourful, vibrant and representative of people who have overcome because God is with them.
“When it comes to Christmas, it isn’t just a time of celebrating and enjoying the holiday season…Even in the most uncertain times, we are certain of this – Jesus, Emmanuel, is with us,” said Gary Skinner. “And for this reason, we are honoured to bring you this year’s production with a timely message of love and reconciliation with our Father in Heaven!”