By Ben Sebuguzi
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ruparelia family for reviving the Royal Ascot goat racing which used to be powered by the defunct Crane Bank.This is an event where glamour takes centre stage as thousands throng Munyonyo to catch a glimpse of their favorite sport of the goat’s race
Goat racing sport emanated from Buccoo, Tobago, a twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago by a Barbadian, Samuel Callender in 1925.It occurs on Tuesday and they decided to make it un official public holiday .It occurs on Tuesday after Easter Monday of every year because it was started as a poor man’s option for those who could not afford to pay for the horse race which take place on Easter Monday.
Today, Bucco Goat race Festival as it is known in Tobago is still a popular and lively event that draws thousands of spectators and it continues to be one of the sports that has made Tobago a unique country .Just in the same way, Goat race in Uganda has also become one of the sport that is cutting out our niche hence calling for government’s concerted effort in making it as one of the most sought after activity in our calendar for promoting tourism and creating employment to young people.
The reason as to why Tobago is known as the goat racing capital of the world is because The Tobago House of Assembly’s Department of Tourism has continued to invest in the sport which has so far yielded results as they have managed to empower the people of Bucco village to construct a 100 million USD infrastructure known as Bucco Integrated Facility and on top of that, the authorities are planning to turn the goats race into a festival that can be a year round event in order to financially benefit breeders,trainers and jockeys hence making it a vibrant industry. It will also be applaud able if Uganda Tourism board can join the bandwagon in order to add some recipes in order to benefit many Ugandans.
It should also be remembered that other countries like Tanzania introduced the Dar es Salaam charity goat races in 2001 following Uganda’s lead since 1993 and they have been able to raise about 600m shillings since inception hence making it an avenue for collecting huge sums of money for charity. In United States Falmouth, PA have annual running of the goats race which has happened for 38 years while in Phoenixville, PA runs an annual shy Fox Bock Festival and Goat race where the winning goat and its owners receive a $ 75.00 USD gift certificate, and in United Kingdom, the goat races are competed between Oxford and Cambridge universities basically for charity. It’s during such event that there stalls selling food and craft items.
We therefore appeal to relevant authorities to join hands with the organizers of the Royal Ascot goat racing team to widen the scope of the event to promote Uganda tourism and also create market for locally made crafts where many youths are being employed.
Last but not least, We thank you Mr. Sudhir Ruparelia for always having Ugandans at heart because this particular event was also intended to raise money for charity. May Allah continue to shower your business conglomerate with showers of blessings and may He continue to give you more life in abundance.
Ben Ssebuguzi is Team Leader Youth Power Research Uganda