WHAT IS KATAKA?
When I first asked Coach Derrick how he came up with the name he told me that "kataka" is a Luganda word that comes from the verb "Etaka" which means soil/ground. The children would routinely practice on dirt fields so where they would meet to tumble was generally referred to as Kataka by the locals.
From the very beginning Coach Derrick expressed to me that he had very ambitious goals for the program and his kids. His dream is to raise national level gymnastics athletes that can compete in international competitions and ultimately the Olympics! Uganda has never been represented in gymnastics at the Olympic level, but the Uganda Gymnastics Federation registered with the Uganda Olympic Committee in 2021, announcing its intentions to send athletes to future Olympics qualifiers. This was directly a byproduct of the impact that Kataka Arts has had on the sport in their home country. The talent of these kids undeniable!
The ingenuity of the coaches is honestly impressive. They string together a variety of different makeshift equipment to train the children. For landing gear they use torn up foam pads to soften any falls.
To practice more advanced moves such as circle work they use tires with old cushions on top.
When it's time to put it all together they head to the landfill and perform advanced-level routines that are truly a sight to see.