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Cindy and the show that was supposed to flop

Cindy and her dancers perform on stage. PHOTOS BY EDDIE CHICCOMany people did not think Cinderella Sanyu alias Cindy had what it took to have a successful show at Lugogo Cricket Oval.

It’s a space that has in the past humbled both local and international artists. And for an act like Cindy, whose last concert was poorly attended one at Imperial Royale, a smaller space, people were almost right to have their scepticisms.

“When I first advertised this concert, no promoter or artiste was willing to stand with me,” she said while talking to her audience.

Cindy had done what no one, even she anticipated; she filled Lugogo Cricket Oval.


By 9.30 pm, the lines to the entrance were snaking all the way to Kampala Road, while inside the cricket oval, people were struggling to find the entrance to the different sections such as VIP and VVIP, some even bribed security people to help them out.

Even some artistes who showed up after 8 pm struggled to find a gate that would take them backstage that at times had to part with extra bucks to bribe a guard to let them access places that had initially been sealed off.

It was clear the organisers had been caught off guard, they were overwhelmed by the turnup, the personnel at the ticketing was not enough and so were the refreshments.


Cindy’s mother came through to support her daughter. Photo by EDDIE CHICCO

For example, Tusker had a number of tents selling both beers and liquor to partiers, but some of these were dry even before Cindy took to the stage at 10 pm.

Cindy’s show is one that has had people talking since it was advertised, for instance, many thought Lugogo Cricket Oval was such a humongous venue for an artist that rarely performs.

She had not advertised on traditional media, used social media influencers and did not have celebrity endorsements like it is common with many other artists.

Basically, Cindy had set herself up for failure.


Cindy took to the stage at 10 pm, well, she said the show would honour her fifteen-year hustle and she seemed to, especially at the beginning – introducing us to ten dancers she was going to be working with for the night.

In an interview, she had revealed these were dancers from her journey, many had worked with her in some way. For a show she knew people had not believed in, she had the perfect start – Zalawo.

Performed with her on stage, dancers kept making their way to the stage in pairs, making poses and taking in every moment as it happened.

Cindy walked in with a maroon rob that had a lion printed at the back of it – like a king she claims to be, she stood for some time, with poise and command, she set into Ayokyayokya, the song many believe fully introduced the solo artiste in 2008.

Unlike many performers, she opted for a wearable microphone thus having the freedom to dance and easily keep up with the taxing choreography.

Performing live and dancing while at it is something many of our local artists don’t dare, some can’t even go on for thirty minutes, yet she effortlessly did three sessions without breaking a sweat.

But none of this was a big deal, the deal was that people were in shock, how Cindy eluded media tours, big-budget social media campaigns, TV and radio adverts yet still pulled off a show big enough to shock her.

A close friend to both the artiste and management told us Cindy’s sister has been instrumental, apparently, they had a marketing plan that was intended on tackling the real consumer; “the team promoted the shows to the real people they wanted to show up, in markets like Wandegeya and Owino.”

For instance, it’s said on Valentine’s Day, Cindy was in Owino Market handing out red roses to vendors while creating awareness about her show and of course selling some tickets.

But because we are living in a digital era where clicks, likes and impressions lead narratives, Cindy’s performance in these areas helped many possible partners for the show take steps back.

It is said the official sponsor for the show only came on board a week or two to the D-day while some that had promised media placements only dragged their feet towards the last days to the show.


The sentiments were shared even by artistes, for instance, an insider says some had turned down Cindy’s invitation to perform, yet, on learning that she had filled the oval, they started showing up pleading for a chance.

Trying to understand Cindy’s triumph, Joel Isabirye, a media analyst noted that Cindy maximised the small wins for bigger gains, for instance, he says she had interviews with almost all online ran and little known medias.

“Those things get shared and build a lot of interest in an event or saga.”


A reveler eats sweet as she enjoys herself at Cindy’s show

He also says that the Clever J saga gave her that much needed social capital, plus her understanding of the power of shows such as Talk ‘n’ Talk, Live Wire and Uncut, she may not have made a presence at these shows, but stayed within their on air narrative.

As it was at the show, it was hard to discuss Cindy without Sheebah in the mix. Isabirye believes that much as the feud and call for a battle had died off, that fued woke up Cindy’s core.

“They turned up as if they were turning up for the battle that never was…they came to prove a point.”



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