Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you how Pastor Bugembe's music influences society
I was following Bukanga by-elections that were held just last month on one of the local television stations and members of the opposition in one of their rallies chanting and dancing, to my surprise the song they were dancing to was Malirize bulungi, a song by Pastor Wilson Bugembe.
Bugembe is quite popular in Buganda but one would wonder why a song done by a gospel artiste would be playing at a political rally, moreover in the south western district of Isingiro. But not until you closely follow the lyrics in this song that you will understand and conclude that, indeed, this is a perfect one for the opposition that has, for long, been advocating for regime change.
Malirize Bulungi, which was released in 2012 is loosely translated to mean having a good end to one’s life journey. While for opposition parties have used it to advocate regime change and different people have varied interpretations for this song, to Wilson Bugembe, it is a prayer seeking God’s guidance on the path of life.
In Malirize Bulungi, Bugembe cites such examples like former guidance so that I do not depart from the path that he set for me, but other people may relate to it as they walk the journey of life,” he says. Bugembe adds that this song is meant to keep people focused and help them uphold values in society, especially for those that hold offices of responsibility. “I want to die a respectable person man and at an old age and leave behind a legacy, but this can only be determined by what you choose to
do now,” he says.
Who is Bugembe?
Born in 1984 to Mr and Mrs Kirabira, Bugembe was orphaned at a tender age that saw him live part of his life on the streets. Unlike other street children, he attended school up to university where he studied for only one semester and dropped out. He says it was due to financial hardships and the pressure from the children he had adopted.
“My sponsor died and there was no one to pay my tuition fees even then, the children at Mercy Child Care Ministries were demanding my attention as I needed to look for food and many other items.” says Bugembe. After giving up on school he concentrated on music and ministry and has since built a ministry, Light the World Ministries in Nansana, Wakiso district.
Inspiration and style
“I believe people take time to listen to my songs and understand them because I have had testimonies to that effect even from non- Christians,” he says. He explains that most of his songs are based on real life stories and these have kept on changing according to times. “When I had just started singing it was about my life and the challenges I had faced, because I knew there were many who had gone through similar experiences and could relate to my story and be inspired,” he says. He adds that currently he sings based on observations, people’s conversations and experiences.
“My song, Ani, that looks at the amazing power of God and how no one can sit in his place was based on someone that I work with who was complaining about how her four children were giving her a hard time and I wondered how about God who has the whole universe to take care of,” he explains.
He says he may not be the best vocalist, but his style dramatises issues, which attracts his fans because it compares both the earthly and heavenly things in a rather familiar way. “Many people who are desperate choose to go out drinking or clubbing and if they can listen to my song, while there and get inspired, then I will have achieved my goal,” he says. He adds that the desire to change others is what has mad him come up with a special Sunday for all celebrities known as ‘Celebrity Sunday’. “These people impact our society greatly and if they are not reminded of the values of life, then the future of our country is at risk,” he says.
Power of music
According to Bugembe, music is one of the strongest weapons that can change the world either for the best or the worst depending on the content. “Pornography in music is a global challenge, but as a country, we should know we are digging a grave, which will swallow us alive,” he says.
He adds that the Government should come up with regulations to guide the industry as it President Apollo Milton Obote, who had a troubled end to his political career yet at the time he came to power, he was loved by many. In the song, Bugembe narrates how people chanted songs of praise when Obote came to power and how many fell in love with his articulate speeches, but as things turned out, the once loved president died in exile.
The song also talks about servants of God who end up refocusing their messages on the world other than the gospel they are called to preach. Bugembe explains that many times people have set good visions for their lives, but along the way, they are taken up by the love for money and other material things and they lose focus. “To me, this was a prayer seeking for God’s grows. John Kiguli, an upcoming gospel artiste says Malirize Bulungi is a guiding light that has seen him stick to what he believes he was called to do and sometimes uses it as a prayer for his own life.
“I do not want time to come in future and the fire or passion to sing for God has died out and may be I have turned into a secular artiste, so by listening to this song am quietly asking God to help me finish my mission with power and victory,” he says.
According Faridah Nakitende, a banker in Busia, Malirize Bulungi is a reminder for people to stick to God no matter the situation because at the end everyone will be remembered for who they were on earth. “In life we face a number of challenges and sometimes you may end up losing trust in God, but after listening to this song, you are inspired to hold on to your faith,” she adds.
He says though many have been pushing him to marry, when God’s right time comes, he will marry. “I have someone and I believe it is a matter of time and the wedding will be on,” he reveals. Bugembe, however, has a number of children under his care with whom he shares a home and have grown to know him as daddy.
Music, just like any other career, has got its own challlenges and these have affected Bugembe just like any other artiste. He says his music has sometimes been misinterpreted to mean totally different things especially by those who do not take time to listen and understand the content. His latest hit Mpangira Akawaala Ako, has been misinterpreted and the fact that he is still a bachelor, those who took the literal meaning thought he was still looking for a girl
Inspired by Bugembe's songs
Before you even talk about the songs he sings, Bugembe's character is good. He is kind and humble. No wonder he sings touching songs. He preaches about the real world through his music and you do not want to stop listening
All his songs are meaningful and inspiring. I love Malilize Bulungi because the song inspires me to do good things for the rest of my life on earth so that I can end my life well.
Bugembe is my best gospel music artiste. All his songs guide me while living in this world. His song Ani encourages me to hold on to my challenges.
To qualify for nomination, the song/ musician should meet the following requirements;
- Be Ugandan
- The composition must be original and not pirated
- Should convey deliberate messages advocating positive change
- Should mobilise the masses to demand accountability or a community cause
- Should highlight societal ills like corruption, poor governance, poor service delivery, oppression and human rights abuses
- The composition should drive people to reflect on issues affecting them and their community
- It should creatively communicate the message that it is possible for people to do something to better their situations
- The song should creatively bear a message to the leaders
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org You can also nominate via SMS type MUSIC (leave space) name of artiste (space) song and send to 8338. Alternatively, write to the Features Editor, P.O. Box 9815, Kampala or drop your nominations at any of the Vision Group bureau offices countrywide. Nominations close on January 15, 2014