Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you what lies behind Judith Babirye's music
It is one of those songs that have given listeners hope, courage and the will to push on in the hardest of times. Judith Babirye’s song, Omukisa gwa Mukama (the blessing of God) was composed in 2011 at the height of eviction of vendors from Kampala city streets. It was a song to inspire people, especially those affected by the evictions not to resign to fate but pick up the pieces and move on.
“The truth is, we are all going through tough times," Babirye says. "In this song, I try to tell people that they are not where they are by mistake, but rather for a reason and whatever happens, God will see them through,” she explains. Her other hit, Survivor, came out in 2012 still at the time of economic hardship occasioned by global economic downturn and many had lost hope.
Babirye says after encountering a number of challenges from both those she trusted and her own church, she could still stand strong, the reason she came up with this song. “When you are sinking, many will stand aside, watch and laugh or even hide away from you. It is only true friends we can count on during such hard times,” she says.
Survivor, according to Babirye, is meant to encourage those going through hard times and make them understand that there is victory after perseverance. The songstress who has graced the music industry for the last 10 years is an inspiration to many and her music transcends culture, religions and education background.
She talks of the many testimonies she has received from people who have been changed by her music - one of them a man who was about to commit suicide but changed his mind on hearing Babirye’s songs playing in the background and was inspired to face life all over again.
Who is Judith Babirye?
With an infectious smile, Babirye was born in Nyenga Village, Buikwe district to Mr and Mrs Mukoza. She attended Nalinya Lwantale Primary School in Luwero district and Ndejje and Iganga SS for O' and A' levels respectively. Secondary School . While in he then joined Makerere University graduating in 2001 with a Bachelors Degree in Tourism.
However, while in Senior Two at Ndejje, Babirye won the music composition festivals in which they were tasked to compose the school anthem. At Iganga, she also composed the school anthem sparking off her musical career.
Other songs and inspiration
Her song Maama, that talks about a mother’s unfailing love for her child, is another of her songs that has helped many people learn to appreciate their parents, especially the mothers. Babirye’s Beera Nange (Lord be with me), is another song that saw everyone irrespective of their spiritual leaning listen to over and over again. With about 15 albums under her sleeve, Babirye seems more energised and at the top of her career.
Marriage and family Babirye is a proud mother of a seven-year-old girl, Nana Mulungi Li’Annointed. She says her team, including her two sisters takes care of her daughter whenever she travels. About marriage, Judith says she is still waiting on God to bring her the right man. “As human beings, we plan, but it is God who fulfills. It is not that I want to be like this all my life. If I am meant to get married, I will one day. But if God’s plan is otherwise, I will be happy that way,” she says.
Just like in any other career, Babirye has also had a fair share of challenges, among them is varied expectations of her fans. “Sometimes when you do something, a section of your fans appreciates it while others do not,” she says. She notes that people’s expectations of her are high and they do not expect her to make mistakes. “I no longer own my life; the fans do, they choose what they want me to do and what I should not do, so sometimes we end up clashing and I do not like that,”Babirye says. The failure of the copyright law has also affected Babirye just as it has done to other artists and this has reduced the value of her music. She hopes this will be sorted
Inspired by Babirye's songs
Namirembe Prossy, business lady Babirye's Survivor, inspires me to go and make money even in hard conditions. I have tried many businesses, but robbed many times. Since I listened to Survivor, i have not given up on my business no matter the situation.
Jimmy Mulinde, student
Babirye's Omukisa gwa mukama, makes me happy to have a mother who has raised us as a single parent. She struggled to meet all our needs and she is a blessing to me. All children with single parents should be calm and God will provide
Juilet Nankya a resident of Kiwanga Mukono
Judith Babirye's song, Survivor, makes me calm. It reminds me of life after I failed to get money to continue with my education. I will not give up because I want to be an important person in society and help the disadvantaged
Deborah Namulondo, Musician
I have not got a promotion at my work place, but Judith Babirye's song, Survivor,has made me strong. I am hopeful that some day God will see me through it. I call on Ugandans to listen to the song because it gives courage and hope
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 email@example.com 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