Vision Group in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events are seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you what lies behind Henry Kiyaga ‘aka’ Hilderman ‘s music.
As the readers nominate, one gets to clearly understand the power music has got to change society because even with the so many songs playing out there, they are able to pick out those packed with positive messages.
Henry Kiyaga ‘aka’ Hilderman was nominated not for any other song, but for his song Ddembe lyo, though with not so much of airplay the big read Human rights are the greatest asset-Hilderman but packed with a l message that was relevant, especially at the time of its release.
Ddembe lyo, loosely translated as one’s right to freedom was released in 2012 just at the time when the media was awash with reports of land grabbing, child abuse and riots among others.
“There is no single day you will watch Agataliiko Nfuufu on Bukedde TV and fail to see a case of human rights abuse, especially on the most vulnerable groups in society, who include women and children.
The rate of illegal land evictions had become so rampant at the time to an extent that the President had to set up a special committee led by Lands state minister Aidah Nantaba to specifically handle these cases.
Kayunga which was referred to as a ‘hotbed’ of land wrangles happens to be home to one of the schools Hilderman went to.
Hilderman, however, explains that this was not just about Kayunga but the whole country because these issues were going on almost on a daily basis and not in one area.
“In the chorus, I talk about the fact that human rights are the greatest asset freely given and you would rather take away all the money in the world but let me enjoy my freedom.” he explains.
Hilderman says this song highlights such evils like corruption and this was because at the time a lot of probes were going on with many government offi cials implicated in embezzling government funds.
He adds that he teamed up with an organisation, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) so that he could be able to get the real picture of the injustices that were going on across the country.
Dembe lyo, as he explains also tackles the way police handles demonstrations and protests saying this has in most cases been characterised with a lot of human right abuse and the need for democracy in governance.
Livingtone Ssewanyana, Executive Director, FHRI who financially supported Hilderman on this song talks of the comprehensiveness with which the song was handled capturing the issues that were affecting people at the time.
“The fi rst time Hilderman sang this song was during a legal aid camp that we had organised in Wakiso and believe me even the old people stood up to dance to it and I think this is because it captures their everyday issues.” Ssewanyana explains.
Donald Bategeka, a businessman in Hoima says he has listened to this song a couple of times and found it very informative.
“Our priority in life is to be free but if someone takes it away from you, then they have robbed you of the most precious gift and as Christians we know how much Jesus paid for our freedom,” he adds.
According to Jaffer Ssenganda, president MCJL, the first time he heard it playing, he was inspired by the content of the song as it brought out all the abuses in society and to him such artists should be supported especially by civil society organisations.
“We need such artists that creative enough to highlight social issues and come up with such powerful songs to remind people of what they are entitled to as human beings,” he says.
Other songs and inspiration
Hilderman has also released some other songs that have been influential for change in society and among them is ‘Kampe’, a song that tries to makes it easier to ask for a condom from a store.
The song that was released in 2008, Hilderman says was his contribution on the fi ght against HIV/AIDS. “In most cases people fear to go and ask for condoms but by coming up with a slang such as ‘Kampe’ would make it easy and therefore promote safe sex,” he explains.
He also released another inspirational song in 2010 known as ‘Abitta Ebikutte’ translated as a call to God to clear the way of all obstructions.
Hilderman says he was inspired to sing this song after the death of his father and had lost hope but he remembered that all is not lost as long as he still trusted in God.
“Clients do not actually understand that professionally they are supposed to work through our managers and because you want to keep the relationship, you end up overworked,” he says.
He also notes that marketing their songs has been very hard since the charges are so high.
Joshua Lumansi Manager
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Hilderman’s song Ddembe Lyo has inspired me in that I have learnt to do what I feel like not what other family members want me to do. I advise Ugandans to be independent in whatever choices they make, not to depend on foreign infl uences.
Sam Luyinda computer importer on Kampala road The song Dembe Lyo has inspired me so much. I studied a different course from what I am doing. One does not have to force you to do a course you do not want.
Winton Kabanda graphic designer Never give up with life. That is what HilderMan’s song Dembe Lyo is about. It
is a song that should be heard by all Ugandans so that they do not give up. It inspires one to know that in life, good things
Mark Lubega, Senior Two student of Uganda Martyrs SS Namugongo Never abuse freedom. If you want peace,
make peace with others. Uganda has freedom , but it is being abused. I implore all to listen to Hilderman’s Dembe Lyo
Ronald Sseruyange , Senior Three student Seeta High Hilderman’s song Dembe Lyo makes me feel that my dreams will come true. The youth should use their talents to build up whatever they want, but they need the guidance of their parents.
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
To qualify for nomination, the musician should meet the following requirements;
❑ Be Ugandan
❑ The composition must be original and not pirated
❑ Have innovatively used their musical composition to convey deliberate messages advocating for positive change
❑ Have used their music to mobilise the masses to demand for accountability or for a community cause.
❑ Used their music to highlight societal ills like corruption, poor governance, poor service delivery, oppression and human rights abuses.