Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Steven Odeke brings you how Angella Katatumba's music influences society.
While carrying out the interview at her hotel in Muyenga, where Angella Katatumba is the managing director, Supernatural Girl was coincidentally played on TV. It was not on a DVD player or anything,but this track, with a hard beat and sound, was relayed on one local Christian TV station.
She sprung from her seat excitedly, some of her employees joined in and together we watched the song. It is one song that has that RnB feel to it and can get you on the dance floor for its upbeat tempo, but along its journey you get the inherent message.
Supernatural Girl does not sound like a song for charity, neither does it sound like a wasted effort. It actually calls onto women to strive for success and not be overly submissive.
“Life is a race. Run your race to reach the finish line of success. That is how supernatural a woman can be,” says Katatumba. “The moment you veer off your race and decide to mind others, you will lag behind.”
Produced by Fenon’s Legend P, Katatumba was overwhelmed by the reception this song received soon after its release early this year. The song’s audio version went viral on the internet after notching 80,600 views on YouTube, making it one of the most listened to audios in Uganda. Angella’s Facebook page became themost liked in Uganda, with over 160,000 likes as a result of her song. The feedback from her fans streamed in glowingly on her Facebook account;
“Good to be supernaturally connected,” read one from Timothy Barongo.
Katushabe Cledy, based in Sudan, wrote on at the time; “If only you can send your song to South Sudan. We miss out not only on your videos but also audio, yet Ugandan music sells. One song on CD is sh700.”
Her dad summed it up; “Angella, I have seen your Facebook breakthrough in
Saturday Vision today. You have the biggest fan base in Uganda’s music industry through Facebook rating? Congratulations.We should all thank God for my great family in Jesus’ name.”
Katatumba says he wanted to convey a message through this song on how she moved on from her turbulent marriage that was laced with domestic violence to becoming a strong successful woman today.
“I have seen many women and girls suffer abuse in our country. They get to live in fear and endure it but its painful experience,” she said.
In relation to the song, according to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Okoth-Ochola, statistics show 72 people died as a result of domestic violence between January and April this year. Statistics also indicate that there were 2,461 victims and 1,339 cases of domestic violence reported by April this year.
“I did this song celebrating life and after learning that many women in Uganda still fear to live their lives. Either the society is stopping them from living their supernatural way or they are burdened with fear. So many of them are living the life I lived before but after I learnt to move on, life changed completely and that is the message I am trying to send out to all women in this song.”
“Before I came back to Uganda, I was once married to a man I loved so much. I loved this man so much that I even kept away my family and friends as he wished. But my marriage was not a bed of roses and I ended it because I was determined to live a successful and peaceful life. I was hurt, heartbroken and embarrassed before my family and friends and even wished my life ended while I slept, but I fought hard and moved on with life.”
Who is Angella Katatumba?
The Ugandan singer was born in Nairobi,Kenya to Honorary Consul of Pakistan in Uganda, H.E Dr. Boney Katatumba and Gertrude Katatumba, the proprietor AFK Beauty Clinic in Kabalagala, a Kampala suburb.
She attended Katatumba Academy and then went to Belmont Senior Secondary School in Vancouver, B.C, and Canada, where she also obtained a public relations diploma. She then went to Oxford Brookes University, England, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and law between 1996 and 1999, before obtaining a master's degree in international management/public relations in the same university.
In 2005, after over a decade away from Uganda, she returned to settle in Uganda and ventured into music. Over the years, she has recorded two albums and songs like Sikyetaaga (duet with Bebe Cool), Let’s Go Green, For You Gulu and Only You have stood out among her songs.
While in Uganda, one way of moving on from her past was to become philanthropist. That is why she started an NGO called the Angella Katatumba Development Foundation, which has overseen projects like For You Gulu and Let’s Go Green. That feat has earned her several accolades, including becoming the British Council Climate Change Icon in 2010.
Her charity projects had her feature on the international cable news TV stations like Al Jazeera (2010) Voice Of America (2009) and CNN (2006). In Uganda, Buzz Teens accorded her Uganda’s Teen’s Role Model Award 2007-2008.
Katatumba says she faces challenges convincing people that music done in English is global. She says most producers berate her for sticking to English instead of focusing on Luganda songs that can sell quickly.
“I know Luganda songs sell more, but English songs are appreciated worldwide. That is why I always tell people to not be followers because everyone does something. They should learn to lead and others will follow. I am not into music to make money, but convey an inspirational message.
Katatumba advises women to have that self belief and focus. “Women should believe in themselves and pray. They should be grateful for the little they have and maximise on it. Never give up.”
Precious Gwindi, a student of UCU I cannot say I am a big fan of Katatumba, but I have listened to some of her songs like Supernatural Girl. I like that particular song because it inspires women to besuccessful.
Susan Namaye, a business woman, Entebbe Supernatural Girl is a powerful song for all women to live life independently. I liked it for its message after I listened to it on youtube.
Akello Winfred, a social worker Why is it not playing on radios? I think this is one song that needsto be on radios because it asks women to live independent and stronger lives. We need such songs on radios.
Nic Amanda, a civilian Katatumba inspires me with her music. She is kind of unique compared to what we have on the local music scene. The song Supernatural Girl is good though we do not it see on television.
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.