Special Features
Tammy, the voice for the voiceless
Publish Date: Dec 17, 2013
Tammy, the voice for the voiceless
Little Tammy during the interview. Photo by Peter Busomoke
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Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you the story of 15-year old Little Tammy.

Even as a young girl, she had the passion to help vulnerable people. Her mother, Desire Mbabazi, noticed it when she would throw tantrums in the middle of the street whenever she refused to give a coin to a street child. “She would remind me of the money in the bag as if I did not know I had it, even when you would tell her the money is planned for something else, she would not take it,” says Little Tammy’s mother.

Little Tammy’s music appeals to both the old and the young. Her song Abaana B’egwanga loosely translated as the children of the nation that was released in 2012 is a true description of what she stands for and the impact she intends to create in the lives of the underprivileged children.

The song talks of the plight of children on the streets living in desparacy yet no one seems to care. In her song, she says this condition gives her sleepless nights while wondering who will rescue these children. “I was inspired by the fire that gutted Buddo Junior School and then the terror attacks that left many children orphaned. All these inspired me to fight for the protection of children,” she says.

Tammy explains that everyday, she feels the desire to change a life of a child and she can only do this through her music. Abaana B’egwanga highlights the fact that children are the future of the nation and if we cannot respond to their cries now, what will become of our country? “They are the leaders of tomorrow and if we continue to throw them in trenches and at dumping sites, we are as well burying the country,” she explains.

In this song, Tammy appeals to fellow artistes to come out and save the underprivileged children mentioning names like Judith Babirye, Chameleone, Mariam Ndagire, Pastor Wilson Bugembe, Juliana Kanyomozi among others. According to her mother, Tammy has been an inspiration to her as a mother and a woman. I no longer look at just my children, but even others, especially in the neighbourhood. “She does not do a song or collabo that does not concern children or women.

I always allow her to make decisions on what she wants to sing about,” her mother says. Peter Bahemuka, a senior programme officer at Raising Voices, a child rights organisation, talks of Tammy’s song as an inspiration that not only highlights children’s issues, but also calls for action. “Our hope is that people actually take action in fighting violence against children and this is the satisfaction such artistes deserve,” he says.

Bahemuka explains that as child rights activists, they appreciate Little Tammy’s songs because they have helped bring children’s concerns to the public eye.

Who is Little Tammy?

Born in 1998 to Mr and Mrs Musafiri, Tammy Namale aka Little Tammy is the eldest child in a family of four. She went to Kingsway School Seguku for her primary education from where she joined St Mary’s SS Kitende where she currently is in Senior Three.

She started singing at the age of six and her first song, Anthem for the Homeless, which she produced in 2007, was also about the plight of orphans and street children. “In the song, I called on everyone to lend a helping hand to the homeless children because every child needs a place where they feel secure and there is no better place than home,” she says.

Other music and inspiration

The theme of children and women’s rights and protection runs through almost all her songs. Her recent release Taasa Omuto (save the young one) was on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In this song, Tammy calls upon pregnant mothers to go for HIV tests. “It is only through testing that a mother can know their HIV status. This helps them adopt measures of how to prevent infecting the baby,” she explains.

The song also encourages mothers living with HIV/AIDS to take their medicine so that they can live longer for their children's sake. Little Tammy has also done other songs like Condemn and Togwaamu Suubi (do not lose hope), all of which are intended to inspire young people to stand up for their rights.

With three albums at just the age of 15, one would say this voice for the children and women is headed for bigger things given the fact that she hopes to continue with this cause throughout her music career path.

Power of music

She says she has been able to perform her music during children’s workshops and this has helped her reach out to her intended audience. “Recently, I was called to go and visted a sick child at Nsambya Hospital.

I was told the child insisted on seeing me and by the time we left, he was feeling much better and later discharged,” she narrates. She says music, if used positively, can go a long way in changing the world because everyone has a moment when they just want to listen to a song, but if there is nothing inspiring, they will go with what is available.

Challenges

You could say she is a young girl and maybe she will not be able to face the challenges that come with the industry, but you will be shocked that at just eight years, she shed tears when her concert flopped.

“We had spent a lot of money and time organising this concert and on the D-day it rained for much of the day and few people turned up,” she says. Little Tammy also highlights the lack of media attention as the other major challenge saying it is hard to get her music played on radio and television stations. “These people claim they want music that will attract listenership or viewership and these are mostly meaningless songs,” Tammy explains

Inspired by little Tammy's songs

Baker Walusimbi, insurance broker

Children have their rights, but then those rights should not be misused. The parents have to teach them good morals because their future can be ruined.

Winton Kabanda, designer

The song reminds everyone that the children are for the nation so that means every one should respect and give them guidance to make them responsible citizens

Ivan Kairu, ICT manager

Children should have their basic rights and basic needs, so that they do not have to look for them in the wrong way. Teach them to be satisfied with the little they have

To Nominate

Write to features@newvision.co.ug 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.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

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