Vision Group in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events are seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you Irene Ntale a musician who has picked up interest in singing about politics in the country
At least one in every three women worldwide has been abused, beaten, raped or suffered domestic violence. Sadly, for most of these women, justice will never be served.
This unfortunate reality was the backdrop of Jamal Wasswa’s latest song, Abakyala Balabye. The song, which is loosely translated as “pity women”, was released in August. Its theme is the challenges and trials women suffer. “My message is that it is not right to mistreat women,” he
Jamal adds that through his music, he also wanted to empower women to resist any injustice meted out on them because it is their human right to be treated fairly. Women are the mothers of our children and should be treasured because more
often than not, they are dependable and are focused on developing the families and communities.
In Abakyala Balabye, Jamal also preaches that everyone is equal before God. He emphasises how women work long hours yet their efforts are rarely appreciated, even when they have attained the highest level of education or hold high-ranking positions at their workplaces.
Some men still look down upon women. Worse still when women are searching for jobs, men take advantage of their desperation to abuse them sexually under the guise of ensuring that they will get the jobs they are searching for.
In the same song, Jamal testifies that he has seen well-educated women being forced to quit their jobs because their husbands are afraid other men will snatch them.
“Such thinking is backward and absurd. People who reason like that are living in the past. Why do women go to school if they cannot practice what they studied?” Jamal wonders.
Abakyala Balabye comes from the same mould as most of Jamal’s earlier songs, which revolve around women so much that he has been, tagged a “ladies’ man”.
The singer says he was inspired by what he sees every day about women are undervalued and mistreated, especially by men.
The song is R&B fused with Afro, which has such positive energy that many women love it.
Jamal says he has received a lot of positive feedback from women about his songs, with some saying they appreciate his work, while some men have also hailed him saying, it is time for men in Uganda to change and treat women in a dignifi ed manner.
Who is Jamal?
Jamal was born in Masaka in Senyange village to Mariam Nantongo and the late Muhammad Mutabazi. He is the last-born of seven children. He came to Kampala when he was five years old.
He went to Kisugu Primary School, Kakungulu Memorial and Kitende SSS, and then proceeded to Makerere University, but
dropped out before completing his degree course in social sciences.
Before Bakyala Balabye, Jamal did Bakyala Bazira, meaning ‘women are heroes’, a song in which he showers praises on women. He also composed “Omusomesa,” a love song, in which he highlights the plight of a person who was hurt
so badly in a previous relationship that when he found a new partner, he was trust her, so he implores his mother to teach him how to love.
His Soka Osabe, (pray first), is a gospel song that encourages people to pray before doing anything.
“In whatever you do, you should seek God’s guidance. You pray that God helps you to stay focused on whatever you are doing. You had friends, who are no more. You have been spared for a purpose, you need to pray,” implores the song.
Jamal says the greatest challenge in the music industry is that everything is done in a rush. A musician must always be on
standby because promoters tend to call them up for abrupt engagements.
He also says some men have also accused him making their wives arrogant and rebellious. “They say my songs defend women and some men are not happy. There is a man, who told me that every time he comes home his wife plays
him Abakyala bazira song with the intention of annoying him.”
Message to public
“Whatever you do, remain focused, as long as what you are doing develops the country, you and your family, and doesn’t harm anybody. Some things take long to materialise; you don’t have to give up. Treat everybody the way you would love to be treated,” he says.
INSPIRED BY JAMAL'S SONGS
Beatrice Birungi, a teacher
Jamal is my favourite artist. He is a good focused artist, not like others involved in fights. I really love his music, which
I listen to as I eat and sleep. Abakyala balabye is one song which inspires us women; he sympathises with the female
sex for the troubles they suffer daily. But I also love Omusomesa; it is my ringtone on my phone. Jamal is a class apart.
Stella Maris Bukirwa, National Youth Council of Uganda
I am a gospel artist. Jamal is one of the few talents Uganda has today that can truly boast of genuine vocal strength, as opposed to studio-engineered ‘talent.’ I love particularly his Sooka Osabe, this song makes me cry.
Julie Angume, a singer
We should give credit where it is due. Jamal’s songs are ageless. They are the kind of songs that you will listen to even
after a decade. All his songs are inspiring. I love Bakyala bazira; he is one person, who has credited women.
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
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.