Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Andrew Masinde profiles Hafuzalum Lule, who believes one good turn deserves another
The Ugandan music industry seems easy to penetrate considering the sea of singers out there. However, there are also many young singers who are trying hard to break into the industry in vain. Hafuzalum Lule, who goes by the stage name, Munna U Operator, would probably be in the same boat with them, if it was not for the messages in some of his songs that have helped him get a foothold in the industry.
Lule’s song, Siiga Akapande (paint your signpost), has become something of a hit. You just cannot ignore it. The song asks people to pay attention to the legacy they leave behind. “What people do now should determine their legacies,” says Munna U Operator.
Inspiration for ‘Siiga Akapande’
Lule says he composed the song out of his own experience in high school. “There was this man who lived close to our school and had a big plantation of fruits. He was so mean with them that they could even rot in the garden.
Unfortunately, he passed away. But instead of mourning him and sympathising with the family, most students mocked him, calling upon his fruits to bury him. “One of his sons, who was a student at the school, was also constantly taunted by other students because of his father’s behaviour.
This made him so uncomfortable that he eventually left the school,” recalls Lule. The song advises those in positions of authority to fight for the people they lead instead of working for their own benefit.
Lule urges politicians to fulfil the promises they make when they are campaigning, saying they will be asked to account for them. Siiga Akapande also cites many politicians and leaders around the world whose death makes people celebrate, saying this means they left a bad signpost behind.
The song reminds people to always reflect on that day when they will die and what the world will say. It calls for people to help one another.
Who is Lule?
Lule was born in 1993 in Wobulenzi, Luwero district. He went to Maganjo Bright Academy and Mulusa Academy Wobulenzi for his primary school education. He later joined St. Charles Lwanga Senior Secondary School for O’level, then Jakayz Senior School for A’level in 2012. His father passed away when Lule was still a young boy.
His mother struggled to pay his school fees. “My mother advised me to take on any opportunity that came my way. Since I was interested in music, I decided to try it,” Lule says.
Lule says his interest in music started in primary school, where he used to sing in the school choir. Because of his good voice and talent, he became a leader of the school choir.
This also won him a sponsorship at St. Charles Lwanga Senior Secondary School. In 2011, he took singing seriously while in Senior Five. “When my mother saw my interest in music, she supported me. She would advise me to be careful and not to get spoilt. I started composing songs that I could produce and people liked them,” Lule says.
Last year when his music picked up, he decided to write the song that has won many hearts, Siiga Akapande.
Abakyala Bagumila Bingi (women go through a lot) calls on the community to respect women because they withstand a lot of challenges such as men making them pregnant and denying responsibility. Many such women go on and give birth.
Some men deny their children and the mothers still take care of the babies. The song also shows the different injustices that some mothers face. They are treated like outcasts and prisoners yet the biggest percentage of a child’s upbringing is by the mother. Sirina Dola, another song, calls on women not to search for only men who have wealth, but also consider those who do not because the two can work as a couple to amass wealth. In Sweet Sugar, a love song, Lule praises the beauty of women
Inspired by Lule's Songs
Dorah Kalanzi, a sales executive
Lule is far better than some artistes who claim to be famous yet their songs do not have any message that can advance society. Besides being talented, Lule’s songs have transformed my life, especially Maama Wange, which praises mothers. Whenever I listen to it, I reflect on the way my mother struggled to see that I become what I am today.
Fifi Da Queen, a TV presenter
I know Lule’s songs, but there is a particular one called Siiga Akapande, whose title I have heard people using as a slogan, encouraging them to leave a good legacy. Abakyala Bagumila Bingi has also made men and children to respect their mothers
Fred Mpagi, a technician
Although Lule is an upcoming artiste, his songs are educative and inspirational to the youth. If he continues with that spirit, he will become a great musician
Veron Nakayima, a journalist
I have watched his songs on television, but the one I like most is Maama Wange. It has a lot of meaning and shows the contribution of mothers to our wellbeing. In future I will also pass on the same knowledge to my children
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