Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you Richard Kaweesa, who has helped some musicians reach greater heights.
Richard Kaweesa is one artiste who has encouraged many artistes we celebrate today in the music industry, but never comes out demanding acknowledgement for his role in their success. It is until one puts him under pressure that he admitted his role in the careers of artistes like Bebe Cool and Chameleone. “I pride in knowing that my efforts have benefi tted someone and these people have gone on to do the same to others. That’s my glory, but not going around shouting it to whoever cares to hear,” he says.
Kaweesa has done so many songs that even he, himself does not know the exact number and many have impacted the lives of Ugandans. He was nominated for his song that was recorded in 2010 called Tusonge, a Kiswahili word for moving forward. He says the song was inspired by a gradual observation on people from different communities and age groups and one thing he noticed was that as people talked, they always glorifi ed the past and painted a gloomy picture about the future.
This song does not fall short of his creativity for he applies the imagery of the unwavering fl ow of the River Nile, that even when it reaches the beautiful places, it does not stop, but continues to fl ow until its final destination. “I want us to start envisioning our future, now that we have clocked 50 years, what do we want to see when Uganda clocks 100 and the young children ask us what we did in the last 50 years,” he explains.
He adds that we cannot continue to live the future of our great grandfathers, but we need to work for our own and Tusonge is intended to create that desire in everyone. “The only way we can achieve this is by moving forward because this is an achievement of those that were here before us,” he says. Kaweesa explains that this song was done ahead of the Uganda at 50 celebrations in 2012 under a project he code named I’m Ugandan.
Under the same project, Kaweesa worked with 17 local artistes and they came up with a 17—song album. One other song on that album that was quite relevant at the time was the I’m Ugandan song. And to capture the different audiences he used a number of artistes to do a personal version of the song. Such artistes like Juliana, Pastor Wilson Bugembe, Judith Babirye, Lillian Mbabazi and the Goodlyfe crew had different versions of this song.
Kaweesa says that people from different social groups have shared with him the impact this song has had on their lives. The Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi ,,for example, enjoyed Judith Babirye’s version and one presidential advisor who was travelling upcountry after losing a relative said the Lillian Mbabazi’s version of this song strengthened her all through her journey. “We need to love our country no matter how much pain we have infl icted on her go through, she is still the most beautiful thing we have,” he notes. The icing on this album was the offi cial Jubilee song, Yoga Yoga, a song many had turned into a ringtone.
Still on this he worked with a team of artistes after he put together the lyrical content. Kaweesa says he took on this project to prepare Ugandans for the Jubilee celebrations and the only way to do this was through music. “I wanted something that could be owned by every Ugandan and there would have been no better choice than Yoga Yoga, having positive meaning in at least fi ve different languages,” he explains.
Kaweesa has worked with musicians like Bobi Wine
Who is Richard Kaweesa
He was born on May 5, 1977 in Entebbe to Khaddu Bagenda and Rose Nagawa. Kaweesa went to Bugonga Boys Entebbe then St Theresa for Primary Three to Five and later left for the United States. He came back at the age of 10 was homeschooled but sat for his Primary Leaving Examinations at Nakasero Primary School. Then went to Nyakasura School in Fort Portal for Senior One and here, he was pivotal in the formation of a school band. He left Nyakasura and joined Kyambogo College for the remaining part of O’ level.
He joined Old Kampala Secondary School for A’level. “I joined Old Kampala because of their teaching schedule that ran upto around 3:00pm. It would allow me do my music since I had already won a contract with the German Record label for an album, while I was in my Senior Four vacation,” he says.
The rest as he explains, has been personal effort to prove that he has actually learnt all that he needs to take him through life, he was the production consultant for the movie, Last King of Scotland. And currently he runs a consultancy fi rm, Spirit of Africa.
Other music and inspiration
Kaweesa had another inspiring song, Hakuna Matata, a song that has contributed greatly towards the integration. The other song he did was Ssemusajja Agenda back in 1998 that advocated safe living. This was at the time when the HIV/ AIDS prevalence rates were high in the country. And Kaddingo, a song he did with Bobi Wine to promote the use of toilets.
INSPIRED BY KAWEESA’S SONGS
Francis Malunda, an Electrician
Through the song Yoga Yoga, I got to understand what the whole jubilee celebration was about. The song made me feel part of the celebrations because everywhere one went, it was being played. We can now celebrate 50 years of independence
Erinah Nabwire, a student and musician
Kaweesa is incredibly talented because his songs talk about real life issues affecting society. His songs make me feel truly African, the sense of independence is re— ignited in me and I am now inspired to work harder.
Paul Nyamutale,a businessman
Listening to his songs makes me proud to be Ugandan. I get the confidence that we can do anything because we are not lesser mortals. For instance, as a businessman, I get to think that I can also go and invest in foreign countries.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org Catch the Musicians Making a Difference Recognition ceremony live on the four Vision Group TV stations of Urban TV, Bukedde 1, Bukedde 2 and TV West on January 31 from 7:30pm – 8:30pm