Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, has been profiling artistes whose compositions advance society. The project ends today with Gloria Nakajubi examining the contributions of Edson Nimwesiga in this regard
Edson Nimwesiga, who goes by the stage name Jare, is a true description of reggae band Morgan Heritage’s lyrical phrase “You don’t have to dread to be a rasta”. Although he is a reggae artiste, Nimwesiga does not have dreadlocks, which are commonly associated with them. Nimwesiga also stopped smoking marijuana over 10 years ago. After carrying out a personal evaluation of his life and what he wanted to be, he realised drugs were going to be his biggest downfall. Slowly, he gave up the addiction.
According to Nimwesiga, reggae has been misconceived and misrepresented by some people. He says it is a language for people who believe in good for all humanity. Having gone through a number of trying experiences, he composed Bad Man State, the title track for his first album, released in 2008. Bad Man State is an expression of the pain that he and his family went through during the past regimes. “My family lost a lot of property. Although I was young at the time, I could see the pain my parents went through to make ends meet after the loss,” he says.
In Bad Man State, he sings: “God forbid, I don’t wish to see that bad man state again, God forbid my children should not see that bad man state again.” Nimwesiga observes that a number of people have taken the prevailing peace and stability for granted. In Bad Man State, he appeals to the Government and the opposition to be mindful of their actions, saying this eventually affects the common man. In one of the verses, Nimwesiga calls on the opposition to stop protests.
On the Bad Man State album is a song Take It or Leave It, which Nimwesiga says was inspired by multiparty politics. Nimwesiga notes that after multiparty politics was initiated, a number of families broke down and relatives went up against each other.
He calls for unity, saying even when people belong to different political inclinations, it does not change the fact that they are brothers and sisters. In the song We Are One, Nimwesiga says there is a need to look out for each other. He composed the song after the post-election violence in Kenya. “It was a sad time watching people kill each other just because they belonged to different tribes,” he says.
Who is Nimwesiga?
He was born 38 years ago to Jonah Komugisha and the late Jackson Kabwajare in Mbarara district. The fourth in a family of nine children, Nimwesiga went to Biharwe Mixed Primary School, before joining Lake Mburo Senior Secondary School for his O’level. His parents could not afford to pay his school fees after O’level, so he joined Nakawa Vocational Training Institute in 1998 for a course in electrical fitting and installation.
After the course, he began working as a technician at Thermocool, an air conditioning company in Kampala, for eight years. By the time he resigned in 2013, he was a manager in charge of technical training and quality assurance. He currently runs a technical centre to help equip young people with practical skills that can enable them become job creators.
Joining music and inspiration
“I used to walk from Kireka along the railway line to my workplace in Industrial Area everyday and I would keep wondering what my talent was because I was sure everyone in this world has one,” Nimwesiga says.
Later, he realised he could sing. In 2007, he began exploiting his talent. Nimwesiga says music can be used to make or break a nation, the reason he is cautious about his lyrics. When you listen to his music, the choice of words is well-thought through.
James Adiga, an engineer, says: “I have listened to Nimwesiga’s music and it has inspired me to look out for the vulnerable people such as children and the poor. It does not make sense to be happy when your neighbour does not have anything to eat.”
Inspired by Nimwesiga
Ras Pap, a reggae artiste
If properly directed, reggae music can make a huge impact in society. Having been in this industry for over 18 years, I believe Nimwesiga has breathed new life into it.
Alex Muhangi, a producer, Fenon Records
Bad Man State is relevant to the current times and no one would want to return to the days when there was turmoil. We need to appreciate the prevailing peace and stability.
Geofrey Emutu, a manager, Multi Computers and Laptops
Nimwesiga’s music should be a daily prayer of each and every person who loves peace. In everything we do, let us endeavour to work for the good of all.
Stella Kwagala, a musician
What goes around always comes around, so they say. If we always seek to do good, we shall avoid going back to hard conditions. Nimwesiga put this message out clearly through his song, Bad Man State
Ronnie Bukenya, a pianist
Ugandans have a fresh memory of the past and do not want to go back to the past. Wars, tribalism and religious conflicts should not be part of our lives and we should never allow them to reoccur.
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 today January 31 from 7:30pm – 8:30pm