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Tuesday,August 11,2020 23:27 PM

Loss of my brother changed everything

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th September 2012 02:47 PM

Tshaka Mayanja, one of Uganda's longest serving musicians and jazz maestro has been at the forefront of spreading the genre.

Tshaka Mayanja, one of Uganda's longest serving musicians and jazz maestro has been at the forefront of spreading the genre.

Tshaka Mayanja, one of Uganda's longest serving musicians and jazz maestro has been at the forefront of spreading the genre. Rebecca Nalunga caught up with him.
 
When and where were you born?  
May 1972, Mulago Hospital
 
Which schools did you attend? 
Auntie Claire Nursery, Nakasero Primary, Budo Junior, Kings College Budo and Makerere College School. 
 
What course did you do at university?
I didn’t hit university. I had other dreams that needed following.  
 
What reaction did you get from family and friends when you decided to follow the unusual path of choosing your dreams over going to university? 
My dad is a bona fide academic, so you can imagine how disappointed he was.
 
Are you married? If so, to who and for how long? 
Nope! Even I wouldn’t marry me. Only beautiful folks get people to marry them, and as you can see, I ain’t. 
 
What is your fondest childhood memory? 
During the 1980 campaigns, my dad used to take us along to his campaign trail. It was unreal, but fun for a child. Actually, I was sent away to stay with my aunt who sadly passed away at her home in Mulago. She happens to be Jennifer Musisi’s mum. I spent election day in December 1980 with Jennifer, walking around Mulago and Wandegeya, and it greatly eased my tension. The day was calm, but at night, it was bullets flying all night long.

Where does your name, ‘TShaka’ originate and what does it mean? 
From the king of the Zulu, the great TShaka Zulu. I don’t know what it means yet. 
 
Why did you name yourself after the great Zulu warrior then?
I studied African History for A’level and fell in love with the Zulu empire and the wisdom, courage, strength and wit of king Tshaka.
 
How long has it taken you to grow your dreadlocks to that length? 
I last cut or combed my hair in early 1995, about 17 years ago. 
 
Who taught you how to play the Guitar? 
I taught myself, playing along Bob Marley & The Wailers music. I guess Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett taught me. 
 
Why did you switch from reggae to jazz? 
I didn’t switch. I’m a musician who chooses to play whatever takes my fancy. Reggae runs through my blood. 
 
When was your turning point? 
It is two points actually, but I don’t wanna talk about the first one. The other one is the day I lost the brother I follow. I’ve never recovered from that.   
 
What are your other hobbies? 
I follow a number of sports disciplines. Football, rallying, Moto GP (bikes), tennis, athletics, etc. Recently I started collecting Pro Remote Cars and I am starting Zulu RC Racing Team club. 

What is the most beautiful place you have ever visited?
Mmh, possibly Sydney Australia, though Kilembe Mines is also sublime. 
 
Do you have any regrets or lessons learnt in your music career? 
Oh yes! As many regrets as lessons. It all counts for experience. Most importantly, music demands your attention, it’s jealous. Loyalty, discipline and total commitment. 
 
What is your biggest achievement so far? 
Wow, so many achievements. I have pioneered lots of things as far as music and concerts in this country go. I am the last man standing, since I started music events as far back as 1989 in my S4!  I can confidently state that I raised Reggae music to a level no one else did here and in East Africa, right from writing to producing and recording, to performing and promoting international concerts. 

Loss of my brother changed everything

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