RAGGA KING: Richard Kasendwa alias Ziza Bafana is one of the top ragga artistes who prides himself in the art. He spent time with his fans David and Tom with whom he shared his music journey and plans.
What has Ziza Bafana been upto?
I’m involved in a lot of projects. I have songs on rotation; Mavunya, Joker and Cash Cash, among others. But besides that, my new management (Pixel Media) and I are setting up my studios in Buziga. That aside, I am also planning a concert that I will be announcing soon. I am also starting up a band called Camouflage as well as opening up schools a few years from now where I will introduce my own syllabus.
Does that mean your children will not follow the Uganda syllabus?
I want them to decide what they want to do. If they want accounts, they will go for accounts; they will do courses they are comfortable with. I don’t want them to pile things in their heads that are not going to benefit them in the future. Imagine the amount of money your parents paid in school fees. Some even sold off their belongings to cater for your education and at the end of it all, you get a job and earn Shs300,000. All those years wasted for 300k. That is why I will take my child to school on the days I want to. I can’t pay over Shs1m and you tell me that my child has to be in class at 5am.
Are you saying education is bad?
Some have benefited from it while many haven’t. Look at the entertainment industry for example. Most of the popular musicians in Uganda are not learned. I want you to bring a learned minister or MP and we determine who is more famous and who people will listen to. I can do what he does yet he can’t do what I do. Education has limits while talent doesn’t.
What do you think of the Ugandan entertainment industry?
The industry in Uganda has two kinds of performers. We have artistes and musicians and the difference starts from the music composition. An artiste knows the music features, flow of the song, message behind the song, instruments required in a song, the difference in vocals and so on.
An artiste is someone who can create something new on every song he does while a musician will keep doing things the same way over and over again. A musician will sing because so and so is singing. A musician will buy a song, go to studio and get his song produced and have back-ups. He will only show face and do what others have done for him.
Artistes in Uganda are few while musicians are many.
Are we moving forward or lagging behind?
We are not going anywhere if we don’t change our mentality. I can give you an example of Nigeria’s music industry. Back then, we knew Nigeria as a football country but they are past that. They are now known as a music country. A Nigerian artiste will come to Uganda and get paid more than Shs50m. He will take it back to Nigerian while the youth who have paid to enter the show will stay broke. Imagine if it was us that travelled and got paid such an amount.
If a chance pops up for you to meet the President, what would you tell him?
I would ask him why he hasn’t given the youth a chance to express themselves and do what they are comfortable with. It is in Uganda that you find people who didn’t study anything writing stories in newspapers yet those who have media qualifications are not paid enough.
Why did you have to bring in the media?
The media plays a big role in the entertainment industry but that said, they also benefit from us. TV stations always invite us for interviews but can never facilitate an artiste with fuel or even a drink. After doing the interviews, they put them on their social network and millions of people view the video clip which turns to money at the
Ziza Bafana’s journey…
The first song I did was Abakazi Babatulugunya in 2008 but my breakthrough song was Mugumu, a collaboration with Kenzo. After that, I did Tebakulimba alongside Yiya Moze, among others.
I went to Bright Community Academy for my primary school, and then joined City View up to S.4. I dropped out and started repairing motorcycles, engaged myself in tomato farming, got saved and became a dancer in church. I did crusades and gospel music until one of my good friends, Mark Africa, advised me that my voice wasn’t meant for church.
ON UPCOMING CONCERT
I am going to change the venue from the previous one and the set up is going to be completely different. I have two reggae albums; one is zouk and the other is dancehall. If you want to listen to some of the songs on those albums, you have to be part of the concert.
ON BEEF WITH JAMAICAN ARTISTES
I respect most of those musicians because they inspired many people in the world but my problem with them is that they always take us for granted. They come here and lip-sync at concerts or just mime yet they are paid so much money which could be given to us instead. Bring me a Nigerian or an international artiste on the same stage and we shall see who will bow for the other.
I respect Eddy Kenzo so much because from trash, he has been able to raise the Ugandan flag so high. He’s a real definition of international. He’s not that educated but has a name and performs for thousands across the world.