GONE: Death is one of the things that come unexpected. Even when one is ill, we hold onto hope and the possibility that things could/might just turn around. And in 2017, death did not spare the entertainment industry, taking with it some good people.
Dizzy Nutts (November 5)
Deep-voiced ragga artiste Denis Galiwango popularly known by his stage name, Dizzy Nutts may have faded off the music scene, but at the time of his peak, he made quite a name. His death was so painful, considering he was knocked dead by a reckless diver around Victoria Club in Kireka at 2am after a performance. According to Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy Spokesman Luke Owoyesigyire, two other people were involved in what he referred to as a ‘hit-and-run’ accident but the musician died on the spot.
Witnesses said Dizzy Nutts was knocked as he chatted with Bebe Cool who was in his car. It was even rumoured that Bebe Cool was the target as the killer who was driving a Toyota Harrier drove straight into the artiste’s Hummer before speeding off. Galiwango’s body was taken to Mulago for postmortem before a vigil was held at his parents’ home in Kireka. The musician is survived by three children and their mother Winnie Nakalyango. He was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Jandira-Kyasa village, Mpigi District. Among the songs Dizzy Nutts will be remembered for are Fire Burn Dem and Mundongo, which he did with Bebe Cool.
Socialite Ivan Semwanga (May 25)
If you have been keen, you must have noticed that there is something a little different about this December? We do not feel the presence and oomph of the baSummer invasion. And that reality hit us on May 25 when flamboyant Ugandan businessman and socialite Ivan Ssemwanga died at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa.
Ssemwanga had been admitted in critical condition and he spent 11 days in intensive care but sadly died of heart-related conditions. “God loves those that are special and that is exactly who you were and I guess that’s why he wanted you to himself. You have touched and helped thousands, you did wonders and I remember you telling me ‘life is too short Zee let me live it to the fullest’, this very dark hour it makes sense why you always said those words to me. To your sons, you were a hero-some kind of superman. Anyone who has ever been in your presence knows what a charming person you were. You will be missed and remembered in so many ways.
You were IVAN THE GREAT!” socialite Zari Hassan wrote of her ex-husband.
Popularly known as the president of the Rich Gang, the 40-year-old, who was famed for throwing lavish parties, open bars and giving out money, was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Nakalilo Village, Kayunga District on May 30. Ssemwanga’s death paralysed the social scene and his burial made news as members of his crew threw money and poured champagne into his grave before his burial. With Ivan gone, one thing for sure is that Decembers on the social scene will not be the same for a while.
Mulindwa Muwonge (July 19)
Renowned radio personality Mohammed Mulindwa Muwonge passed on at Nsambya Hospital ICU where he had been admitted for a week. The death of Muwonge was confirmed in a tweet by his former employers: “UBC with deep sorrow announces the death of Star FM’s Programmes Manager and on air personality Mulindwa Muwonge RIP.”
It was claimed that the veteran radio personality was battling low blood pressure. Muwonge was one of the longest serving radio personalities whose journey started at Central Broadcasting Station where he became popular in the 1990s for his critical stance against some government programmes. He then joined Super FM, a Rubaga-based radio started by Peter Sematimba and later went to Star FM. Muwonge who died at 54, had just completed his Law degree at Islamic University in Uganda and was due to sit his Law Development Centre entry exams. He was laid to rest at his ancestral home at Mwalo, Masaka District.
DJ Jamal Goonya Kyeyune (November 6)
Clients and patrons of Laftaz Bar as well as music lovers got the shock of their lives when Laftaz resident DJ, Jamal Kyeyune, passed on last month. It was reported that he passed away at Mulago hospital where he had been admitted pending an operation. It is further said he had been battling kidney-related problems for more than a year which was the cause of his death. At the beginning of this year, DJ Jamal was admitted to Nsambya hospital for an operation but it did not take place because of limited funds and there were plans by colleagues to start a car wash campaign to raise money but it did not kick off as he opted to be treated at Mulago hospital. Jamal was buried in Katosi, Mukono District and he is survived by twins currently staying with their mother in Germany.
Danz Kumapeesa (October 7)
For four months, Producer Daniel Mukisa aka Danz Kumapeesa lay paralysed and unable to speak until his final days in Nsambya Hospital. The death of this budding producer hurt many. Not only because he was just 23 years old at his passing, but also because of the circumstances that surrounded his death.
Danz succumbed to injuries inflicted on him by thugs who beat him into coma on June 6 as he returned home from studio. For the months that he lay in hospital, bills accumulated and a fundraiser was organised, collecting only Shs7m. Bebe Cool then embarked on a Shs5m campaign from top artistes and a concert was organised to pool funds, only for some unscrupulous people to ‘eat’ the money.
On October 7, the producer died at his mother’s home in Makindye and was buried two days later at his ancestral home in Kabanyolo, Gayaza. He will be remembered for producing songs such as Rema’s Yo Sweet, Winnie Nwagi’s Musawo, Bebe Cool’s Mbozi Za Malwa, and Ykee Benda’s MunaKampala.
Dennis Rackla (January 13)
It feels like a year ago when Denis Rackla, real name Dennis Mpiima, died but it was in January this year when a fatal car accident robbed us of the old school artiste as he returned from his farm in Kayunga. “He hit a tree on the roadside as he tried to avoid knocking a child who was crossing the road. He was in a car with his mother,” Hemdee Kiwanuka, a close friend, said. Rackla was taken to Mulago hospital but doctors could only do so much to save his life. The singer/songwriter and producer was famed for the songs Mungatto and Kabiite which he did with Desire Luzinda. He was nominated for writing songs Njakunooba and Newadeyo by Iryn Namubiru, Tokyuse Mwami by Priscilla Kalibala, Tombowa Mukwano by Juliana Kanyomozi and Kibaduguda by Halima Namakula. A vigil was held in Nansana at his place and he was buried at Masooli Gayaza in Wakiso District.
Sylvia Nandutu (October 30)
October did end on a sad note for singer Gravity Omutujju following the death of one of his top dancers Sylvia Nandutu. The woman who featured in many videos including Same Way by Geosteady and Lydia Jazmine, Ta Amazzi by Amooti and most of Gravity Omutujju’s videos such as Luswata, died on admission at Mulago hospital.
The dancer is said to have travelled with Gravity for a performance in Mbale but arrived late at the venue, angering revellers. Chaos erupted, prompting Gravity to flee the scene, leaving his crew members on stage including Sylvia. It is believed that she was badly beaten by the mob yet she was a few months pregnant which affected her appendix. The dancer was later admitted to Mulago hospital but unfortunately she passed on due to the bad injuries and she was laid to rest the following day in Mayuge. Nandutu is survived by three children.
Saxess Busulwa (December 13)
Popular songwriter Saxess Busulwa aka Lyrical Mathematics passed on this month at Rubaga Hospital in Kampala after a failed abdominal surgery. Saxess was reportedly involved in a motorcycle accident in 2007 and had since suffered physical complications that saw him in and out of hospital. He will be remembered for writing songs such as Fire Tonight by Rema, Gold Digger by Jackie Chandiru, Butterfly by Nameless, Endiba by Juliana, and Awo by Leila Kayondo. Saxess was buried in Kyengera at Mugogo.
Sergeant (rtd) Kifulugunyu (November 14)
Steven Sempagala better known as Sgt Kifulugunyu died on November 14 on his way to hospital after suffering an epileptic attack. The former army man is remembered for composing morale boosting songs during the NRA bush war and his major role was to entertain fighters. One of his famous songs is Omoto nawaka which he composed in 1984 after joining the NRA rebels. Sgt Kifulugunyu is said to have died a miserable man who was making ends meet through selling water packed in polythene bag. He died at 74, having served the army for 43 years and retired in 2008. His other songs included Nitasonga and Kino Kye Kiseera. He was married to Saudha Nalubega and is said to have had many children and, like his father, could not tell the exact number. The singing soldier was buried at his ancestral home in Namiringa-Kasanda, Mubende District.