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Katatumba using music to change lives


Angella Katatumba with her fan Mike Mukiisa whom she shared with about her projects. Photo by Isaac Ssejjombwe

Fighting for mulago: She may seem like she is off the scene, but don’t be deceived. Angella Katatumba is still active on the music scene, only that her focus is on creating awareness, especially about the condition on Mulago hospital. She met her fan Mike Mukiisa.

You are not so active in the music industry these days. Where are you putting your effort?
Music is my first love and will always be, but at the moment, my charity work is extremely demanding. It is a little hard to sing mindlessly about love when for example, the situation in Mulago hospital is alarming. I would rather put my music efforts into singing about Mulago hence the Mulago Yaffe song to raise awareness about the situation.

What inspired you to join the music industry?
Since I was a little girl, I have always been interested in singing. I joined the school choir and I would also watch and mimic Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton. I learned everything they did vocally. My parents noticed my love for singing, so when I went to Canada for high school, my father paid $40 (about Shs100,000) an hour for my vocal lessons.

How do you call your style of music?
Afro Soul.

Besides music, what else do you do?
I run an NGO called the Angella Katatumba Development Foundation (AKDF). Under this NGO I run a number of projects, including ‘For You Gulu’, ‘Let’s Go Green’, Supernatural Girl and ‘Mulago Yaffe’. I mainly use my music to promote awareness about these projects. I am also the managing director of Hotel Diplomate in Muyenga.

Among the collaborations you have, which is your best and why?
I equally love and I am proud of all my collaborations with Bebe Cool, Radio and Weasel, Butchaman, Navio and Keko. But the most significant was Let’s Go Green featuring Keko, because the British Council had appointed me climate change ambassador and part of the job was to record a song and video which was Let’s Go Green. The song and video were huge hits. On top of that, I was flown to Cancun Mexico for the Global Climate Change Summit where my song was one of the theme songs at the summit and I got to perform it on an international level for heads of states, ministers and distinguished guests.

What do you think of the music industry in Uganda?
I think it is growing slowly, but surely.

We heard that you donated Shs10m to Mulago hospital. What is the project all about and why did you get involved?
I unfortunately had an aunt and uncle who recently passed away at Mulago. When I went with family to visit them, we found the situation awful.
The hallways were highly congested with patients sitting and sleeping in the corridors, it was almost impossible for us to see our patients and when we did get to them, they were in rooms that seemed to have been bathrooms.
It was that experience that made me decide to do something about the problem. So I decided to personally donate Shs10m through AKDF for the hospital’s most urgent need at the time, which was the Special Care Unit.
I started the ‘Mulago Yaffe’ campaign and recorded a song called Mulago Yaffe to help raise awareness about the situation in Mulago hospital.

Which kind of patients are benefiting from this cause?
My donation was made to the Special Care Unit where the premature babies are. So the Shs10m was used to buy a phototherapy machine and a syringe pump that save the lives of 60 premature babies every week in Mulago. But the Mulago Yaffe campaign is geared to raising awareness and help any urgent needs at Mulago hospital. Our next donation will be to the cancer institute.

You recently became the ambassador of the Uganda Bikers. Why did they have to choose you?
The Uganda Bikers saw my donation to Mulago hospital and were inspired and that is why they approached me to join the Mulago Yaffe campaign and to further appoint me their ambassador.
What do you know about bikes and have you ever owned one?
Unfortunately, I have no clue about motorbikes and I even fear them. But I am sure the Uganda Bikers won’t accept that excuse and will teach me everything about bikes in no time, and wipe away all my fears.

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