RETURN OF BIG SIZE: For two months now, Bebe Cool has been on a break from public performances, following an incident at the Tarrus Riley show. Now the Wasibuka Wa artiste will be returning in action next Wednesday at his annual Tondeka Ekiwatule show. Isaac Ssejjombwe caught up with him on what life was like on ‘forced leave’..
1. Congs on the Afrima award. Were you surprised by the win, seeing you were pitted against Diamond? What does this award mean to you?
It was not a surprise because I never participate in awards. You all saw what happened a few years ago when I decided to distance myself from awards, because their basis has nothing to do with the success of an artiste. My interest is achievements and tangible success. I am not degrading any awards. I value them, but when East African artistes front awards against tangible financial success, it does not make sense. Look at Lucky Dube; he was so successful in life but without awards.
This specific award was important because we really needed to make a statement. Even if we are silent, we are still there and we are the majority. Otherwise, if you put me on the same stage with Diamond, I will beat him hands down via performance, vocals, experience and everything else. The only difference would be that Tanzania is bigger than Uganda but when you talk about awards, Ugandans can also vote.
2.What have you been up to ever since you were chased off stage?
Every man has to prepare for ups and downs. You have to be in position to survive and adapt. I am one of the people who can adapt to any situation since I started singing. I have gone through a lot so mere bottles on stage cannot be compared to the bullets and the time I lost my wife for nine months; that is the worst that can happen to anyone, not 20 bottles from a thousand people. That was like a game to me. Coincidentally, the timing gave me a chance to get the holiday I deserved. I needed to re-strategise, buy equipment because it was already in plan for one and a half years but I had not got the time.
Did I miss the stage? Of course. I had never spent that long without performing and it had dented my finances, but when I return this Boxing Day at Tondeka Ekiwatule, all will be well.
3.What was going through your head when you were pelted?
It was just not right. The same thing happened at Club Ambiance but I had an idea. But one thing I guarantee you is that you cannot touch my political affiliation, just the same way you cannot tell me what food to eat and which wife to love. These were young men and I forgive them. You see, I am a very big block on the political scene, and they tried so much to have me on their side but I already have a side. But those are things we learn to expect.
4.Some of your friends like Salvado and A Pass were seen mocking you after this incident. What did you think of that?
It is so unfortunate that we still have people like that because this world rotates in a minute. What happened to me might happen to them tomorrow, so I just wonder what Salvado will do when it happens to him. Imagine I was on stage and did not expect any artiste to jubilate at my situation. It was not a political stage, but a musical one and neither was I singing anything political, so I was surprised to see entertainers happy. It means they are haters!
5.We saw you talk to Fik Fameica at his just-concluded concert before he stepped on stage. What were you talking about?
It was his first major show and I have been performing for 25 years, so it was only fair to give him morale and tips because I saw he had a small crowd and he needed confidence to step on stage.
That talk was important because he performed well and I know anyone would pay to watch Fameica if he was put in the right venue, on the right date. He has a certain crowd but they are not for a venue like Kyadondo. Also, his fanbase cannot pay all that money and then his event should have been a day event at a place like Garden City. The organisers could have cost the boy his career but Ugandans understand and we will protect him because he is good at his game.
Worried about next show?
Why would I? I am the most loved artiste, I guarantee you. I have never been worried about performing. The reason I gave stage a break was because scarcity creates demand, so I am pretty sure of the kind of demand I have right now.
On People Power
That is upto them, who cares. I am NRM and that is what matters, but it is also good because this is the best democratic country in the world. If young people can come up with political lines and careers what else do you want? You wake up and stand for presidency, you wake up and abuse the President and no one touches you. That is Uganda. I am just happy for them because they are living in a country where they are untouchable. The young man is making a career and making money. We are in a country where one is paid money to be in the Opposition, so it is a good strategy, only that he goes beyond the limit. He should learn manners because old people are knowledgeable. He should tone down a bit!