Halima Namakula is a free soul who chose to live a stress-free life and never judges anyone. Growing up, she felt judged and that is why she wants to change the narrative by rooting for the disadvantaged, writes Gabriel Buule.
Halima Namakula says that it is because of the second chance she got from her mother that she managed to defy all to become the woman she is and selflessly using her image to root for others, especially fistula victims and teenage mothers.
She recalls the hard life her late mother went through to raise her, a trend that has defined her life for so many years. A singer and an actress who became a mother at 15 years, Namakula recalls that much as sometimes life would be hard, her mother never ceased to help others that sometimes she could share the little food she had served them with a stranger. A women rights activist and a voice of fistula victims in Uganda, Namakula says that she has always moved in the shadow of her mother that even her entry into music came with a song that used to be her mother’s old Luganda lullaby called Ekimbeewo. She modernised it to become her signature tune.
“Ekimbeewo, which is my first song, used to be my mothers’ lullaby that she liked most and she taught me to sing it for her. At times she could be sad and I would come up with a song which could relieve her of some burdens,” she explains
In the slums of Kaleerwe just bordering Mulago in Kampala, Namakula says life at home was not a bed of roses. She was raised by a single mother who hustled to see her get whatever she needed as a child.
She says her mother, the late Afuwa Namuddu, who died recently at the age of 97, was a hardworking individual who did all sorts of basic jobs to bring a meal and pay school fees.
“ I cannot count the jobs that she did but they were mostly odd jobs, especially in markets and on streets. But I recall her selling “malwa”, a local brew, much as she was a Muslim. All she wanted was to see her dependents have a better life” she adds.
Namakula recalls Kaleerwe and Mulago as an active and a sparsely populated suburb and that she could connect with peers easily. “I grew up with boys and life was fun that because I had no sister at home i ended up emulating their life style” she adds. Namakula recalls that the place where the Synagogue Church of all nations in Mulago is located was a vacant space with a mango tree they would go to with her brothers. The 60-year-old says that much as money was limited in their home, she was happy.
“Sometimes she would withdraw food from us to serve strangers who could seek shelter at our home when it was raining. It was sometimes a sad experience but we later got to understand her position and she was nurturing us to be selfless” she says.Namakula says she was exempted from hard work, since she was a girl, but that never stopped her from learning.
A mother at 15
“My daughter you have done something that I will never forget until I die,” Namakula says that those are the words her mother said when she found out her daughter was pregnant at 15 years. Namakula recalls that while a Senior Two student at City High school in 1975 , she became pregnant. Though she was worried, her mother did not know of the pregancy up to six months.
READ FULL STORY HERE: Singer Namakula retired into serving the needy