A 2021 A to Z recap: Despite being under lockdown for two years running, Uganda’s entertainment sector has not been devoid of… entertainment. From the MAMAs that never happened, the shady Janzi awards, the Internet blockage to Uganda getting a debut on Netflix, 2021 served us some things to keep us glued. Isaac Ssejjombwe and Andrew Kaggwa look at some of the entertainment headliners this year.
A for Azawi’s year, Akon’s futuristic city and Alex Mukulu’s rant
With her My Year song, Azawi might have envisioned 2021 to be her year a little too early, but at the end of it, she indeed lived the prophecy. But let’s start by looking at the year that was; her My Year was well, there there… Then there was Slow Dancing, a Ugandan risky affair that landed before the album African Music was presented to us. The Swangz Avenue artiste scooped five accolades in the just-concluded Buzz Teeniez awards, was awarded female artiste of the year at the Janzis and was the only Ugandan on the YouTube Black Voices Artist class of 2022.
Meanwhile in April this year, Senegalese-US singer Akon came down to Uganda; not for a performance but for an investment plan. He said he would be building his futuristic city in Uganda as well and the project was scheduled to be complete in 2036.
“I want people to understand how beautiful Uganda is and the best way to do it is to build my city here,” he said.
Akon City was or is envisaged to have its own hospital, police station and even its own cryptocurrency already named AKoin and the plan was to invest $12 million in the country’s entertainment industry as well.
After waxing lyrical about the city, Akon has been as silent as Kampala’s night life…
Away from Akon, Alex Mukulu, a celebrated Ugandan playwright and renowned TV judge while featuring as the main judge in the Yolesa Ekitone Talent search, live on air openly told participants how they had a bad odour.
“The truth of the matter is that you guys smell. You smell a lot. You didn’t even give us a chance to concentrate on your dance moves because of the bad smell that was coming out of you. The moment you began dancing like this, you immediately began smelling like He-goats.” And social media had a field day for almost a week.
B for Bobi Wine and Bad Black
Besides Bobi Wine contesting for the top office, his fans in the Diaspora found it prudent to donate him a bullet proof car shortly after the January 14 polls but URA impounded the car for inspection and slapped Shs300m tax on the armoured vehicle. After a few months, President Museveni directed URA to return the car to the presidential aspirant.
Meanwhile, Shanita Namuyimbwa alias Bad Black couldn’t miss out on this list after she was announced as the Victoria University ambassador, attracting criticism from the public. The university in another press conference cleared the air, saying every student is their ambassador and that Bad Black was admitted as a student with two scholarships to study digital marketing and English language. We are yet to see a selfie of her in class.
C for Chameleone
Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone contested in the mayoral race and he came a distant fourth. But that’s not all. Still this year, the singer made headlines when he knelt before President Museveni’s brother Michael Nuwagira, better known as Toyota, after he gifted him a Range Rover Autobiography 2020 model. He then denounced the NUP political party and announced his return to NRM. The Forever artiste also passed on the favour by giving his Land Cruiser V8 to his younger brother Weasel. Not forgetting his I am Joseph album that he promised to come out on Independence Day but hasn’t been released todate.
D for Dax Kartel and Daddy Andre
The two artistes are appearing in the same sentence because of the same circumstances. Daxx Kartel and TV presenter Mariam Naluwooza aka Momo19 had their introduction and marriage after years of dating but the relationship didn’t work out, which was the same case with Daddy Andre and Nina Roz. The two had a private Kukyala ceremony but in a few months, they decided to end the relationship.
E for Eddy Kenzo
Edirisa Musuuza has had quite the year. He dropped his album, Made in Africa, which features quite a number of songs, including remixes of Missouwa with Monique Seka, Moni with Kanda Bongoman and Philly Bongole’s Born in Africa, among others and like always, he brought home some accolades as well. He was recently crowned East Africa’s Male artiste of the year, beating Diamond Platnumz, Rayvany, Harmonize, Darassa and Alikiba (Tanzania), The Ben and Meddy (Rwanda), Sauti Sol, Bensoul and Nviiri (Kenya) as well as Lij Mic (Ethiopia) to win the award in the All Africa Music Awards.
F for Fall out
After eight years under Team No Sleep, Sheebah Karungi and Jeff Kiwa have gone their separate ways. The reasons for their separation are still sketchy but one thing we are certain of is that Jeff has already recruited two artistes; a little-known 17-year-old Rahma Pinky who is said to sound like Sheebah and then Sama Soulja. Sheebah’s next move is still unknown but rumour has it that she went with a one Dirisa, who has been acting as her manager at TNS.
G for Gulu
We still shake our heads at how Gulu became the Promised Land. You know, a lot of dreadlocked fellas dedicated a better part of this year trekking to Gulu to apparently plan for the industry. It was a great trek! Before we knew it, promoters, journalists and other idle people joined in.
Somewhere around the way, they would trade accusations, Balaam accusing the other man that wears a big hat, then Raga Dee being accused… The last one we saw was the self-appointed mother of artistes, Halima Namakula, the one of her Kimbewo fighting Phina Masanyalaze, the one who’s trying to be Uganda’s Shakira almost 20 years after the real Shakira moved on from doing Shakira things.
H for honors
It is funny how honors and awards disorganise our industry. Think about Spice Diana, who has had an effortlessly successful lockdown season, endorsements, a useless troupe of bodyguards, collaborations with Wasafi and their ex, she almost scored a collaboration with Sauti Sol and took tonnes of pictures in Diamond Platinumz’s office. Yet just losing a few Janzi instruments got to her, the last we heard was that she doesn’t want to be honoured anymore.
I for Internet blackout
Uganda blocked access to social media and messaging apps ahead of this year’s highly contested presidential elections.
A letter which was sent to all telecom firms by the communications regulator ordered the immediate shutdown of the internet and this came after Facebook closed «fake» accounts it said were linked to the government, saying they were being used to boost the popularity of posts.
Can you imagine Ugandans had started downloading all the different clans of VPNs only to realise that it was 1995 all over again.
J for Janzi Awards
What has not been said about the Janzis? Gulu, Operation Wealth Creation, Sylvia Owori and yes, their humongous size.
K, is that you Kabuura?
No, Kabuura is not a French footballer, though we understand Andrew Kabuura, the host of NTV Press Box knows a few basic words such as bonjour, which is a greeting and je veux de la nourriture, which means I want food. We all love eating things, right? For the full reason Kabuura features here, you might have to google because it’s a thread!
L for Launching things
See, even the MAMAs were launched by someone. This year we have been launching things; bogus music albums, festivals, music associations, awards…and then we launched Uga-Tunes. That thing was a disaster from conception. Apparently it was to Uganda what Spotify and iTunes are to the world. Sadly though, their website did not even go up.
M for the MAMAs
Just when you thought some things were impossible, in December 2020, John Blaq became one of the most nominated Africans in the MTV Africa Music Awards. The awards show was set to take place in Kampala but away from Kampala, categorised as an online show, yet Uganda had an internet blackout.
Generally, John Blaq watched his MAMA nomination go from a dream to void when the awards were allegedly postponed to a 2021 date the organisers are yet to communicate.
If they are true believers, 2021 still has five days, so John Blaq’s dream is still valid-ish.
N for Nubian Li and Eddie Mutwe
One lost his dreadlocks while the other lost a beard. They both lost a chance to vote for their best friend. But a win for Nubian Li who walked his longtime girlfriend and baby mama down the aisle.
O for Omulangira Suuna
Omulangira Suuna dragged three Next Media presenters to court for defamation and character assassination. Isaac Kawalya alias Kayz, Bryan Kennedy Waako, and Williams Makuliro were arrested and sent to Kitalya prison for accusing the singer’s family of witchcraft. The singer demanded that Next Media pay him Shs1b for damages caused to his brand. Not long while appearing on another TV, the singer walked out on a presenter for calling him a Moslem.
P for Process by process
Kyoka Pirra! Yeah, that’s all we have to say because…we are naive!
Q – Questions
Truth is that as a country, we don’t have many indigenous words that start with that letter. So we shall just use the letter to pose as many questions…
For instance, where were they getting the results they were announcing?
Who was behind Uganda’s stall at the Dubai Expo?
What happened to Spice Diana’s many bodyguards?
What happened to Chameleone’s album?
Will Bebe Cool be on the Bebe Cool list?
Too many questions….
R for Ronald Mayinja
The man that used to sing for Muntu Wawansi released a yellow anthem and later developed habits. Apparently, while being interviewed by The Observer’s Yudaya Nangozi, the man with a stone in his name stole her phone and threw it in a lake.
S for Susan Makula
Once upon a time, a woman married a pastor. Years later, another woman walked into their lives and the rest, as they say, is history. One of the women has been giving us vibes just, while the other one keeps praying for the return of the now estranged husband…. Why are we talking about this again?
U for Uganda enyuma
This actually started last year. A man appeared on TV with a big chunk of posho and sliced it for the nation to see. The man had a ruler, measuring cornbread for a nation. He ended his experiment with, Uganda etandise okumpomera. How that turned into Ki Uganda kinyuma, it is a story of another day. You should also know that Uganda Enyuma is not used to express things we appreciate the country for, it is for the bizarre ones.
V for Vayolensi and Vampino
It all started during elections, there were all these billboards people decided to put up encouraging us to be peaceful. See Uganda held an election whose journey started in the ghetto and as you may imagine, a number of people associate these places with violence. Surprisingly though, ghetto youth were peaceful. In fact, it was the men and women in uniform that took things into their own hands and chose piss over peace. Then online streets started choosing violence each time they were going to go hard on someone or a topic. By the end of the year, the word was vayolensi.
Remember Maurice Kirya’s elder brother…not Sabasaba? Yes, Vampino. Well, he was imprisoned in Jamaica but not all was bad for him. He managed pics and clips with Jamaican legendary artistes but most importantly, a remix of his Smart Wire jam with Elephant Man.
W for Winnie Nwagi
She’s Winnie Nwagi, Uganda’s undisputed queen of drama. She churns out as many hits as she will be dramatic. Choose from all those moments, it could be a tantrum, a performance, Sasi ku Nyama or that silhouette nude dance…. Ok, we believe it was nude, she’s Winnie Nakanwagi, and anything is possible with an empowered Nakanwagi.
X for ex
What haven’t Ugandans said about their exes this year? Okay, they have always attacked their exes, in fact, there are even songs about it, Spice Diana released Nasimatuka ex, while some other guy said all his exes died… Anyway, this year, some dude, an ex, released nudes of his former girlfriend… The only reason you don’t remember this is because it didn’t matter.
Y for YouTube
The craze over the app started during the lockdown. This year, one YouTuber, a Lumbuye took it too far and got a taste of his own medicine…
Z for Zari
Zari Hassan is ending the year on a high note after winning two awards in the just-concluded African Soci Entertainment Awards. She bagged the Entrepreneur of the Year and Sophisticated Woman of the Year awards at the 2021 ASEAs.
The (ASEAs), founded in 2018, celebrate the lifestyle and social entertainment of Africans and they aim at appreciating the ever-growing social media industry and giving a factual presentation of Africans lifestyle to other continents.
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