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I’m living a life that every ghetto youth should aspire to live

By Joan Akello

Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi,33, aka  H.E Bobie Wine talked to Joan Akello about music and ghetto life

What do we not know about you?

I don’t know what you don’t know because I also don’t know myself; I keep discovering myself. Most people especially journalists tend to misrepresent, judge me according to my looks, the area I live in.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

It’s sharing love, happiness, sadness, fear, strength and being together.

When and where were you happiest?

On my wedding day in 2011.

What’s the secret to a long lasting marriage?

Marriage is about friendship. Of course this friend will piss you off sometimes but what is a friend if you cannot share your emotions, frustrations, and jealousy with them?  It’s about tolerance, trying to change some body’s bad habits and it is possible.

You sung about tolerance in the last election, what about the 2016 polls?

It is our right to vote. Election violence is a sign of backwardness, going to the polls is a symbol of being civilized. So let’s be civilized.

Why approach music as edutainment?

I did not go to parade my looks. My father, a veterinary doctor, tried to change his community. In my younger years I used to sing about girls, parties but I’ve had a mind-shift; education through music would be a great gift to the ghetto youths.

Do you clash with political leaders; especially the real president?

People refer to me as ghetto president because they see me as an opinion leader but not for politics. There is no way I could cross the big man’s way.

What is your greatest fear?


What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Being straightforward; people fear the truth because we live in a world of hypocrites where you need to be a yes man to survive.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My wife, I spend tirelessly on her; like a casino.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

None; I’m in the right weight and height for my wife.  Handsomeness in the ghetto is not about your face but having something to give a woman; so I am working hard to become handsome enough.

How significant is the ghetto?

It is a collection of people who honestly build the nation; it produces the most talent, labour.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Is a spirit to bind, selfless and has the ability to sacrifice his whole for those he loves and who depend on him.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Ability to hold, control, and build a man.

Who is the greatest love of your life?

My mother, Margaret Nalunkuuma(the late). She raised ten children single-handedly in the ghetto, made us God-fearing and kept us in school.

What one thing could you change if you could?

The constitution; discard the one we inherited from the colonialists and see what could benefit   us especially that we are an agricultural country so that we can become rich as early as 10 years;  set laws that  decriminalise  certain plants  and empower  Ugandans.  Let’s stop playing around by amending it.

What do you think of the minister for Tourism‘s idea of changing Uganda’s national anthem?

It’s not even a good idea to have such a minister because it’s about protecting a legacy. We should focus on building not destroying because we don’t like the design of our forefathers.

What are your greatest achievements?

Ability to be listened to and influence others. I’m not shy that I’m a ghetto child. So I’m on the side that is most criticized. Other than crime, people will ask what talent you have if you say you’re from the ghetto.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Those who sing reggae, Tupac for revolutionary hiphop, Paulo Kafeero and Herman Basudde for KadongoKamu- this is music that touches people’s lives and issues.

Who are your favorite writers?

Robert Greene, Chinua Achebe,Ngũgĩ, Wole Soyinka. I’ve read Sowing the mustard seed by President Museveni, Gilbert Bukenya’sThrough Intricate Corridors to Power

Who is your hero of fiction?

Obierika, the best friend of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. He tried to protect Okonkwo; an aggressive African, young and strong in spirit, from himself. He was calm. He is the guy I finally became because I was an Okonkwo till about 25-30 when I realised that there is more energy in the mind than in the muscles.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Former president Idi Amin. There were rebel activities during his regime. The Penal Code says rebels are sentenced to death so whenever rebels were executed, the West reported it as mass murders.  He loved his people but should have learnt that until a lion begins to write, every story out of the bush is going to glorify the hunter. I appreciate the thinking of Kwame Nkrumah, half that of Apollo Milton Obote and President Museveni of 1986 to 1996.

Which living person do you most admire?

Retired Brig. KasiryeGwanga who says it as straight as it is.

What’s in store for your fans?

The KiggwaleeroBusaabalaFest concert in October.

How do you want to be remembered?

As a common Muganda, Ugandan, farmer, father, big brother, who lived a life that every ghetto youth should aspire to live.

What is your philosophy on life?

The world is looking for somebody who has done something not for one who will explain why he did not do anything.

What is your motto?

Show us some evidence or shut up.

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