Betty Nakibuuka Senyonjo is a gospel musician. Her most popular songs include ‘Baddu ba Yesu’, ‘Tukutendereza’, ‘Luyimba lwange’ and ‘Munene Munene’ among others. She is also the mother of stars in the music industry.
Former music prodigy Gloria Murungi Senyonjo aka Baby Gloria, who is a household name; especially among children, is her daughter. Her second daughter, Jolly, is a ballet dancer and presenter of a kids show on one of the local television station, and her third born is a two year old daughter.
To mark 20 years in Uganda’s gospel music industry in 2015, she hosted her fans to a live musical performance at the nation’s top hotel, the Sheraton in Kampala. It was a high point for someone who was born and raised among the under privileged and did not stay in school beyond primary level.
“There were times my name would not ring a bell in any one’s ear because we had nothing,” she says today, “I chose to soak myself in God for which I have no regrets”.
Nakibuka was the third last born of 12 children. She was forced to start working early at just 14 years of age. Together with her mother, Rose Nakato, Nakibuuka hawked second hand clothes in the evening after school to raise money for school fees and other basic necessities.
At some point when her mother experienced joint pains and swelling, Nakibuuka went at it alone. In 1991, as Nakibuuka was plying her daily trade, she came across preachers who convinced the teenage to “carry all her burdens to the Jesus Christ – the savior”.
“I chose to soak myself and the troubles that had over shadowed me in Jesus who is the way, the truth and life”.
Nakibuka always liked children. So she started helping in the church’s Sunday school for children. Before she knew it, she had started composing and recording songs with the youngsters. Then she was surprised by how people loved her singing. She realised she had talent.
Nakibuuka received recording offers for her first album. She also ventured into musical adverts for companies like House of Manji, Silky Pads and Britania.
Nakibuuka says through all this, her dream was to buy land and construct a decent home for her mother. It was partly for a selfish reason too – her prayer had always been to hold her traditional marriage introduction ceremony with her mother in her own home. It happened. John Senyonjo was one of her fans. He proposed to her through a friend and they wed in 2000.
“God blessed me and answered my prayers and that reminds me that there is a bright future in God,” she says.