When Ronald Magada aka Maro, who is one of Uganda’s top RnB musicians, tells his life story, the pain is unmistakable. His mother died when he was only three years old in 1990. That left him at the mercy of everyone in the large extended family of his father, James Magada, a policeman.
Maro is the eldest son and he soon found himself traversing the whole country as his father was moved from one post to another.
He started school at Nsambya Barracks Nursery School with the family and recalls the family living in the round metal single-room shelters commonly called `uniport’. He then did three primary school classes at St. Peters Nsambya in Kampala city. But fate soon flung him to the rural Bupadengo Primary School in Kamuli district, in Busoga. It is here that he completed primary school and joined secondary; first at Africana Whiteland College, then Light College Mukono, and finally Buloba High School.
His passion for changing lives (possibly starting with his own) pushed him to apply to study Development Studies at Makerere University for his bachelor’s degree in 2007.
In the second year of study, Maro started channeling into music. He even recorded a song, `Toneeraga’ a move that made him fall out with his parents.
Maro says his venturing into music surprised many people, not least his father. He says all along he had been burdened by “being voiceless”. He says he had been humbled by being tossed by different step-mums and spending holidays in different places after his mother died. He tried expressing himself through drawing and painting. Music was, in a way, a continuation of his search for a voice.
“Everyone couldn’t believe I could make it because of being so silent.
“Dad even wanted to lock me up claiming that I could only achieve through school,” says Maro.
And Dad was possibly right as Maro soon dropped out of school. He had failed to balance music and books.
By 2009 Maro was featuring on the Ugandan music scene but his breakthrough was in 2010 after he redid his song ‘Toneeraga’ song, this time featuring artiste Mickie Wine of the Fire Base Crew. He is a good vocalist and song writer who writes most of his songs. Often he sings in his mother-tongue, Lusoga, and refers to himself as “RnB Kyabazinga” which is an allusion to the king of his tribe.
“If I don’t represent Busoga, who will do it,” asks the 30-year old who was born in Buwolero village in Jinja district.
Feeling finally firmly established in the music arena, Maro returned to his university education and graduated in 2015. It was a mission accomplished and a moment to reconcile with his father.