By Geoffrey Muhoozi in London
IT has been a two week Independence celebration by the Ugandan Community in London and the final verdict is: They really know how to party, Afrigo Band is as good as ever and PAM awards artist and song of the year winner Jose Chameleon is a real crowd puller, show maker and knows how to do his thing thus deserved the award.
The 42nd anniversary celebrations started in Stratford at East London’s Rex Club on Independence Day after lots of speculations based on a rumour that the Uganda’s favourite band had been denied entry clearance to the UK. Many didn’t believe the group was in London until when the show had started.
The 9th October show was marred by poor sound but never-the-less the stressed nkuba kyeyos could not sit back in their seats when Afrigo’s Joanita Kawalya of the Jim fame took to the stage. It was also a night of reunion with former band member Rachael Magoola of the Obangaina fame. When the intro to Obangaina played, the crowd just went ecstatic and the seats fell vacant.
It was time for the old good times to return and the crowd sang along as the Band played some of their best tracks over years. But like it is always the case, 9the October show had shortfalls as well. Time management and some Ugandans have always been incompatible and so was it that night. The show slated for 9.00pm didn’t kick off till past 11.00pm and when it kicked of the machines were really disappointing and at one stage the show came to a stop so that the machines could be sorted.
Midnight crawled in and the show maker without whom the show would have been a flop, strolled in clad in his trademark white American Marines uniform-complete with a hat. As he limped onto the stage, thanks to new phone camera technology, every one was scrambling to have his photo and surely they did a couple of them.
By 3am, the £20 fee paid to celebrate the day the guys the nkuba kyeyos work for granted Uganda Independence had come to an end but the celebration were just starting with only one week gone and one left.
Having taken lessons about time management and poor sound output in the first show, the organisers, ACP records wanted by all odds to be a little different in the next show at Tooting Bec’s Classic club. Time management had been worked on and the show kicked off shortly after 9pm. Afrigo band were at it again and sent the crowd into a frenzy which seemed like the right prescription for a stressed Ugandan.
As the case has always been, Jim and Obangaina seemed to be the crowd’s favourites and saw scores of both the young and old throng the seemingly tiny dance floor to shake those bones to those memorable tracks. The band played non stop till midnight when Jose Chameleon who had been playing hide and seek finally came onto stage. He wanted to do it like a celebrity by not being near the crowd and kept organiser guessing which side of the tiny hall he would come in from.
When he finally came in from the main entrance, the crowd just went rapturous. He jumped onto the tiny stage and did what he does best for a whooping two hours with out a break. Cameras of all types snooping around for a nice shot of the PAM award winner were visible in the air as the crowd sang along to his famous tracks like Mama mia, Dolotia, Nekolera mali among others though the machines would misbehave as he sang but with his creativity, he could do the hamming himself and continue singing. He couldn’t believe the ecstasy level of the crowd given the £20 entrance fee they had paid and at one stage he said if the crowds in Uganda had been like the crowd at the show and paying that amount of money, he would always be smiling all the way to the bank.
Signing off the stage at some point really became hard for Chameleon because the crowd kept on asking for more and demanding that he plays certain songs from his long list of songs accredited to him. Finally, show maker Chameleon without whom the show would have been a flop and broad day robbery had to leave the stage but before he limped off, he did his Song of the year Jamila to a an already satisfied audience and didn’t forget to thank the Ugandan community in London for supporting Ugandan music, which they surely do given the scores of people who attended.
Finally the two week celebrations wound up and it was time back to serious work. They were a celebration worth £20 each and there were no complaints about having been fleeced.
- Geoffrey T. Muhoozi is a Ugandan trained Public Relations Practitioner and Journalist. He Studied at Makerere University Kampala and read Mass Communication with a bias in Public Relations. In between the course, he studied the Art of Public Speaking. He joined Uganda’s Leading Daily, The New Vision during his second year and practiced journalism till he left for The United Kingdom.In the UK, he persued an NCC International Diploma in Computing at London College of Business Studies and Computing. He went on to do a Masters Degree in Business Administration [MBA]specialsing in Marketing. In spite of being in The United Kingdom, he still contributes for The New Vision and The Sunday Vision newspapers when time allows.