Reinvent your future, says Babirye

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Babirye performs one of her songs as the students record videos and take photos in Nkoyoyo Hall. (Photo by Doreen Kajeru) 

BY DOREEN KAJERU

“You each have the potential to be greater than your past. Your future shall be bigger and brighter if you set out to work hard, hold onto your principles and pursue your set goals.”

This was the advice Judith Babirye, the renowned gospel artist and Woman MP for Buikwe District, gave to students during the mentoring night of the Uganda Young Women Leaders Network, CEDA International, on September 22. Babirye was the guest speaker that night on the theme “Emotionail Intelligence.”

“Use every opportunity well and focus on the goals you set for your education at the university and for life after,” she added.

She drew examples from her life and urged the youth to be determination if they are to achieve the best out of everything.“Be prepared and on the lookout for whatever seems to be a ladder to your progress. Do not let opportunity find you unprepared because it will not return. It willbegone!”shesaid.

Babirye also addressed issues of sexual purity, and urged the students, both female and male, to respect and honour their bodies. “This will keep you away from unplanned pregnancies, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, early marriages and losing focus of your targets.

“Some of you think you are either too beautiful or too ugly to work hard. No matter how you were created, it is in God’s image. So do not mind what the society says about you. Work towards your future!’’ she told the students.

 

She then fielded questions ranging from her personal life to how she manages to balance work in a ‘parliament perceived as corrupt’.

“I did not know that this lady was vibrant and passionate about the youth. She is down to earth and knowledgeable. I have been blessed,” one of the students who attended the meeting said. Another said: “I danced with Judith on the same platform! It is like a dream come true. I just cannot believe it!”

The students were treated to a music performance by the artiste. She sang some of her hits including Amanyi, Ennamba yange, Kaawonawo and Favour. Babirye has won several awards including best gospel single in the 2006 Pearl of Africa Music Awards, with the highest hit of that year, “Beera nange”.

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The smart way to find lost gadgets

BY JScreen Shot 2016-09-19 at 3.40.58 PM.jpgIMMY MAWERERE

Have you ever returned home,

extremely exhausted, and you just drop your gadgets, or keys anywhere? Ever gone shopping in the big malls, only to exit from a different route and you cannot remember where you parked your car?

Well, help is at hand – and it is not in the form of the expensive global positioning systems (GPS)

or radio triangulation! The GPS tracking systems are expensive and must be installed by experts, who are not readily available in your neighbourhood. And they are not mostly accurate and reliable in countries with low technology Welcome to the simple, small, and cheap device known as the TrackR. This small device, with advanced tracking applications,works with Android phones. Most smart phones in Uganda run on the Android software.

After acquiring the device, download a free application on your Android or iPhone and then attach the device to anything you would like to track. You can attach this device to your luggage, wallet, car keys or any other valuable asset.

Unlike the GPS, the TrackR does not require subscription to the GPS. It has a non-limited life span, as long you replace the batteries periodically.

The device works in two ways; it can locate other devices using your phone, and it can also be used to A phone user linking the phone and keys for future tracking locate your iPhone or your ring, wherever it is located.

It is manufactured for comfort as it comes with two sided tape that you can stick to any flat surface. This device will this by double pressing the for comfort as it comes definitely make locating device and the phone will with two sided tape that your objects easy and fun.

Piano, my true love

TIMOTHY ALFRED WANDABWA is a Business Computing graduate from Uganda Christian University (UCU). He is the sound technician at the university. This is the story of his journey and love for music, as told to Doreen Kajeru

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Wandabwa plays the piano during the 2015 Chapel Choir reunion.

As early as six years of age, I loved l i s t e n i n g to music. I have always been drawn to crusades and concerts because of my desire to see people play musical instruments, especially the piano. Watching people quenched my curiosity but deepened my thirst to want play them myself. Back home and at school I always hit anything: table, bench or chair, imagining that it is a piano.

In my Primary Seven vacation, my father was transferred to St. Andrew’s Cathedral, in Mbale. During my secondary school studies at Mbale Senior Secondary School, I once went for a Scripture Union conference at Busoga College Mwiri and was inspired by fellow students who were playing the piano harmoniously.

After the camp I went to the cathedral to try out a melody I had listened to, “Trading my sorrows.” While I played, the choir director discovered my passion and taught me my first keyboard lesson.

Later I joined the Mission Choir as a strategy to access the piano but instead the director trained me in singing mostly and we only played the piano occasionally. After one year of training, I started to play during missions and ministry outreaches but never in the cathedral.

In Senior Two, I joined Holy Cross Lake View School. There I was able to sing and also play the piano during fellowships and Sunday services. During my free time I listened to different kinds of Christian music and tried to learn how to play them. Most of my learning was and has been by listening and watching people play.

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Wandabwa strums the guitar during Christmas carols at UCU in his second year

During holidays I met with different people in Kampala and my target was to watch them play and learn a skill or two.

For my A-level, I joined Muljibhai Madhvani College, Wairaka. Here I was always given a leadership role of guiding the choir.

During my Senior Six vacation I worked as a trainer in the Compassion International children’s project, which sponsored my education.

I joined UCU in 2010, because I believed that it was the only university that would shape me into a better person in the aspect of ministry.

I joined the Chapel Choir and met friends with whom I share a passion for music. I used every opportunity: the music room, internet, and the easy access of music instruments to learn more and get better.

In second year I was selected as one of the music directors of the Chapel Choir.

This pushed me into yearning for perfection. I used my knowledge of the piano to play more instruments like the acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drums quite easily because the techniques are similar. I also picked specific interest in sound balance and output, guided by the then sound technician, Emmanuel Owot.

A music workshop was organized at campus and Roy Kaddu, a band leader at Watoto then, noticed my playing. Finally my dream of playing at Watoto, a big church, was set in motion but due to commitments at the university I did not get to play at Watoto soon.

After my graduation in 2013 I was asked to serve as acting music director at UCU. This gave me another challenge in my music path but I soldiered on.

A year later, I joined Watoto Church. The level of sound and harmony perfection at Watoto is immeasurable and I put in a lot of effort to measure up.

I am glad to have come this far on my music journey despite the fact that I have not gone through music school. My future plan is to study more about music.

Redeemed by the love for musical instruments

ARTHUR WATUULO, a graduate of Information Technology from Uganda Christian University, tells how the love for playing music instruments led to his salvation. The UCU call centre manager recently narrated to The Standard his great passion for musical instruments.

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Watuuro strokes a guitar at a function (Courtesy Photo)

Born on April 04, 1991 to Dr Richard and Mrs Lydia Watuulo in Mbale District, Watuulo attended Nabumali Primary School.

“While in Primary Two I joined the choir. Then I went from singing to playing the xylophone, which was my favourite childhood instrument. I loved music so much that I failed a class because I attended all the practices, and participated in all concerts and competitions at the expense of my academics,” he said.

“However, I became an asset to my school because I always won competitions. At home, we were blessed with a neighbour that taught piano so in Primary Five, I took up piano lessons.”

He said that during his O-level studies at Nabumali High School, his passion for musical instruments grew.

“As fate would have it, the school purchased music instruments the year I joined. A condition was set that for one to be in charge of the instruments, one had to be born-again. Driven by my obsession, I became born-again and was put in charge.” 

“Being born-again did not mean anything to me, it was only a ticket to access and play instruments anytime. However, God had a better plan of transforming and molding me into a minister that would serve His people in spirit and in truth. Later when the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF) Band visited our school, I made a true confession to salvation.”

Watuulo says that when he joined Mengo Senior School, his hero status was challenged by those who played the musical instruments much better than he did.

“I got jealous and decided to join them and learn how to play like they did and better. Our trainer, Daniel Sempereza who was the music director at UCU then, noticed me in high school and connected me to the UCU band while I was studying in Senior Six. So by the time I joined UCU I had the confidence and connections.”

Exposure to the band enabled him to play professionally and he was equipped with the discipline of playing for ministry.

“Soon I was training whoever was interested in learning how to play instruments. Very many high class people call me to train their children and these relationships have humbled me. Alongside other duties, I am working with Pastor Wilson Bugembe; and I am daily encouraged to do what I love.”

Watuulo said that his dream is to reach greater heights and even play with Israel Houghton.

He added that he enjoys playing the keyboard, organ, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, recorder, the xylophone and drums, but the piano is his favourite.

“When I sit down to play the piano, I get lost in awe. The accomplishment is due to both skill, and anointing. When going into battle, you have to be prepared, thus the way one plays an instrument for ministry should not be the same way that one plays in a club or bar. People come to church with different problems, and your skill should enable them receive healing and relaxation.” 

Playing instruments has helped Watuulo raise capital for another business: setting up a video game centre. He set up a video game station in Mukono, which accommodates 12 people. His goal is to raise this to 50 or 100 play stations.

His future plans include starting a band and setting up a professional music studio.

“Currently though, I perform in churches, functions and parties with the Elgon Groove Band. But I will not stop until I get to where I want to be.

Campers unveil talent

 BY DOREEN KAJERU

During the recently concluded summer camp, students were privileged to share joy and create lasting memories in an organised talent show in Nkoyoyo Hall.

Despite the fact that the campers were former students of different schools, they formed several groups in one accord while others preferred performing individually. They competed in the selected categories of poems, comedy, songs, mimes, skits and dance performances.

The students were mesmerised by the sound system that was not only perfect but stable, the changing and colourful lights and a stage big enough to cater for any kind of ‘out-of-this-world’ performance.

 Individuals mainly drew inspiration from love, everyday life and education.

Students mimicked talent and performances from famous artistes in Uganda like the comedian Mondo, commonly known as Teacher Mpamire. Others stuck to originality while the rest turned to the environment and the Western productions like Hillsongs.

The spectators cheered their preferred groups and individuals. Amidst ululations and praises, the performers ecstatically showcased their talent to the best of their ability.The dancers were especially impressive, with moves that would make one think they did not possess bones in their bodies.

Creativity was at its best as the students presented their skits. The award-winning skit was one done without words but only action. Surprisingly, it turned out as the most understood and ‘audible’ skit of the night.

Art and creativity were put to the test as the students recited poems. Individuals mainly drew inspiration from love, everyday life and education. The rhythm and rhyme in the poems kept the audience yearning for the next stanza in the specific piece.

The judges, Mr Ganzi Isharaza, the communications and marketing manager and Mr Patrick Lugemwa, a lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Arts, were amazed at the students’ performances.

However, they faced a dilemma of choosing the best performance since it turned out to be such a stiff competition. Nevertheless, some grounds were established to point out the best artiste of the night. These were uniqueness, level of creativity, vigour, audibility, flexibility, message delivery in skits, time, attire, originality and team work.

The night was crowned with celebrations after one individual and two groups emerged winners in the different categories.

Mr Isharaza encouraged the students to continue pursuing their talents, and congratulated performers for the spirit of oneness, time invested in practice and creativity.

UCU alumna changes souls through music

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 BY ALEX TAREMWA 

Faith Hope Ghandi’s started her journey of integrating faith into music way back in her Primary One. When asked when this was, the artist is shy to reveal the following story behind her age:

While registering for her Primary Seven exams at Kamuge Primary School in Pallisa, she wasn’t sure how old she was. Her mother, an educationist, was far away at the time. So Ghandi approached her aunt who told her that she was born in 1989.

When Ghandi returned from school after the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), she asked her mother how old she was, only to learn that she was actually three years younger than she had been led to believe.

“Mummy told me that I was born in 1991 but since 1989 was already on my file, I couldn’t change it and that is one thing that has haunted me for most of my life,” she says as she strokes her dreadlocks.

Ghandi traces her music journey to a Primary One class activity she participated in when she was three years old at Good Sheperd Primary School,  Ndeeba, Kampala. She was chosen to sing a famous children’s rhyme, Ani Anangulira cake. This launched her into the school choir, which she later led in a folk song that until recently enjoyed a long stint of airplay as soundtrack for a children’s programme on Uganda Broadcasting Television (UBC).

While at Great Aubrey Memorial College in Tororo, Ghandi stepped on stage and sang using a microphone, for the first time in a secondary schools Scripture Union singing competition. Despite being in Senior One, Ghandi was the choir leader for her school.

“When I sang, everyone, including those who had vacated the hall flocked back in while others filled the windows to look at me and I was wondering what mistake I had made? But I decided to continue and finish the song and my school went ahead to win the competition.”

Ghandi was thrilled by the support, and reality set in that she could actually sing well. When she returned to Kampala where she always spent her school holidays, she decided to hang around her church choir at Deliverance Church in Nsambya.

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During A-level at Majansi High School, also in Tororo, Ghandi confesses to having given her sports side more priority than music. She played volleyball, basketball and netball. Her encounter with musical instruments would wait until Senior Six vacation during which she worked with a local humanitarian project in Kibaale District to raise money for her tuition fees.

She said that one day Jeff Dyck, her team leader, watched her sing during a fellowship meeting, he approached her and told her something that changed her life forever. “He said: ‘Hope, thank you. One day you’re going to sing and preach to the nations. I was excited about it and kept it at the bottom of my heart,’” she says in retrospect.

Ghandi was admitted to Uganda Christian University (UCU) to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. While she was in Sabiiti Hall, her roommate, one Deborah Nagawa, a member of the Chapel Choir, persuaded her to join the choir.

In the choir, Ghandi preferred to be at the back because she felt that the other members were too good for her. Little did she know that the then Music Director, Dan Semperezza, could hear her voice.

Towards the end of the Advent Semester, Semperezza, chose her to lead one of the Christmas carols and it is at this stage that she made her musical mark.

“Oh Holy Night was too big a song and so I was shocked to be asked to lead it. He however trained me, and this song was my breakthrough,” she recalls.

Now Ghandi ministers through worship. She strives, depending on the song to encourage, inspire and touch as many hearts as possible.

Road to Europe 

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Ghandi joined Honours College in second year and became a residential assistant. In her hall resided one Daisy Muramuzi, a daughter to the former UCU Chancellor, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi.

Mulamuzi was a good singer who further inspired Ghandi. The two would work on a number of songs together in the hall and through Daisy, Ghandi met Dorcus Kingsley, a daughter of Archbishop Orombi as well, with whom she developed a cordial relationship.

One sunny afternoon after she had graduated in 2013, Ghandi through Kingsley met Orombi, who later recommended her to a friend, a Vision for Africa choir leader whose team was about to embark on a tour of Europe.

“When I got the call and the person on the other side said: ‘Hope, this is Bishop Orombi, would you like to travel to Europe with the Vision for Africa choir for three months?’ I was speechless!” she narrates.

Ghandi politely accepted the offer as she hadn’t gotten a job and later in 2014, Vision Band went off to Europe. The group traversed Australia, Switzerland, and Germany.

Although she has encountered several challenges, Ghandi contends that she trusts in God’s ability to walk her through thick and thin. She has also sang with Unlimited Band, the Adante Band, Potters’ Clay and currently sings with the Hebron Band. Besides singing, Ghandi writes songs and makes African crafts products, which she sells at the All-in-One Gift shop in Kampala.

She said that being a needy student, she started the crafts business to raise tuition fees.

Asked about her favourite moment, Ghandi singles out her 2010 Christmas Carol performance in Nkoyoyo Hall, although she also remembers tripping and falling on stage in another performance.

“UCU was my biggest training ground and that is something I will always remember. So far my favourite and saddest moments have been in UCU. I may not have done everything perfectly, but I did them well,” she adds.

She advises students to be enterprising and to always trust God to take control of their lives. She acknowledges the role of her mentors, Professor Monica Chibita and Mrs Babirye Bagiine who she says played an integral role in shaping her morally, spiritually and academically.

Poetry thrives through Azania

BY DOREEN KAJERU 

When Azania started in 2008, it was registered at UCU as a student association. For various reasons, the group died out after some years. In 2013, it was revived under the leadership of Jordan Megolonyo, a student of law.

The group deals with raising the passion and art of poetry in the passionate and talented individuals. They do this through rehearsals and thematic performances which they carry out every Thursday evening.

The group does poetry but also performs in dance pieces, writing, and music. The performances that are normally done once a week attract crowds of

the community.

Every semester, there is a grand Azania show where the group showcases its creations and performances.

Azania has spread its wings to the world outside UCU. It performs at several functions and places like the Babi Babi Shai Poetry Festival, Poetry in Session, the National Theatre, Bugolobi Dance Cup, and other platforms.

Through these activities, the group has picked fame and is making several alliances to create platforms for its talent. Azania plans to partner with Uganda Writers’ Foundation, an NGO, to enhance the writing skills of the group’s members.

The leadership

aims at grooming

talent, and creating a sense of belonging for writers and poets.

Megolonyo says the excellent performances are perfected by the enthusiasm the students have for the art. He encourages other students with the zeal for poetry to register and exploit their abilities.

When asked about whether the Writing and Study Skills course is of help to the writers, he said that it is more academic than practical, which should be the main core purpose. He says that a liaison with Foundation Studies Department would create opportunities

for the students to write and publish the literary pieces which could be used in the workbook.