Tuesday, May 19, 2015


AT THE age of 65 one would imagine that Billy Ocean has lost his spark on stage but alas, the British singer-songwriter and the 1970s and 1980s rhythm and blues, pop and soul global hitmaker put up an energetic memorable show in Kampala on April 2, 2015.

Clad in a white suit, light-blue shirt, blue neck tie and black shoes Billy sent his fans in frenzy whenever he pulled slow cool stokes including the backslide with passion and stamina during the concert held at the Victoria Hall, Kampala Serena Hotel.

He thrilled his fans who parted with Ushs300, 000 ($99.9) for a gold ticket, Ush600,000 ($199.8) for an individual platinum ticket, and Ushs6 million ($1,998) for a corporate table of ten with some of his international hits including material from his recent 11-track album Here You Are released in 2013 under the Aqua Music label.

Accompanied by his 8-member band Billy kicked off his one hour-and-half live show at 9:30pm with his 1988 hit Tear Down These Walls – signaling that he was to bring down the walls of Victoria Hall.

After playing Bitter Sweet he greeted his fans in the name of Jesus Christ and said: “We thank you for welcoming us to your party tonight.”

Stay The Night, Red Light Spells Danger, The Colour of Love, Mystery Lady and There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry) followed including Cry Me A River, A Change Is Gonna Come and No Woman No Cry off the album Here You Are.

During a break Billy said, “This is our third performance in Africa after South Africa and Ethiopia. I am in love with Uganda and Africa.”

The band got a rapturous ovation after performing his 1984 favourite single Suddenly.

Before playing Loverboy he asked: “Are you in love? Can I be your loverboy?” The crowd answered in the affirmative and sang and danced along.

As the band prepared to perform Get Outta My Dreams; Get Into My Car Billy inquired “If I was your loverboy would you get into my car?” “Yes,” the fans responded.

There after he asked, “Would you like some more?” “Yes” the fans replied. He then played one of the crowd’s favourite When the Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going). 

Billy then pretended to take bow with his band off the stage – much to the dislike of his fans who loudly chanted “We want more. We want more…”

When Billy returned and took his fans to the Caribbean by playing Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run).

Billy paid tribute to the “Ochieng tribe” referring to Ugandans who claim him as their own and prefer to call him Billy Ochieng or Ochieng Billie.

He concluded the concert with the improvised African Queen with lyrics of Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run).

Billy talked about how he got into music: “My dad played calypso music on his guitar but one day he returned home with a radio set. I had a feeling that a radio set must have gone missing somewhere because he could not afford one. Anyway good things come out of bad things. I was able to listen to musicians who influenced me like Nat King Cole, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke on the radio.”

The concert was organised by Masters Music in partnership with British Airways, Play Lotto, Rahab Uganda and Silk Events.

Part of the proceeds from the concert that was dubbed “Black Tie, Have Fun And Give Back” will go towards aiding Rahab Uganda, a charity organisation that rescues and rehabilitates young prostitutes off the streets.

Play Lotto’s Isaac Rucci said Billy Ocean is an iconic artiste, so they (the organisers) wanted to have a Black Tie-like event for a certain untapped audience that can enjoy expensive fun while also giving back to people in need.

So far over 200 girls have been reached by Rahab Uganda. Some have been resettled with capital and others are still undergoing rehabilitation. Currently 7 girls are in primary school, 6 in secondary school, 2 undergoing vocational training, 4 are in university about to complete, 5 recently graduated from vocational training school.

Rahab Uganda’s vision is to see a transformed nation promoting the value and self-worth of girls. While its mission is to restore the self-image of girls affected by sexual exploitation and empower them for personal and community transformation.


Friday, May 15, 2015


THE Viva con Agua (VcA) concert would not have come at a better time than when some parts of Kampala District are battling the deadly typhoid disease caused by a poor water and sanitation system in the capital city.

The concert dubbed ‘We love YoUganda!’ was organized by VcA supported by Welthungerhilfe, Goethe-Zentrum Kampala/Ugandan German Cultural Society (GZK/UGCS) and Afrika Arts Kollektive in collaboration with various musicians and artists to realize the great vision “all for water - water for all!”

Revelers parted with Ushs3.000 ($1.03). The proceeds will go towards providing clean water for people in Northern Uganda.

Held at the National Theatre in Kampala on February 28, the concert attracted Bebe Cool, Abramz and Sylvester, Lady Slyke, Tim Ukena (Germany), Onejiru (Kenya) and Razor Blade, Tucker HD.

Accompanied by his Gagamel band Bebe Cool alas Moses Ssali the headline act played Love You Every day, Big Size, We Love Uganda, Nkwagala and Everywhere I Go.

Schindler Wanjiru alas Onejiru based in Hamburg, Germany performed Few Reasons, Caro Kongo, Tujenge, We Carry On and a cover song Girlie Girlie by Sophie George.

Sharon Bwogi alas Lady Slyke played Action, Bring the Love Back (featuring DJ Nesta), Nowhere to Run (featuring Blessed Sun) and Nkabongele. Fred Kasekende did his Maide Maide (featuring Lady Slyke).

Allan Kakuru alas Razor Blade and a former street boy did Mugetto, Ensi nge kaya and Ensi nge eganye.

There was no lack of art with local and international artists painting some outer parts of the walls of the National Theatre.

VcA is a German-based charitable organization campaigning for clean drinking water worldwide focusing on “water, sanitation, hygiene” (WASH).

Its current project is to build and restore wells and source developments in Northern Uganda for the people who are returning back to this region after the Lord’s Resistance Army civil war. 

Every February VcA officials visit their projects in Uganda. This year they visited their water project in Lira District which included the provision of water through water wells or rainwater tanks as well training courses about hygiene, maintenance and repair works. Also they have wells close to where they live and do not have to walk long distances anymore.

VcA has since 2008 supported 200,000 people with clean water in Uganda. It has assisted 500,000 people around the world with clean water and sanitation.

Michael Fritz (founding member of VcA) observed that under development in the past has been conveyed through sad stories. “Today’s youth in Germany now prefer fun-based narrative. It is now about positive images that the sad pictures and stories that we used to in the past. About 4.5 billion people have no access to proper sanitation and hygiene in the world today.”

“It is taboo to talk about open defection in some societies. How much do we lose in terms of treating diseases when we don’t have toilets?” We need pop artists to promote the cause of safe water and sanitation. And nobody should have bad water in the world today,” Fritz adds.

According to the founder of VcA Kampala, Norbert Latim “Today’s generation is fan-based because they don’t want to read long text in newspapers. If you invited them to attend a football game or music concert through social media they will turn up in big numbers.”

“I believe in projects that have an attachment to the local people. There are people living in discomfort and if this project can bring change than I am glad to be part of it. I believe in charity and water and sanitation are very serious issues in Uganda,” Bebe Cool said.

Razor Blade was glad of sharing the stage with big local stars like Bebe Cool. “We may have water in Kampala but people upcountry are suffering for lack of the same. Their domestic animals are dying and people keep flocking to the city and we don’t know the reasons why.”

The GZK/ UGCS Director, Carolin Christgau, said: “We are partners in this project because it is a good cause combining the provision of water with culture. We need to sensitize people through different avenues.

The poet and master of ceremony Ife Piankhi noted that concert was about mobilization and sensitization of the people about the issues of water and sanitation. “This touches on women a lot in terms of productivity, menstruation and nutrition. Girls miss school during their menstruation periods and mothers will not provide meals for their families for lack of clean water. Women are the most productive people in Uganda.” 

So far two people have died from typhoid since the first case was diagnosed early last month in central Kampala. Over two thousand persons have tested positive with typhoid.

Uganda is still experiencing cases of disease associated with poor sanitation such as cholera, dysentery, worm infestation, typhoid and malaria.

Poor sanitation is a serious drain on the economy as government and local authorities spend colossal sums of money on treatment and drugs for sanitation related diseases.

Individual families also spend their hard earned, meager incomes on treatment of sanitation related diseases. Parents or caretakers may also lose work-time as they look after the sick ones.

Household sanitation and hygiene encompass the isolation of excreta from the environment, maintenance of personal, domestic and food hygiene, safe disposal of solid and liquid wastes, maintaining a safe drinking-water chain and vector control.

Safe disposal of human and other wastes is an important step in disease control and in Uganda; the former poses a huge threat to health.