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Friday, October 13, 2017

Mentorship | On parenting and career advice

"Hello. Meet my son. He is currently doing *mentions course* at University. Please mentor him. I want him to be like you".

You’ll meet this kind of people, every once in a while. Senescent, doting parents who visit places and attend social events with their post-teen kids in tow. Caring parents in search of their kids' role models.

They track their progress, forecast the future and hope they’ll be useful to themselves once they are done with school.

Today’s parent will see this one guy who has seemingly made it and they'll want their kids to take the same career path. So they begin to draw fancy imaginations of what the children should or shouldn't do.

It's probably easier if the prospective mentee is at University and already half-aligned in their direction. You could you do your best the guy turns out better than you. Which is fine, because you become one of the family’s heroes and every time you show up at theirs, chicken breast and gizzard will end up at your platter.

For many of them, any career outside of the colonial courses (Medicine, Law or any of those Engineering disciplines) is tantamount to failure.

It becomes a different ballgame when some high school adolescent that you are supposed to groom into an Electrical Engineer ends up with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts degree.

From that moment, you'll always be viewed with suspicion. If you are feeble-minded, this is when you begin to feel your villain moment.

So the next time you bump into the parents at another gathering, you'll be given the kind of look security operatives give Bobi Wine when they suspect he's about to have another interview with Aljazeera.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tribute | Danz Kumapeesa: A life gone too soon!

Two months ago, the cameras focused on his ailing frame for a planned fundraising drive. It would be the last he world was seeing, of youthful music producer Danz Kumapeesa.

***

At 22, life is only beginning for an average Ugandan who has gone through our education curriculum. It’s the age where many are either in their final year at or fresh out of University, lugging those dreaded brown envelopes around town in optimistic search of corporate employment.

At this point, every contact made looks like the ultimate gateway to that white-collar dream. So we save telephone contacts of every seemingly “connected” corporate, from people wearing cheap Chris Adams deodorant sprays to those who "can't stand anything other than" Roberto Cavalli.

This is the age where every single dream still looks valid, despite having no proper meals, surviving on Rolex and those half-brick sized mandazi we used to call Drogba.

It may also be a breakthrough stage; a watershed career moment that sees one scale the first of many heights they'll scale if they maintain the momentum.

At 22, Daniel Mukisa – the producer we knew as Danz Kumapeesa – had the (music) world at his feet, churning out club bangers at will and seemingly destined for a bright future.

Once, I wondered who or what this Danz Kumapeesa was, for the byline featured in just about every Ugandan hit song. He had become that ubiquitous!

He and Nessim (23) were probably the youngest, renowned producers in the Ugandan music industry.

Danz was the brains behind songs like Musawo (Winnie Nwagi), Mbozi za Malwa (Bebe Cool ft. Sauti Sol), Tuseyeya (Grace Nakimera), Nkubanja (Lydia Jazmine) among others.

A few months back, he fell into an ambush of thugs who clobbered him to coma, sustaining head injuries that left him bedridden for over three months. The 22-year old eventually passed on yesterday, October 07, 2017.

Rest thee well, Danz Kumapeesa.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Showbiz | S-Square Split - The Background

Peter and Paul Okoye, the popular Nigerian singing duo we know as P-Square, are said to have gone separate ways - again.

This is the second time this is happening. The last time they went ballistic, Peter owned up to having started the fire, eventually issuing an apology, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xU2S8mOpIk (he's since deleted the original video).

He happens to be caught in the eye of the storm again, along with his wife Lola Omotayo. This time they want out. For good.

The reasons given for their split are as varied as your average mechanic's explanation for some shoddy work when a car he's worked for two bloody days keeps throwing tantrums.

From issues pertaining to Peter's choice of spouse (Lola Omotayo, a former business development officer six years his senior) and lack of creativity to differences in career preferences, almost every aspect has been fronted.

But the twins are not about to make it official. They have since gone ahead to record separate music projects, heightening the speculation none of the two appears willing to talk about.

Paul's most recent single,"Call heaven", is done in RnB while Peter has an Afro-pop track called "Look into my eyes".

I spoke to a Naija buddy of mine, someone who has followed the duo for some time. He opines that it could largely be down to a clash of egos, and the fact that most of Peter's songs never get the attention he thinks they deserve.

Paul is the more creative of the duo and is the one who has written a huge chunk of their most successful albums. He is also an introvert of sorts, and would rather spend a night in the studio than gloat over his achievements on social media.

Peter, now re-branded as Mr. P, is the loud mouth. It is the reason every endorsement deal (one of those being with telecom giants globacom) he signs finds its way into both mainstream and tabloid media.

Paul is the guy who has a low tenor and does the opening verses on songs like "Beautiful Onyinye", "Ifeoma" and "Bring it on", while Peter sings in a high-pitched tenor. He is also a better dancer and openly confesses to having a particular penchant for the same.

In P-Square, the general unwritten rule is that whoever writes the song does the opening verse. This is largely because whoever writes the song does his verse first and the other one comes in later. So you can do the maths and make your judgment on who, between the two has bigger hits. 

Paul may or may not be getting the kind of endorsements Peter is getting (As a fan, I hope he is), but one thing is clear - he's got the talent to stay afloat.

Whether this is real or a mere marketing strategy is anyone's guess at the moment. I just hope it does not spell the collapse of their estimated $120 million-estate.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Commentary | Of Anite, Abiriga and Yellow logic

Evelyn Anite once read a bedtime tale between two guys that went thus;

Bob and Jim met at the bar. Jim says, "You know what, Bob? I want to go back to school for further education."

Jim goes back to school. On his first day, his teacher who tells him he’ll be learning four basic subjects: English, Math, Science, and Logic."

"Logic? What’s that?" he asks. I’ll explain it this way, his teacher says; "Do you have a lawnmower?"
"Yes, I do", Jim replies.

"Well logically, you must have a yard".
"I do have a yard!"

"Then logically, you must have a house."
"Yes, I do have a house!"

"Well then, logically, you must have a wife."
"Oh yes, I do have a wife!"

"Then, logically, you must be heterosexual."
"Hell, yes! I am heterosexual!!!" screams Jim.

Jim is both excited and surprised that his teacher got to know all this stuff about him "just because he did own a lawnmower".He now believes he understands what logic is all about.

At the end of the day, he goes to the bar. He can't wait to see Bob again.

"Hey Jim!" (Bob wanted to know what Jim learned). "How was your first day at school?"
"I learned all about English, Math, Science, and Logic."

"Logic? What’s that?"
"I'll give you an example; Do you own a lawnmower?"

"No"
"Then you must be gay."

Anite recounts the tale to an absent-minded Abiriga who is probably still reeling from his haunted past as a UNRF rebel.

He certainly cannot be gay because, among other women, he'd been running with a certain Inzikuru (not Dorcus) and even got biological evidence to support his claim.

"What do you mean?" he prods more.
"Well, let me bring this closer to home"

"Do you support NRM?"
"No"
"Then you must be broke".

And just like that, Abiriga got his eureka moment, embarking on a project that would see him paint everything around him yellow. Clothes. Cars. Cows. Cats. Gadgets. Beddings. Et cetera.

So last evening as he was taking his (yellow) Volkswagen beetle for an evening ride, he got a call of nature in the middle of town. Right next to him was an imposing structure whose fence had been given the wrong paint.

"Why should a perimeter wall of the mighty Ministry of Finance have DP colors?" he wondered. And that is how he ended up here, giving this unfortunate wall a yellow coat of his pee.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Commentary | Debt in the Corporate World

"There's some money I am expecting. I’ll sort you out as soon it comes in" – Ugandan proverb.

Casually thrown around by corporates with little or no intention of honoring their obligations, this phrase could easily pass for the most abused promise in this (our) banana republic.

It could be a debt, payment for services rendered, rent or otherwise. It probably justifies the existence of people like Moses Kirunda (the "baddest" bailiff in town, in case you didn’t know).

It’s been adopted by just about everyone who settles here; Nigerians, Congolese, Kenyans, South Africans, etc.

Just about everyone.

Most times, the blame shifts to a bad employer (who never pays on time), the government, a boss who is "still out of the country", or some stubborn cheque that just refused to mature, choosing to bounce so people won’t settle their dues.

When a 50-something year old fronts this as their excuse for not paying up, you may be inclined to believe them (though there is an increasing number of crooks in this age bracket).

But when someone below 40 says the same, you may need to say a little prayer and set a reminder for hounding them until they come through.

Some may be justified – the cheque could actually be held up somewhere – but others simply choose to blame a non-existent source of funds.

Now, the latter category happens to predominantly feature the bright chaps. Creative folks who are simply good at conjuring up unique excuses every time that reminder comes their way. Innovative young corporates who are always on the verge of clinching some $1 million deal.

Do cheques simply beef them? Are they just so unfortunate that they end up with bad jobs? Or are they such bad decision makers that they always end up choosing the wrong deals?

Probably they and honesty don’t mix. They are immiscible. Like oil and water. It’s their nature. God created them that way. So we should embrace and accept them the way they are.

Perhaps.

Government should probably all collect Ugandans who just trust "fwa"" and lock them up in Nalufenya for fanning this vice.

#OfStubbornCheques
#OfBossesWhoFlyOutWhenTheyArerSupposedToBeSigningCheques
#OfPeopleWhoNeverRunOutOfExcuses
#OfPeopleWhoFeelBadHonoringTheirDebts
#OfDelayedGovernmentPayments