By Hussein Kiganda
The entertainment industry has had the longest closure, of about two years and the pockets of its stakeholders are empty now. For child entertainers, who have just returned to school, things are bad.
Patricia Nabakooza of Triplets Ghetto Kids is in S5 now, and her manager, Dauda Kavuma, says they have not scheduled any projects for her because she is a semi-candidate.
“In a few months, she will be a candidate and that means more concentration on academics. We have decided to put performances on hold. All the projects that she is supposed to be working on have been postponed,” says Kavuma.
Hip hop artiste Ring Rapper Ratata (born Jonathan Ssenabulya) is in S4 at Namungoona High School.
According to Ibra Buwembo, his manager, the boy can juggle both studying and music, but while giving priority to books.
“Although Ring Rapper Ratata is in S4, he still has to be strong and work. These days, we are focusing on his education, but not neglecting music. He loves education and puts more focus on it. We have projects running and about 12 shows to attend this year. I believe it will be tough for us, but we shall manage,” Buwembo says.
Felister De Superstar aka Faith Nanyanzi is in P7 at Kampala Parents School.
Mike Nyanzi, her manager, is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“It is hard to decide now. She has a scholarship with the school, but she got it because of music. If she doesn’t sing, then she might lose her fame and influence, and her sponsors may not see her relevance,” he says.
Nyanzi adds: “As her father, I feel that more concentration should be put on her education although we could do a few projects.”
Rapper Fresh Kid (Patrick Ssenyonjo) is in P5 now. He has a scholarship with Kampala Parents School and he has been studying online.
“It’s tough, but my artiste is the strongest young man I have ever seen. He is determined to do both music and books. We are working on seven songs now and he has parties to attend during the weekends,” says his manager, Denis Katende.
How to maintain child stars
Kavuma advises that management starts side businesses for the young entertainers so that if things do not work out in music, the businesses can bail them out.
“On my side, Patricia is making 18 years soon and I am planning to start a business for her,” he says.
The Uganda Young Performers Association, which brings together the child entertainers, urges the Government to devise means for them to earn money while studying.
Fresh Kid, the association president, has requested the Government to offer aid to some young entertainers who are struggling with school fees.
“I am lucky that I am sponsored, so I do not worry about school fees. But what about those young guys who do not have sponsorship? I know they are struggling. Maybe the Government could help us,” he suggested.
Fresh Kid spoke about the time when the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, summoned him to her office in 2019 on issues to do with his welfare, “but now, I do not see anyone helping us.”
There are many other child entertainers in Uganda and these are finding it hard to balance music and books at the time when the entertainment sector and schools have just re-opened. The likes of Kapiripiti, Musiimenta and Nina, Ethan, Raster Dog (shouldn’t it be Rasta Puppy?) are all heavily burdened.