The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Goodbye 2012, Hello New Year!

The good, the bad, the ugly:

So many things can happen within a single year that making a review of 2012 is no easy task. However, as the countdown begins to yet another year, SIMON MUSASIZI and CAROLYNE NAKAZIBWE take a look at the year's good, bad, ugly, chilling and inspiring showbiz.

THE GOOD:

Santa Anzo carries Uganda's fashion flag

Fashion designer Santa Anzo did Uganda proud at the Swahili Fashion Week - coming in second after Kenya's John Kaveke for the East African Designer of the year award. Santa Anzo is a household name in Uganda and abroad, having been one of the first Ugandans to showcase their fashion line in leading world fashion capitals such as Paris and San Francisco, USA.

Royal nuptials

It can pass as the wedding of the year. No wedding attracted so much hype and media attention as that of Tooro Princess Ruth Komuntale. The royal wedding brought business to a standstill in Fort Portal as the kingdom gave its daughter to American, Christopher Thomas.

And if there is any person this moment of joy, excitement and pomp inspired, then it's none other than Buganda's Prince David Kintu Wasajja who was recently introduced to his fiancée, Marion Elizabeth Nankya Nsubuga's parents. Year 2013 promises yet another royal wedding!

Sifa Kelele emerges

In a sector dominated by men, this year saw another all-girl band open shop. Sifa Kelele added its voice to the growing list of Kampala bands by launching officially at the Sheraton Kampala hotel. Some of the names in this band include Mary Ssebunnya, Kathy Mirembe, Damalie Kalanzi, Dina Oundo and Maureen Mutabingwa.

Kadongokamu rebirth

It is Uganda's oldest, indigenous genre, but it had long been pushed to the sidelines by the more aggressive bubblegum musicians. But 2012 has been the Kadongokamu year for sure. Ask Mathias Walukagga, Willy Mukaabya, Gerald Kiweewa and Kazibwe Kapo, who have all produced monster hits this year.

These are tough, shark-infested waters you are swimming in, gentlemen, and to hit the shore in one successful piece, we applaud you!

Sean Paul returns

Give Ugandans Sean Paul any time of the year and you will have handed them happiness. The Jamaican singer was once again in Kampala and he did what he knows best - entertain. Before that, Konshen had brought the roof at Kyadondo rugby grounds down.

Veteran artiste Judy Boucher also entertained guests at Kampala Serena hotel, and the Nile Jazz Safari cemented its footprints on Kampala, this time tagging along renowned vocalist Regina Belle. Towards Christmas, Nigerian duo P-Square had yet another successful tour in Kampala with their Akon collabo hit Chop Ma Money.

Phiona Bizzu is Miss UG

She silenced haters, managing to have quite a good run as Miss Uganda. Even her showing at the Miss World pageant was not as miserable as we are used to. What more would you ask of a person critics had dismissed as "not beautiful enough" to be Miss Uganda?

THE BAD AND UGLY:

Sudden death of Sera

If we were to put up a wall of mystery deaths in Uganda, then singer Sera Nampijja wouldn't miss on the list. There has been a lot of speculation about her death with some voices claiming she was poisoned. Whatever the cause, death ended Sera's music career prematurely at a time when we looked forward for new talent.

Sera had let out only two of her songs, Fire and Contagious, but it was unbelievable how she continued to rise on the charts. This year also claimed Mr X who is known for hits like Baby Gal with Chameleone and Traffic Officer with Gift of Kaddo.

Chameleone's arsonist

Strange things never stop trailing singer Jose Chameleone. Just when waves were settling over the mysterious Arusha sleepwalking story that left him with broken limbs, something harder to believe happens again.

Why would a man come to set himself on fire in one's living room? Whatever happened at Chameleone's home, which led to Robert Karamagi's death, has become the talk of town. The deceased's father, Maj Benedict Kyamanywa, has disputed police reports of suicide, insisting that his son was tied with a rope and burnt inside the musician's residence.

Moses Golola bows out

When Moses Golola beat Sudanese Abdul Quadir, we were all convinced 2011 had brought a new face for kickboxing. But by mid this year, Hungarian Mate Zamboki exposed Golola as another joker in this field. You now know Golola as the motor-mouthed kickboxer, who makes lots of threats before the match, but fails to live up to his words.

No wonder, he has now rebranded to concentrate on emceeing for events like the recent WBS TV children's party at Uganda Museum. Ouch!

End of an era?

About four years ago, stand-up comedy became all the rage thanks to earlier efforts by Theatre Factory and its then member, Kenneth 'Pablo' Kimuli. Then came that Mnet stand-up comedy competition that gave birth to much more talent and before we knew it, every hangout in tawo seemed to have a comedy night.

Kampalans were turning up with their ribs ready for cracking with laughter. But then something happened; the comedians ran out of originality. The jokes became increasingly recycled and 2012 has basically seen stand- up comedy and comedy outfits in general take a tumble.

A few struggle to hang in there, but even they must admit, the jokes factory is suffering a major malfunction!

Theatre Factory is no more. Pablo Live is no more. Amarula Family as you knew it, is also no more... Next!

Concert flops

For some promoters and the international artistes they flew in, we are sure 2012 is a year they can't wait to say goodbye to. It was like Ugandan party animals had grown a sudden aversion to the very thing they lived for: partying.

Ask the guys behind the Demarco concert or the Sisqo show after it. Total flops with no measureable precedents - save for the absolute no-shows, like Bebe Cool's Chaka Demus and Pliers fiasco.

Bad Black falls with a thud

Once you build a name like Bad Black's, the last thing that would cross your mind is being locked up in jail like a common pauper. But like Geoffrey Lutaaya sang, "Easy come, easy go". Shanita Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black's fall was as easy as her rise to fame.

The socialite who had become popular for her lavish spending was brought down the ladder when court found her guilty of stealing from her Mzungu partner, sentencing her to four years in prison while her accomplice and lover Meddie Ssentongo - he had already been given the title 'tycoon' by the media - was given 18 months in jail. Black may be out on bail to fix her boob implants, but boy is she a shadow of her former self!

What a year for the Eagles!

First, they had that trouble with Fred Sseruga quitting and Catherine Kusasira threatening to follow suit. The ugly exchange of words is quite unforgettable, but Eagles Production managed to fix things and reel Sseruga back in. Then they had those multiple shows that left their upcountry fans seething with anger. The band lost a number of vehicles and property after unsatisfied fans decided to debt-collect in their style.

Word then started filtering in that the band was breaking up, but by the year's end, the dust had settled a bit. But for sure, 2012 has been the fire-fighting year for the popular band.

And now, the ugly heads that refuse to go away

Yes, there are things that have become synonymous with our entertainment industry over the years and it looks like they are not about to go. Feuding is one of them. For God's sake, when will this guy who calls himself 'Big Size' ever stop feuding with other artistes?

Bebe Cool started with Jose Chameleone in 2006, before they made up and he moved on to Bobi Wine. He then moved on to Mowzey Radio and Weasel; and there was the beef with the Kiwoko boys, and this year, he has been up against Chameleone again. We are tired. Boy, may 2013 bring you peace, harmony and calmness.

Also, we assume 2013 is going to be no different for the gospel artistes storming bars and secular concerts controversy. It has been a thorn in many pastors' sides, seeing their flock become fishers of men at the drinking holes, nightclubs, name it in the name of money. Oh, sorry, in the name of God, the artistes insist. Well, the debate on "ani yawaba (who lost their way)" has not been solved and the new year will be no different for sure.

Then, there is this cancer eating up the music sector. It's called auto tune. Whoever invented this auto tune thing just killed the art called music; now you just have to have an audible voice and moveable jaws to find your way into music. As a result, many of our musicians still can't hold a concert without lip-syncing to a CD.

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