6 February 2018

Uganda: Emulate Mowzey's Positive Attributes, Especially His Music

Photo: Michael Kakumirizi/Daily Monitor
Staff of Kampala Funeral Directors carry the casket containing the body of singer Mowzey Radio.

The old boys of Kiira College Butiki (KCB) join the entire country, family and music fraternity in mourning the demise of a music icon and now legend, Moses Ssekibogo, alias Mowzey Radio.

However, as the country comes to terms with the departure of such a music giant, there is a growing class of people, who are anxious to understand Mowzey with an open mind so as to form their own opinion on his character and personality. Writing about Mowzey's life is to dare one's candle in noon-day sun. Where do you begin from and where do you end? It is a meridian challenge, but I have offered to open people's hearts and minds, to expose in great depth and dimension the character of our old boy.

Mowzey joined KCB in 2002 for his A-Level studies in History, Economics, Literature and Divinity (HEL/D). He resided in Henry Muloki House, one of the recently constructed houses at the school, named after the Kyabazinga of Busoga, the late Henry Wako Muloki.

Mowzey's desire was to become a lawyer, and he worked so hard to achieve that dream. He was a very brilliant student. Kiira College has a practice of reading names of the best and last 10 students in each class, beginning of every term at the general assembly. Mowzey was always read among the best five students in Arts class for two consecutive years. Divinity and Literature were his best subjects.

He received many honours and awards for excellent performance, especially in Literature. This perhaps explains the fons et origo of his music oratory and composition, accentuated with poetic, educative and humorous superlatives.

After KCB, he was admitted to Makerere University on government sponsorship and narrowly missed the cut off points for his dream course, law. This haunted him though as it later turned out, he has had an illustrious music career.

He was naturally talented in fine art and his cubicle was filled with pictures he personally drew of people he lived with, loved and admired. He idolised Bob Marley and drew a very big picture of him and hanged it in his room. When asked why fine art was not part of his subject combinations, he reasoned that it was unnecessary to study a subject where he already had a natural talent.

While at KCB, he did not engage much in extra-curricular activities and was not so much into music. There was a conducive environment for him to enhance his music career. The school had earlier produced music talents such as Gen Mega Dee, Menton Kronno and GNL Zamba, but Mowzey chose to focus on academics and perhaps achieve his dream of becoming a lawyer. There is one memorable incident where he did a rendition of R. Kelly's I believe I can fly that alerted all and sundry of his music prowess. His melodious voice proved that he would be an icon in future.

Mowzey also engaged in student politics and was a super students' leader. He was the deputy head of Henry Wako Muloki house, where he resided, and also served as the general secretary of the entire prefects' council. Mowzey was a model chap, who deprecated isolation and seclusion. He was disciplined, smart and super organised in whatever he did.

Be that as it may, humanity occasionally ensconces a dichotomy between declaration and deed, belief and righteous action. Such dichotomy has shaped public perception and reaction towards the life and death of Mowzey.

To some, he was an entertainment maestro while others have conveniently attributed his fate to a folly in character, which is increasingly becoming innate in Uganda's social personalities and celebrities. I will personally decline to pass judgement on Mowzey, cognisant of the fact that he was a mortal man beset with the tribulations and temptations of an evil environment.

Indubitably in his character, he could have had challenges of keeping his soul unsullied, which could have affected his ethical stature in search for fame and influence in society and the music fraternity.

What is vital now is to emulate his positive attributes, especially his music; whose inimitable symphony will continue to drive many into melancholy and ecstasy. There is no doubt that solace of his music and the joys of noble literature embedded therein will continue to define Mowzey's legacy. I will end my submission with the gracious utterance that: Man can have nothing but what he strives for.

Mr Basalirwa is the vice chairman of Kiira College Butiki Old Boys Association.

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