By Alex Balimwikungu
The death of once prolific singer Innocent Asiimwe, famously known as Napoleon, was devastating news. Many (the younger generation) couldn’t put his face to the popular song, More Money, released in 2004.
Those who knew him and his potential had one uniform remark as they eulogised him; he never really fulfilled his potential as he battled substance abuse. When he was on the mend with a musical comeback in the pipeline, he dies.
Everyone’s going to die someday. However, there are those who have died and never reached the full potential of their talents.
This list is about those artistes who had so much promise, so much potential and before we could fully appreciate their craft, the grim reaper took them.
Mowzey Radio is not on this list. He was already legendary and whether the best of him was yet to come, is subject to debate. He left us with great songs and indelible memories.
Kefa Mwesigwa was a member of the Jungle Beat Entertainment, a music group at the time. He soared into Uganda’s music industry with hit songs – Better Man featuring Mosh and Get With You featuring Navio.
At just 18 years, he was declared the winner of Capital Radio’s 2003 Coca-Cola Real Stars.
Steve Jean was a broken man when Kefa died suddenly. The 20-year-old was hospitalised in Hoima for about a week with malaria fever and died in 2005. Steve Jean revealed that plans were underway to have Kefa record an album, but he had decided to complete his studies first.
For Steve Jean, Kefa was that wonderful, talented musician who passed on too early.
Sarah Nampijja (Sera)
Sarah Nampijja, recognised professionally as Sera, was a singer and songwriter. She rose to prominence on the Ugandan entertainment scene in 2012 with her hit single, Contagious, in which she featured Jeff Blaise.
Sera signed her first professional music contract in 2009 at the age of 19 when she was signed onto Kampala-based music label Swangz Avenue.
At 22, she was dead. Sera succumbed to stomach ulcers after developing complications on her way from a burial in 2012.
She was popular and we had high expectations of her, a friend at Swangz Avenue revealed at her burial.
Singer Bobi Wine has worked with many artistes, but part of his success story hinges on a one Weatherman. They had a song Mwekume, which promoted safe sex.
In 2004 when Fire Base Crew was one of the biggest music groups, Bobi Wine and the late Weatherman released this deep lyrical vibe reminding young people that as much as life is interesting, it is important to protect it because it is short.
The video featured ad libs from the Late Philly Lutaaya, Chameleone and Navio.
Shortly after, Weatherman was dead, not from unsafe sex, but a motor accident. He died so young.
Emmanuel Mayanja, popularly known as AK 47, died at 25. He had just realised his niche and had morphed into a fan favourite. He was a rising star when he was beaten in a bar before he succumbed to his injuries.
During his short career, he had risen in the dancehall music ranks and defined the genre then. His family is still seeking answers for his death, but his fans keep imagining how prolific he would be now.
Dizzy Nuts Galiwango
Oscar Mubuuke, popularly known as Dizzy Nuts, was known for his deep guttural vocals and knowledge of Jamaican patois. Like Bebe Cool with whom he collaborated on some songs, Dizzy Nuts lived life in the fast lane.
The singer, who sang Fire Burn Dem with Bebe Cool, was killed in a hit-and-run incident at Victoria Club in Kireka, Wakiso in 2017.
His collaboration with Jose Chameleone dubbed Baby Gal topped charts. After tasting fame, Mr. X took a break from music to pursue education. He returned three years later and joined the Goodlyfe crew of Mowzey Radio (RIP) and Weasel.
He left them in 2009 and joined Kaddo Pharm alongside Gift of Kaddo. They had over 10 songs, but notable among them was Traffic Man Officer.
Mr. X died on June 28, 2012 after a short illness.
Elie Cham, real name Elly Kyambadde, died in 2013 in a motor accident. Elie was the brother of dancehall artiste Empress of the Big Masavu fame.
Elie was behind tracks like Kibe Sankalewa, which he did with Ronnie, who is known for his Stamina dance with Eddy Kenzo.
Elie was signed to the Big Talent music crew
He was a veteran in the game, but even though he had the resources to carry on with his music, he seemed comfortable with the plaudits the song Mungatto brought him.
Dennis Rackla was so comfortable writing songs for other musicians like Iryn Namubiru, Juliana Kanyomozi, Desire Luzinda and Priscilla Kalibbala. He died in 2017.
Long before Jamaican reggae dancehall artiste Buju Banton set foot in Uganda, he had an incarnate in Peter Nkwanga, popularly known as Menton Summer. He teamed up with Emperor Orlando and then both were pivotal in popularising dancehall music in Uganda.
Menton Summer’s Kanemu remix with Emperor Orlando was popular as were songs like Sirika Baby and Tuzilye.
Menton Summer died in a car accident in 1997 in Iganga as he was rushing from Mbale after a performance, to catch up with his midnight radio programme (Dance Mania) on CBS FM.