Photo Caption: Lf. to Rt. Bobi Wine and Nubian Li | Photo Credit: Steve James Reggaeville
Bobi Wine, Robert Kyagulanyi, AKA Ghetto President, returned to Jamaica’s Rebel Salute in 2020 with a passionate message to engage the African Diaspora in his struggle to free Uganda. He used the opportunity to thank the reggae fraternity, Morgan Heritage, Queen Ifrica and others for rescuing him from persecution. He also thanked the Jamaican people for their support.
A revolutionary singer and politician, Bobi Wine’s recent visit to Jamaica to perform on the Rebel Salute “UN” stage, was most remarkable and memorable. He captivated the Rebel Salute audience, using the power of Reggae music and its legendary status as freedom music popularized by Bob Marley, while at the same time sending his message back to the People of Uganda. Singing in his native tongue and in English, Wine sent the message through the music and its pulsating rhythm. He credited Sting, Reggae Sunsplash for accessibility to the artistes who influenced his music while growing up.
He likened the Rebel Salute stage, to a “UN stage,” which inspired him and millions of youth back home. He is the people’s representative, their voice and with him his comrade, Nubian Lee, a revolutionary steeped in justice, equal rights and freedom for everyone in Uganda. Songs with familiar Jamaican sound tracks backed Wine, in particular, he asked for a ‘baaad rhythm’ when he performed “Reject Xenophobia inna Africa”. News reports in South Africa identified the latest wave of xenophobic attacks in late 2019 which was underpinned by the belief that foreigners—mainly migrants from other African countries—were to blame for South Africa’s social and economic woes. While apparent that a significant number of the population held views that were anti-immigrant, data revealed the country faced bigger challenges than hosting foreign nationals. Bobi seized the opportunity to respond “it’s a shame to kill a black man because he comes from a different country…where’s the spirit of Ubuntu African humanity?…Black man of unity, cut from the same cloth are one and the same…How can you be a foreigner inna Africa?”
“We are fighting for freedom,” the tempo was sharp and driving with blaring horns sounding like a cross between flugelhornist Hugh Masekela and a bit steel-pan Calypsonian. Bobi asked “what is the purpose of liberation? We are living in the land of great potential. We must use it.” He continued “if the leader in 2020 treat his citizens like the colonials treated us; it is bad because a colonialist in black skin is worst.” In “United Forces for Change,” Wine called on activists, students, politicians & journalists to highlight injustice and stand as united forces for change, as one. He said: “Things must change someday, leaders who want life presidency, must abandon this tendency.” It is apparent that, “the message is in the music,” as Marcia Griffiths, Queen of Reggae, is known to say.
Rebel Salute’s audience showed their love and support to Bobi Wine with their applause, throughout his performance the cameras segued to show them dancing, waving flags and caught in rapt attention. He closed his set with a call for unity, borderless travel to Africa without the use of Visa, then he broke out into singing “When the struggle is over, we shall wear the victor’s crown in a new Africa.” Africanews said in its online news on the eve of the new year, “Bobi Wine released his message to Ugandans, in the form of a new music video titled ‘Tuliyambala Engule’. The song which translates as ‘we shall wear the crown’, is a pledge that when the struggle is over, Ugandans shall wear the crown.” Bobi prophetically declares “All the power in the hands of the people, that’s the promised land. They will no longer rule us by the gun.”
Critics have charged that the song has been politicized for his own purposes, Caribnewsroom will have to pursue Bobi Wine for yet another interview to get his response to the critics questioning his interpretation of the new version of the converted religious hymn.
Contact: Sharon Parris-Chambers