Exodus, real name George Timothy Lubega, describes himself as a down-to-earth, serious about business and Christ-fearing person who was moulded by the life on the streets where smoking marijuana was the order of the day.
He was raised by a single mother and when she died when he was just 10 years old, he had to be taken in by his polygamous father. After two years, he couldn’t take it anymore; he felt rejected by his father and decided life on the streets of Kampala offered better prospects.
“At age 12 in 1996, I started a new life. I started feeding in dustbins, smoking marijuana, sniffing petrol and pickpocketing for a living,” said Exodus, whose ‘areas of operation’ were Katwe, Dewinton road and Owino market, which was their base. In 2001, he left the streets for Nakulabye in Kiyaaye where together with a friend [Dan Kimuli] they realized that they had had enough of marijuana and needed a new life.
“Kimuli suggested that I visit Pastor Robert Kayanja’s Miracle Centre church. At the church life was different. There was love, unity, oneness and people had purpose in their lives. I wanted to taste this Jesus that was preached that day and the following week I went back and gave my life to Jesus,” he recalls.
But he didn’t find it easy fitting into a sober society. He tried to join the choir but he had never sung in his life.
“I lied that I was a singer because the choir had a house rented for them where they stayed and I didn’t want to go back to Kiyaaye, but after two weeks they realized that I wasn’t a singer but could dance; so, they took me in as a dancer. But I continued yearning to see the God that was talked about every Sunday that performs miracles… I stayed behind as a dancer and backup singer since I had no hope for the future,” says the smooth-looking Exodus.
In 2002, he met Pastor Kayanja whose words of wisdom gave him hope and self-esteem and in 2004 he became a leader and singer in the church choir. It is the same year that Isaac Rucibigango (Rucci) recruited Exodus and two others, Bahati Nsereko and Kenneth Tusubira, to form the Sauti band that toured the Great Lakes region.
“We became a big name and toured Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. While in Kenya in 2007, God called me back to Uganda and I left Sauti.”
In 2008, Exodus had a dream in which Jesus Christ told him to fast for 40 days, drinking only water.
“People thought I was sick but that is when I released my first song Ganjaman. The song later became very big and it took over Uganda and beyond,” said Exodus who has since released three others: Addicted, I am Walking and his biggest hit yet, Igwe. He is now working on his first 12-track album.
With only four songs under his belt, Exodus has been nominated for, and won more awards than many musicians who have been in the field much longer.
“In 2009, I was nominated for an MTV MAMA award and Buzz teen awards which I have been winning to date. I have also won the Groove awards based in Nairobi. I was nominated for a Pearl of Africa Music award; won at the Olive awards and was nominated in the All Africa Gospel Music awards in London as one of Africa’s best gospel artistes,” a proud Exodus said, quoting Matthew 6:33: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
It is through that background that the musician has now embarked on charity, working with Irene Gleeson Foundation (IGF) based in northern Uganda and taking care of more than 10,000 ex-child soldiers. He is the Artistic Director and Peace ambassador. On August 19, Exodus will have a concert at Serena hotel’s Victoria hall to raise money to build schools. He will be accompanied by Isaiah Katumwa, Maurice Kirya, Isaac Rucci, G Way, Hum Kay and Tabu Flo. All the proceeds will go to IGF.