He is the sort of singer that fuses symbolism, realism and Bible teachings largely to appeal to both one’s intellect and emotions. Even if you are a pagan and do not want to listen to any preacher, you will at least appreciate Bugembe’s creative genius.
It was not amazing to find that at the launch of his “Kani” album at Hotel Africana on August 14, the place was packed. And not just with hardcore born-again Christians. There were some “Kanis”. Let me tell you what a Kani is, at least according to Bugembe.
This is a person who goes to church dressed skimpily and for all the wrong reasons. They go to church to take from God without giving Him any praise. That is the surface meaning of the song and it rang true for some of the people at the launch.
Some of the young girls were dressed skimpily, men and women drank beer with impudence and the men hang out with girls they are obviously using and who are using them in turn. The good Pastor has a long way to go in preaching effectively to the Kanis of this world.
At least he did not perform with secular artistes like Pastor George Okudi used to do. Artistes that performed at his show included Judith Babirye, Wasswa Kiyingi, David Mugabi and Dr. Tee among others. And yes, he is a humble man who is passionate about his cause –preaching through music- it seems like he cannot do without the world.
His sponsors were none other than The Red Pepper, which features Kanis, this time naked ones and not just the skimpily dressed, Dembe FM, Samona, DHMark, Bukedde FM among others. No one can accuse these institutions of being non-secular.
The secular divide in society was also evident because there was a VIP section and a section for the regulars. When Paddy Bitama the day’s Master of Ceremony, got on stage to attempt singing “Mukama Njagala Kkumanya” (he is saved by the way and my, he looked like a flamboyant peacock in his red and black suit), he greeted the important people first and as a by the way, he greeted the ordinary people.
When he realised that he had relegated the ordinary people to a backseat, he said that they were the most important. But the ordinary people were not fooled and one said “era ffe bebasembyabyo” a complaint implying that they are unimportant and so are mentioned as an afterthought.
However when the man of the day got on stage at 9.30p.m (the show started at 7.30p.m), no one felt unimportant and unequal. Almost everyone could sing along to his songs. He performed “Mukama Njagala Kkumanya”, “Yesu Wa Bugembe”, “Elinya Lyo Dungi”, “Kijja kuggwa”, “Camera” among others.
It was an energetic performance; he almost looked like a rock star up there.
And my, the good pastor can do a good Shuffle. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is a kind of dance where one moves their feet in rhythm. You can pull out your videos of Brick and Lace’s “Love is Wicked” and you will see a good shuffle. We used to execute that dance in club in 2006 or 2007.
When Bugembe was performing “Yesu Wa Bugembe”, he pulled out the Shuffle and my mind went: Hello Pastor?! He can pull a mean stroke too.
He also preaches while he sings for instance when he sang “Entalo Zo”-a song that says you should praise the right God and not those advanced by fake pastors, he took a swipe at those people that pray at Pastor William Muwangunzi’s church and advised them to pray from the right churches instead of those churches made of trees yet the pastors are driving powerful cars.
He also kept advising people to buy Bibles instead of condoms and to read the Bible.
Then he finally performed “Kani” at about 1.00a.m, which everyone other than me could sing to but not before auctioning his picture which went for 1.4 million (how can a picture go for that much?) and his CDs went for quite a sum too.
They had to because in attendance were people like Ethics and Integrity Minister, James Nsaba Buturo, Joy Kabatsi, Brig. Sam Wasswa and Andrew Kasagga of Zzimwe Construction.