Bobi Wine is an OB in 13 schools!
At celebrated 34-year-old singer Bobi Wine’s home in Magere off Gayaza road, Quick Talk is welcomed by his wife Barbara Itungo.
As soon as Bobi steps out, three of his huge black and brown dogs race towards him with joy. He manages to send them away and Barbie serves us coffee and a snack of fried cassava. Bobi’s calmness and great sense of humour catch Quick Talk off guard.
“I am Kyagulanyi Ssebagulanyi Sentamu…” he starts.
And your children’s names?
We name children according to the way they come. According to the vibe.
Oh? So what inspired the name Solomon Kampala Nyanzi? [His eldest child]
At the time I had him, he was the greatest meaning to me in the world especially in the city Kampala. My whole life was revolving around him and the day I had him was the day a huge part of my brain changed.
And then Shalom Nairobi Namagembe [His second child]…
Hahaha! Yeah. Of course when I had a girl I realized there was another side to life. Just like Kampala, there was another city, Nairobi.
Wow, Shadraq Shilling Mbogo? [Third child] He must have come at a time of money!
[Smiling with approval] Ahaaaaa… kati okitegedde [You got it right]
Wow! Isn’t he the luckiest?
I think Suubi [his youngest daughter] is the luckiest, because when she came, she did not bring anything but hope. You know [wistfully] the day my father died was the day Barbie found out she was pregnant [with Suubi, which means hope].
By the way, fatherhood agrees with you…
I think every dad is a good dad. We just fail because of circumstances…
But you come off as a surprise because of your career stereotype [many think artistes are not responsible fathers and husbands]
I think it has got a lot to do with where I come from. I am a ghetto child and I am unapologetic about that. The ghetto is associated with violence, ignorance, crime, etc. So, when people see me behave responsibly and respectfully to my wife, children and other people, they get surprised.
Ok. So, moving on to education, where did you go to school?
[Laughing lightly:] which class?
All of them…
For nursery I went St Maria Gorretti in Kifumbira, Kamwokya. For P1 I went to City primary school, For P2 I went to the village at Canon UMEA P/S. For P3 I went to Kasaka P/S in Gomba, for P4 and P5 I went to St Kizito Kanoni P/S. For P6 I went to St Aloysius P/S Bukalagi. I did not study P7 because I was super sharp.
Yes. I sat for PLE when I was in P6 and I was the best in the district. Getting a first grade [aggregate 9] in the village was a big deal.
It still is! And secondary?
For S1 first term, I went to Maria Gorretti SS Katende. In S1 second term up to S3, I went to Brain Trust Academy in Lubaga. For S4 I went to Kitante Hill School. And that is where my career started when I met the likes of Bebe Cool, Master Parrot and Toolman…
And then for S5 first term I went to Alliance SS Kamwokya. In second term I went to Lubiri SS and in third term I went to Kololo SS. That is when I lost my mother . That is where I did my S6. I proceeded to Makerere University and did performing arts [it is at Makerere that he met Barbie and they’ve stayed together since, making it official in 2011.]
I’ve counted 13; what happened!?
I was never naughty in school; I was always the best in class. I have never been second in class starting from P3. I headed the debate club and school choir and that is how I managed to complete the terms or years, but I could not pay fees because the money wasn’t there.
I grew up with my mother and at that time our family was going through the worst. My father [J.W Sentamu] had been a politician and had been arrested. So, going through school was a huge challenge.
And here you are!
Yeah. You know, my mother was a nurse and she always put an Elastoplast [adhesive bandage] on one of my toes [and my siblings’] so that I could have an excuse for not wearing shoes, yet in actual sense I didn’t own any shoes.
Hahaha. That was so smart!
Yeah [bursts into laughter.] And when I’d see the teacher on duty, I would limp earnestly, yet at lunchtime, I would seriously play soccer [laughing, he demonstrates to Quick Talk how he used to limp.]
On my lucky days I would share a pair of slippers with one of my siblings. He would wear one of them and I would wear the other and off we would go to school with our other feet decorated with Elastoplasts.
My mother always wanted us to go to those big schools, but she was broke. Those days taking your child to Kitante Hill where ministers’ children went…! It was a super school and that is how I managed to go to the same school as Bebe Cool.
Speaking of Bebe; this Tubonga Naawe song. Were you contacted to participate?
Of course I was contacted and turned it down respectfully because my music is to represent all people, not one person…
What about your alleged soft spot for FDC’s Dr Kizza Besigye?
People will always see what they want to see… Anyway, what is wrong with visiting and talking to someone who lives just 10 minutes’ walk away from me?
Let’s talk about your political music…
My songs are not political. I talk about issues that affect every Ugandan. I am not out there to make enemies. Ugandans have appreciated and supported my music and I live a better life. How about I use my music to make them also get a better life?
There is a rumour that KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi appointed you ambassador of the Kampala Carnival after you sang Tugambire Ku Jennifer
Jennifer has never appointed me to any such position. I sang my song with a very clear message. Jennifer called me and I repeated the same message before her.
She asked how we could work together to address the issues I raised in my song. She then asked me to perform at the carnival that brings Kampala dwellers together as a sign of us pledging to work together.
[Bobi spots many tattoos; one is of a sword inscribed with Psalm 23 on the inner right arm. He tells Quick Talk it was his first. The most outstanding is over his heart, reading: ‘Itungo For Life’. Another one is a Marijuana leaf…
“Do you know this?” Bobi asks. [Duh, it is weed] “It is Barbie! She is the only thing that makes me high.” [He tells Quick Talk he does not smoke marijuana. Okaaay…]
Yeah right, Bobi! So, would you let your child have a tattoo?
I would let my kids have their life; all their life. I just want to be their friend and guide them to prevent some mistakes. Some may be like me and others may be totally different. They are all musically talented since it runs in the family, but I can’t tell who of them will passionately take it on.
And your ‘toys’? [Bobi has driven so many cars, but most outstanding are his Ford Escalade, Jeep Cherokee and now a Tundra]
With toys, I think I’m very immature [giggles]. Toys used to take a lot of my money as a young man and they take even much more from me as a big man. As you know, we ghetto guys have all these dreams and all this revenge we want to take on life to make up for what you missed. Please let me enjoy before my time runs out.
And when was the last time you cried?
I sometimes cry. I have never gotten over [losing] my mother. It’s almost 19 years since she passed on so, sometimes when it dawns on me I just cry and it usually happens in my successful moments.