Friday, July 18, 2008
Makerere: Gourd of hip-hop

Makerere University is well known for its academic excellence in this continent, and often referred to as Harvard of Africa. But there is more apart from books, and I call it a “gourd of hip-hop.”

As one enters its main gate, students moving up and down most in jeans apparels catch the eye. Beside the road, the tax collectors in blue and yellow uniform rush to cars windows to get Ush. 500/= and issue receipts to motorists, excluding the ‘bodaboda’ cyclists.

A walk to the Margret Trowell School of Fine Art overwhelms eye pupils with its art pieces that dot the compound. They range from fabrics, clay work and statues. One to remember is a statue of a man on on-your-marks; he is ready to a race.

Round the university, relic and new structures make a pattern that says “old too, has purpose.”

Reaching the basketball court beside the swimming pool, though empty; the graffiti on the walls beckon to be read or photographed. One reads, Hip-hop is alive, and the other reads One on One show. Some sketches await a sunset that will force their completion.

Tuning my phone radio on, a new signal pops... “Ya are tuned to Ryde 107. Dj DMG rolling phat joint from tha Wesyde, Esyde, Black Continent and EA included...” I decided to trace for its location and ended up at Lincoln Flats, B1.

I was directed to dark complexion youth, who also has an afro, Ivan Wobusobozi, chief producer at 107 Campus FM. He takes me around the station, and He later emphasises that their frequency is flooded with urban music namely R&B and Hip-hop.

“We play R&B and Hip-hop,” He said. “Our audiences are ‘hipish’ and that is what they need and request for.”

On my exit from the radio station, I meet Renee da preach mc, a gospel hip-hop emcee in Uganda. Who goes ahead to tell me of his group’s album (Christ in da youth culture) and a solo project he is working on SAGE.

He says that since his early years in campus, hip-hop is what he has.

“Hip-hop I live, Hip-hop I know,” he said.

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