Joseph Mayanja aka Chameleone’s song Basiima Ogenze rings a bell when you attempt to analyse the life of Arthur Musulube, the brain behind the Busoga Anthem. Basiima Ogenze is a sobering tirade against the Ugandan society for the ungracious manner in which it treats its heroes; heaping praise on them only when they are long gone.
And quite hauntingly, the words in Chameleone’s song ring out loudest when one meets the man who gave Busoga her music identity and is also the brain behind the Uganda National school’s anthem. A prolific educationist who has trained several teachers, local musicians, composers and instructors, the ageing Musulube is living on the edge despite his great contribution to the region and the country.
The born of Namwiwa in Kaliro district is a professional artiste having pursued a diploma in Music Dance and Drama from Makerere University before obtaining a Grade III certificate from Bishop Willis Core Primary teachers college (PTC) and Grade V teachers course from Kyambogo university. Musulube says he discovered his music talent at Busesa Primary School where they used to have music competitions and practiced local musical instruments which became his hobby.
The Busoga Anthem: After President Yoweri Museveni restored traditional kingdoms in 1993, it was incumbent upon the region to have its own anthem and Musulube was chosen for the task. “Busoga then was singing Buganda’s anthem which prompted the then Kyabazinga Waako Mulooki to look for an innovative Musulube who had composed the schools anthem which became popular in 1987,” says Fred Mukasa, an educationist and Academic Registrar of Kampala University who also happens to be Musulube’s former student.
Musulube says he was invited to Busoga council (Lukiiko) when he was the inspector of schools in performing arts in Uganda, a position that triggered him to be the pioneer principal of Jinja PTC Wanyange which aimed at certifying Jinja teachers who were only license teachers (unprofessional). “I was told to come up with a song which would bring all learners together.
The Education ministry commended me when I stressed that we are the pillars of tomorrow’s Uganda, which was an encouragement to the young generation, telling them to rise up and embrace acquiring knowledge. The song was then named the national schools anthem,” says Musulube. Using his innovative skills, Musulube recorded Kyabazinga’s remarks; “Tulibankabiinho ate twesimye inho”, literally meaning; “We are lucky and blessed” to have an innovative man in this council who is going to solve our problem,” said the Kyabazinga during the council sitting, according to Musulube. He used one month to collect other interesting words that would suit in the anthem.
Together with his counterpart, Dr Emmanuel Humphrey Gusango, the innovations ensued, identifying Busoga as the region in the center of the country, equiped with fertile soils, lakes, rivers and a railway line network that could collect mivule trees and other products which was a Tourism attraction. The duo looked at emphasizing togetherness to fight against diseases, poverty and ignorance, the killing factors of the region. The duo were also the brains behind the anthems of Busoga diocese (1977), Bugembe cathedral (1983), Bugwere, Iganga Boys Primary School and Busoga University. Other patriotic songs include Come along and join the struggle, Drum beat, Sleep awake, farmers song, freedom square and flowing fountain, among others.
Living on the edge: However, Despite all his amazing works, Musulube has nothing to show apart from the medals and some undisclosed sum of money he received from the current Kyabazinga a couple of months ago. “I am even challenged with a Shs2,000 journey to Jinja town from my current residence at Wairaka,” he says. Dr. Gusango says the caliber of musicians he belongs to is not recorgnized as people want the contemporary artistes who excite them.
He cited his performance in New York where he left whites shocked with his piano beats. “Music is a universal language and is based on voices which create emotions in the hearts of people,” Dr. Gusango says. He urged government to consider performing arts and music subjects in schools and other tertiary institutions as one of the sciences and innovation which aids in knowledge construction, brain sharpening and thinking. According to Musulube, music’s background hails from God and helps to unite people in the community