A time reaches in life when everyone has to face reality. You can run and hide a thousand times, but someday, somewhere; you will come face to face with realism; the naked perhaps brutal but honest truth.
I believe the time is right and ripe to settle this matter once and for all.
But first, allow me to confess that I am for all intents and purposes an unconditional friend of Uganda’s Music Industry. As such, I never make uninformed and ‘unresearched’ conclusions about any and every issue about our music. I take my time before I comment on any sensitive matter.
With that said, allow me to note that there has been an unending debate on Jeff Kiwa, real names Jeff Kiwanuka’s contribution to our music industry.
Many people appreciate that Jeff has done amazing work in developing Ugandan music. However, many others see him as an antagonist, opportunist and controversial figure that has been lucky to work with extraordinarily talented artistes. Though I don’t agree with the latter, I nonetheless respect their school of thought.
Like you may know, there is a very sharp line separating those that love his work and those that detest it. But we ought to understand that the most successful people world over usually have as many haters as possible. Some strong critics and haters are a bi-product of someone’s so much success, other haters are born from ‘a group stepped on’ while climbing the success ladder while others are mere naysays envious of someone’s good works. Some few critics are objective and have fathomable justifications not to like someone. All these exist and we interface with them everyday!
All the aforementioned are in Jeff Kiwa’s life. There are those that love him and admire his works. There are also those that hate him with a passion, detest him and wish he never existed. Unfortunately for the last group, Jeff is around and continues to build his legacy. His God continues to protect and bless him in the same measure!
Like Roden Y put it “Jeff Gwebatya” literally meaning that “It is Jeff that they fear”, many people are so scared of him and his success. In the same measure, Jeff Kiwa a few months ago noted that “Put Some Respect on my Name.” I concur that he deserves some respect. His works speak volumes about his music management proficiency and competence.
From early 2000s to date, Jeff Kiwa has been at the forefront of Uganda’s music industry. But before he joined music, he was working in a watches and jewelry shop around Majestic plaza and Wilson road. His elder brother who was also a musician Fred Kiwanuka aka Chris Kelly (RIP) is the one that introduced him to music by linking him up with Humphrey Mayanja, Dr Jose Chameleone’s elder brother. Jeff then became good friends with Humphrey and later became Jose Chameleone’s ‘designer’. Jeff went on to become one of Chameleone’s managers and they together rocked East Africa.
Around 2007/08, misunderstandings developed and Jeff Kiwa parted ways with Chameleone’s Leone Island music empire. In the same period, Moses Radio and Weasel also left Leone Island. The three Moses Radio, Weasel and Jeff Kiwa united and formed Goodlyfe crew. They immediately had their mark on the industry with local, regional and continental hit songs. Their 5 years fairytale had them become one of the most respected music duo/group across Africa to date. Unfortunately, misunderstandings developed between Jeff (the Goodlyfe General Manager then) and Radio and Weasel (the artistes).
Duo to irreconcilable differences, Radio and Weasel forced Jeff out of Goodlyfe crew. He then together with his right hand man also younger brother Allan Kiwa left Goodlyfe and formed Team No Sleep (TNS) at the end of 2012.
TNS became an instant hit with Sheebah Karungi and Pallaso rocking the country. Again for some misunderstandings, Pallaso who happens to be both Jose Chameleone and Weasel’s blood brother quit, leaving Sheebah with Jeff Kiwa.
Since then, Sheebah has had her mark; winning back to back prestigious HiPipo Music Awards Best Female Artiste accolades among other awards and getting continental nominations. Over the weekend, Uganda’s most on-form artiste Sheebah held her maiden concert. From the available reports, Sheebah Karungi’s Nkwatako Album launch set new attendance records for both Hotel Africana People’s Space and Freedom City. Again her manager is Jeff Kiwa.
TNS has a crop of other fast growing artistes such as Roden Y, Chosen and Topic. This is in addition to Desire Luzinda who has signed a music promotion partnership with Jeff. Don’t be surprised next year if Desire is back to her best. Enough said already!
Regardless of his shortcomings, faults and alleged wrong doings, Jeff Kiwa will forever be remembered as the music manager that had Uganda’s music industry in his grasp, shaped it, and gave it some of the most talented artistes and biggest songs ever.
Like it is, Jeff Kiwa’s position as Uganda’s Best Music Manager thus far is signed, stamped and sealed.