Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Uganda's Justin Bieber

Alex Ssekweyama lives in the western Ugandan village of Kakumiro. His family's status in the community comes from his mother's success - people walk far distances to visit her drug shop where she doesn't only dispense life-saving medications, she also confirms diagnoses, makes referrals to hospitals and always shares a kind word and gentle touch. The family home is the only gated one on the street, and the property is packed with prized mango, banana and orange trees.

Life here serves as the inspiration for Alex's singing and songwriting. When he heard we were coming to visit, he put on his best suit - a dark, over-sized jacket with pants that nearly matched.

He was beaming when he greeted us.

My name is Rioman. Well, that's what I call myself when I sing, he grinned. And I want to be Justin Bieber.

He could hardly contain himself while his three sisters introduced themselves to us. When the youngest girl--a dimpled 7-year-old--was finished speaking, Rioman stepped forward to perform.

As we were leaving, he handed us a couple light blue air mail envelopes with this message inside:

Dear my friend, I am so grateful and happy that you have visited our home... Although I am still an upcoming artist to start my music and acting talent in 2013, I see it as my task to make your friends, relatives and parents my friends as well. As you go back to your respective homelands, tell them that Rioman Ssekweyama Alex loves them so much...

So there it is, my friends. A young man from Uganda who has talent, a dream, and the charisma to be discovered.

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