Month: January 2015

Meeting St. Nelly-Sade

nelly sade

My journey to improve the presence of “Ugandan” content on Wikipedia continued through December 2014. I remembered a time when I got frustrated after trying to surf about a musician or writer on the web in vain. The truth is there were few with an online presence, at the time. But that is beginning to change thanks to the efforts of those that have seen this gap and have tried to fill it.

In December 2014, my focus was on making more pages for Ugandan writers and musicians, and improving some that were already there, but needed updating. It is important to get in touch with the persons who the articles are about. But I hadn’t seen such bad timing like the one in December 2014.

December is a month when people travel and when artists have a host of concerts. Getting hold of one was not easy. But I managed to get in touch with several. They offered insight in their work and guidance where I had misspelt their names of given outdated information.

When someone talks of “The mith”, the Ugandan rapper who is a member of Klear kut, it is very easy to misspell his name as “The myth”. That is how confused I was. But thanks to collaborations with artists this problem was solved. You should imagine one’s shock when their name is spelt wrongly. The content is about them yet the article isn’t. This encourages communities to collaborate with editors, and those out there to provide the correct information on Wikipedia so that it is reliable and up-to-date.

I visited Ugandan rapper St. Nelly-Sade at his home in Ntinda, the place that had inspired his song “Nva Ntinda”. Nelly-Sade is one of the successful Luga-flow rappers thanks to his poetic prowess.

When I asked him why he chose the stage name “St. Nelly-Sade”, he told me it was a long story but managed to break it down for me. His friends nicknamed him, Saint, because he does not drink or smoke. Nelly comes from “Nelson” which is his real name. His birth name is Nsubuga Nelson.  Sade was a name of someone who was so dear to him but past away. To remember her and honour her memory, he decided to use the name.

Often we get the impression that successful writers, musicians, businessmen, and many others, started just yesterday to do what they do. But this is never the case. There is always a journey that led to where they are.

Nelly Sade started rapping when he was in early secondary school. Senior two, to be exact. Now I know your mind is going back to the days when everyone mimicked the American hip hop titans. Well, that was a phase in life. Some left the mimicking and veered off to other careers. Others, like Nelly Sade, stopped mimicking and crafted their own style.

Nelly Sade raps in Luganda. He is one of the rappers that have promoted rap in indigenous languages thanks to his rap group, Luga flow army. He informed me that the members who formed Luga-flow army were part of Bavubuka all-stars which was pioneered by Babaluku. When they left Bavubuka all-stars, they formed the group. This shows you how one project by an artist and bless the world with so many talents.

Nelly Sade used to rap in English before switching to Luganda. I confessed that I hadn’t heard any song where he rapped in English. He reminded me of the mimicking phase. But thanks to switching, his rap style is unique and has got a following since his first collaboration in 2006 with AB Kale from Tanzania, and his first solo effort in 2006. He hasn’t looked back since. He has released track after track from Tubale”, “Nzijukira”, “Kakuubidde wa” and “Nva Ntinda” “Neighbour (kankuwaneko), and many more. His first album, The translation (Okutaputa) sold out weeks after its release. If you went to look for a copy now, you would not find it. He assured me that more copies will come someday. But at the moment he is putting final touches on his new album, Omulondo ne ngero (Stories of elevation).

Nelly Sade runs “End of the weak Uganda”. “End of the weak” is a global platform for MCs. It is in more than 141 countries. Last year, the global event was hosted in Uganda and Nelly Sade coordinated it.

I visited “Urban aksent” music studio where Nelly Sade records his music. This was the location for the photo-shoot.

It is important that an encyclopaedia includes artists like Nelly Sade on top of the legends like Moses Matovu, Joanita Kawalya, Frank Mbalire, Elly Wamala, and many more. It helps us to know the journey of music in Uganda and to have the world know that the flame of talent is bright in our country.

Nelly sade and I


Mulumba Ivan Matthias