Gossip| The Northern Link UG. They say the journey to a thousand miles begins with a single step, this one here is an inspirational story that I call the ‘Kongolo story’. It is one such story of how love and togetherness, exhibited by two Ugandan and West Nile Musicians; Milton Maopini McPeter aka Gbaraspoken Emcee and Maliamungu Happy aka Loveson Controlla, representing the new wave of West Nile music and entertainment acts, brands and sons of the soil, we know for the good music they do and that they have served us for some time now.
In 2019, the two award winning West Nile Music stars Gbaraspoken Emcee and Loveson Controlla, who started their music careers together in Koboko district as far as 2006, took the industry by storm, when they announced that they would give us a collaborative and duo album called ‘Kongolo.’ The usual doubting Thomas’ of the industry would begin doubting and throwing their usual half baked critics around. This however would not be the case with those who have followed West Nile and Ugandan music closely and are familiar with what the two musicians have always delivered.
By June 2019, Gbaraspoken Emcee and Loveson Controlla begun the Kongolo journey like a joke after dropping ‘Kongolo’ that would be their first song off the collaborative album. The two had stuck to their word, the very way they had earlier promised us. ‘Kongolo’ was released and featured the legendary King Weeda, one of the longest serving and pioneer icons of West Nile music. The song was recorded at Weeda’s very own studio, Lolita Records by Waivi The Boss. Soon, the song broke out and immediately spread like wild fire during dry season. The media, fans, fellow artists all caught the fire. Thanks to the message of unity that the three artists put on the song saying ‘together, we are stronger’ or in Lugbarati ‘Tualu, Ama Kongolo,’
Besides the fans and road side music vendors who got hit hard by the Kongolo message, sports journalists moved in, picked the song up and owned it: Toko Badru, popularly known as TOK, a lover of local football and Kimnaz Atinga, a passionate local sports journalist, fan and supporter of West Nile entertainment, affiliated to The Vision Group owned Arua One FM, fell in love with the song and widely promoted it on the media house, social media, and at sports events.
The same year, after enjoying the success of the hit single, the duo behind the Kongolo Album, Gbaraspoken Emcee and Loveson Controlla went a head and in a press conference announced the date and venue for the launch of their twelve track Kongolo album, in a music concert dubbed ‘Kongolo Concert.’ The concert just like its’ theme song started going viral on social media as hundreds and thousands of fans and followers got hooked to the street phrase ‘Tualu, Ama Kongolo’ and ‘Together, We Are Stronger’ that the duo introduced and popularized.
The Kongolo Concert finally went down on 30th January 2020, held at Heritage Courts Arua City, with unity as the main theme and objective, attended by a long list of West Nile artists hailing from the different corners of the region like Elton Loverboy from Nebbi, JM Kennedy, King Weeda, Fify Hafi, GA Swagger, Barbarian Avenue from Moyo, Gavu Family from Koboko, Pingo Man, Fady Klique and Saab Jay all the way from South Sudan among others.
What followed the concert was not only positive reactions, soon, countless critiques started pouring on West Nile social media platforms from the accounts of different followers and stake holders of West Nile music/entertainment as many shared their different opinions in response to the general turn up of revellers during the concert.
Some of them argued that the general turn up of the concert was lower compared to what they had expected, following the vibrancy that the album and concert had created online and to the industry while another section appreciated , related to the Kongolo science of ‘together, we are stronger (tualu, ama Kongolo) phrases and openly affirmed their support and love for the Kongolo ideology.
One notable response among the rest was posted on Facebook by Madira Kennedy also known as JM Kennedy, the longest serving entertainer in the West Nile region. He objectively sighted inferiority complex as a major reason adding up as laxity in support towards events headlined by home artsists, compared to events headlined by artists from the central region, as a long lasting dangerous symptom in West Nile that needed to be kicked out because it devalued what is made locally and gave power to what did not build the local industry directly.
JM Kennedy who also doubles as the President of Uganda Musicians Association, West Nile Cluster with its headquarters in Arua City, also had this to add when contacted about the Kongolo Concert and the opinions that were shared on social media about the concert.
West Nile entertainers are capable of doing what any international star can do on stage, they have thrown big events, have done it before and with loving and building our own entertainment brands, the industry in West Nile is capable of raising the Ugandan flag very higher
The major twist in events around the Kongolo movement occurred in the early months of the year 2021 as the world woke up one morning to witness social media being awash, with news of the founding of a new Sports and Football Club in Arua City- Arua Hill sports club
The news was warmly welcomed by excited Arua City and West Nile fans of football who took it as a hype and an uplifted social status of the all new Arua City, because of the fact that another giant club had risen and added up to Onduparaka Football Club and to the other fast rising football teams in the region. Further more, Arua Hill Sports Club announced and showcased their official logo to the amazement of many. It took pride in the heritage of the West Nile and Arua people, donning the head of a leopard as it’s main image of significance on the badge and and finally complimented by the motto ‘Together We Are Kongolo.’
On top of the excitements, local football fans started adopting, playing and enjoying the Kongolo song as they watched and celebrated goals that the new football club scored in their buildup matches. At this stage, fans had raised the volume of the song so high because of its message. Eventually, their love for the song prompted the management of Arua Hill Sports Club to engage the management of the three Kongolo artists on a mutual agenda that soon would see the Kongolo song as the starting point. After several meetings with the management, finally, a partnership deal was agreed on, that would see the West Nile Music trio walk away happily with brown envelopes of undisclosed figures, jump to studio once again and remake a fans version of their previous Kongolo song to a new ‘Kongolo Champions,’ produced by DJ Poppa at Arufu Records.
By the time you read this, Gbaraspoken Emcee, Loveson Controlla and King Weeda would have remixed and remade ‘Kongolo Champions’ a new club anthem for the all new champions of Ugandan football, Arua Hill Sports Club, a song yet to be unveiled by the Club officially.
Are you a football and music fan? Are you on the Kongolo side of Arua Hill Sports Club, soonest as Ugandan Football reopens, expect to bump and celebrate your football moments with the new official club anthem, ‘Kongolo Champions.’
How far this deal will take the music industry of West Nile, it’s impact on the music careers of the three artists and the extent to which it promotes football in Arua City, West Nile and Uganda in general is left for me and you to picture, as more details come out, for now, I will end this story with what the Kongolo story had started in 2019; inform of fun and friendship, a moment shared by three West Nile musicians and that to this date remains a street phrase and music, in homes, streets and everywhere, carrying the very words coined by Gbaraspoken Emcee and Loveson Controlla as they stood together to preach togetherness through the song ‘Kongolo’.
As we await for the opening of the Uganda football calender, Arua Hill Sports Club is definitely one club to watch out for. They are the Kongolo Champions and the story that they have started writing already, under the management of Aita Joel, Club CEO Tonny and Otelul Vegas as Public Relations Officer among other technical staff, flavoured with what Gbaraspoken Emcee, Loveson Controlla and King Weeda had written, will remain to tell a West Nile story of love and unity for as long as we can possibly tell.