The hobby that got her canes now earns Nandujja bread - Daily Monitor

The hobby that got her canes now earns Nandujja bread

Sunday August 26 2012

Nandujja (R) during her teen years.

Nandujja (R) during her teen years. COURTESY PHOTOS 

By As told to Christine Katende

I was born in 1959, in Kanoni Village in Ggomba sub-county, Wakiso District. I grew up in Kibinge Village, Masaka District, where my mother was living then. I remember being a quiet, obedient and hardworking child, who was admired by the whole village. Because of my character, my father would not let me leave his side. No body compliained about me as was the case with other people’s children.

I admired teachers because of the privileges and respect they had. I remember an aunt of mine, a teacher who inspired me. She lived in Lusanja-Kitezzi on Gayaza Road. She would tell us about the benefits teachers got like houses and employment opportunities, among other things. I knew that if I worked hard and became a teacher, I would get such privileges. Although, at that time, teaching was considered a last resort, to me, it was everything.

I think my life has been affected because of the shyness I had. I was afraid of attempting many things because of how the community would perceive it. I lost many chances but thanks to God, I managed to make it through in a different field that no one had thought of.

I recall the time I spent with my mother; many children today are missing their mother’s love because of the busy schedules most mothers have. My mother always made time to teach me what I had to do as a girl child and that has helped me throughout my life. Many children today watch movies that are meant for people above their age. Because of new laws, many parents do not correct their children because they fear being charged in the courts of law.

My only regret would be for the times I travelled abroad because I could not communicate well; it was hard expressing myself in a conversation with Bazungu (people who spoke English). I asked God why it had happened that way but with time, I got used to the fact. I then concentrated on dancing, composing and singing.

I enjoyed singing so much that I would do it during meal times or when peeling and cooking food. My mother used to beat me a lot for this and I cannot forget the time she threw a piece of hot mashed matooke at me to keep me quiet. It could not take me long to learn a new song that was played on the radio, like Dan Mugula’s songs. I was passionate about music.

I don’t remember being naughty in any class. Doing crazy things would have been a miracle. But one time in Primary Six, I was forced to bang one naughty boy’s head on the desk for over six times. This boy would tease me a lot, that time he had torn my book. The only thing was to grab him by the neck and bang the stupidity out of him. Surprisingly, the teacher did not punish me; she said the boy deserved it.

One memorable moment was the day I met my mother again. She left my father’s home when I was three years. Meeting her again at nine was great. It is that day that marked the beginning of my happiness. I remember my step-father had come to visit my auntie at the neighbouring village when I went and asked him to take me see my mother. I just escaped because my father never wanted me to leave his home.

Mother took me back to school after spending years at my father’s house without attending classes; he had no money to pay for my school fees. Later father came looking for me but I refused to go with him because I could not stand suffering any more.

I became a school choir leader after mother took me back to school and nobody would challenge me in the position. My worst experience came when my mother refused me to go for a music competition. Because I had grown big, my mother thought that something wrong might happen to me on the way. I pleaded, with her and my friends, teachers and the headmaster tried to talk to her but she refused. She said: “Weren’t you people competing before this girl joined the school? She will not go.”
I went to the banana plantation and cried as I watched the bus leaving the school. The incident affected me; I still feel bad whenever I recall it.

The love I had for music has led me through and it has made me who I am today. I have also trained others to do what I do in the Planets group that I formed later on. The talent has helped me to travel to different countries and interact with different people thus changing image from local to internal.