Teen welder who sings for the lord

Vincent Arinaitwe is your regular teenager on an ordinary day. He supports his family and music career through welding. PHOTO BY LAWRENCE OGWAL

The first time he came to the city in 2014, 19- year-old Vincent Arinaitwe had only one purpose. To earn some money for survival, a goal he felt he would accomplish while working at his stepbrother’s wielding workshop in Seeta, Mukono District. But as fate would have it, his three month training was cut short when his brother got injured while on duty, cutting his arm. With his guardian in hospital, Arinaitwe suffered the wrath of his other kin who blamed him for the accident.
It wasn’t long before he was fired and sent packing to the village in Gomba, the last thing he wanted.

Jumping the hurdles
“I did not tell my mother that I was fired by my stepbrothers from the workshop. I lied to her that I was there to visit her for a short while,” he reminisces. After a month, Arinaitwe then came back to Kampala to search for another job at any wielding workshop. His stints at different workshops unfortunately didn’t last because he didn’t have the adequate skills.

“I used to lie to different owners of workshops that I was good at wielding but I only wanted a job, they therefore realised after some time and sucked me,” he confesses, adding that he went to about 10 workshops. He was lucky to get an opportunity to work with a kind man albeit free so he could gain experience. But the need for survival pushed him to seek yet another job.

He found a job at Musisi Metal workshop in August last year. He now earns Shs150,000 for making a metallic door, Shs40,000 for making a door and Shs30,000 for a window. On a day, he can make at least two of those but on a bad day he can leave without any coin.

Before he came to Kampala, Arinaitwe had many songs written on paper, he had never gone to studio until he came to Kampala. He recalls a day in 2012 while in the village when the late Martin Angume went there for a performance, he asked someone in the crowd to come and sing one of his songs.

Arinaitwe came out as the best singer after performing Angume’s song titled Gear. “Angume asked me to join him in Kampala so that he can help me build my music career. Since I had just lost my father and I was in charge of the family, I refused to go,” he says. When he was working at the workshop he resurrected his dream of being an artiste. “One day, I decided to go to church, I had never gone to any church in Namugongo, but that day, I found myself at Agape Life centre,” he recalls.

Why Gospel music
At the time when he went to the church, it was celebrating 10 years and there were different performances. “Since I had passion for singing, I asked one of the event organisers to give me a chance to sing,” Arinaitwe says, adding that they were first skeptical, they asked him for his music CD which he didn’t have but they later accepted to give him the microphone. “I performed a song called Mukama Onyambe (God help me). Since I was good at singing, the band easily connected with me,” Arinaitwe says.

The congregation loved his performance and he was asked to join the church’s choir which he is now part of.
Anthony Weddi who is now his manager took him to a studio known as Klap records in Bweyogerere, he paid Shs350,000 and Arinaitwe recorded the song.

“I took the song to a friend who owned a music library, he helped me market the song, I also perform it at church and that’s how people are getting to know about me,” he says.

I prefer doing Gospel music because it sends out only positive messages. All my songs are inspired by day-to-day situations. “When my father died, I did the song. I didn’t know what to do next,” he says. Arinaitwe has over 50 songs but he has recorded only a few- Nandibadde Ntya, Ekitiibwa, Twagalane, Sonyiwa and Yamanyi Ebyange among others.

About going back to school
Arinaitwe dropped out of school even before his father passed on in 2013. “There was no money to pay school fees for all of us; I decided to leave school in Senior Two, I was studying at Bukalajji Uganda Martyrs in Gomba. At his age, he thinks it is going to be hard for him to go back to school because he is on his own in Kampala trying to make ends meet.

Challenges faced
According to Arinaitwe, his major challenge is finance, since he is now more into music, he wants to go good studios and work with best music producers. “That’s the reason why I am still at the workshop. I have also learnt a lot from metallic workshops and if all goes well, I want to start up my own recording studio and also my own metallic hardware,” Arinaitwe says.
Arinaitwe was born in 1997 in Kigezi Maddu Gomba District, he is the first born of eight siblings, and he was born to the Late Deogratius Tibasiimwa and Ms Kellen Kobusingye. He started school in Kiwumulo Primary School in Mpigi and joined Uganda Martyrs Bukalajji in Mpigi for secondary school but dropped out in Senior Two because of lack of School fees.

Balancing work, church and music?

“I work from Monday to Saturday, one Tuesday and Thursday, I go to church for choir practices. I only go to the studio when my manager Anthony tells me we have to go and work on a song,” Arinaitwe says. Sundays are the days when he is free and stays at home the whole day.
He is renting a house at Shs50,000 in Namugongo, he saves money from his earning at the workshop and that’s what he uses to pay rent and also pay school fees for his brothers and sister back in the village.


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