WHO WAS PHILLY BONGOLE LUTAAYA?
Born in 1951, Philly Bongole Lutaaya had a thriving music career in Uganda in the 1960s. In the 70s he performed various concerts in other countries like in the Congo, Kenya, and Japan, and finally settled in Stockholm, Sweden in the mid 80s. There he recorded his hit album, "Born in Africa," making him Uganda's top musician of the 80s.
REASONS FOR CHOOSING HIM TO BE OUR HERO:
In 1989, at the peak of his music career, when fame, glamour and prestige were on his side, Philly dreamed of saving his fellow countrymen and the future generation from a disease that had caught like bushfire and had already registered devastating effects throughout Uganda. Death, death, and death was the order of the day. For instance, in the Rakai District, South Western Uganda, 70% of the adult population had vanished because of HIV/AIDS, leaving behind helpless orphans. But the cause of their deaths remained a mystery because many thought the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS were the result of spells from African witchcraft (juju).
By that time, Philly was already infected with the virus. At the time, in Uganda, the truth about the disease was concealed because the word SEX had to be mentioned which is a TABOO in our culture. But amidst discrimination and rejection, Lutaaya was determined to unveil and reveal the Truth that "AIDS was the killer and it was spread through SEX, and blood contact."
Lutaaya's campaign affected all districts of Uganda. The following are some educational lyrics from his AIDS awareness song and album, "Alone":
"Today it's me
Tomorrow someone else
It's you and me
We've got to stand up and fight
We'll take a light in the fight against AIDS
Let's come on out
Let's stand together, fight AIDS
In times of joy, in times of sorrow
Let's take a stand and fight on to the end
With open hearts, let's stand up and speak out to the world
We'll save some lives, save the children of the world."
FRUITS OF HIS DECLARATION:
Because of his efforts, now there's a nationwide AIDS awareness campaign supported by the Ugandan government as well as non-government organizations (NGOs) and other donor countries who have become aware of the situation through the media -- radio, television, newspapers and magazines.
There is also a concerted grassroots awareness campaign spearheaded by religious and cultural leaders in the deep rural areas of Uganda.
The gospel they preach encourages the use of condoms as well as abstinence, faithfulness, and love and care for those already infected. This message has changed people's attitudes towards the disease, provided more information about HIV/AIDS, and has led to the reduction of both AIDS-related deaths and new cases throughout Uganda.
PHILLY BONGOLE LUTAAYA: A HERO
His initiative has benefited us, the youth of Uganda, and our lovely country, making it a role model for the rest of Africa in the struggle against HIV/AIDS. That's why we chose "the late Philly Bongole Lutaaya" to be our Hero as we commemorate and honor him on the anniversary of his death, which occurred on December 15, 1989.
"May his soul rest in eternal peace."
Researched and Submitted by:
OPEN VISION YOUTH CLUB ENTEBBE UGANDA
Sources: The 1988 "Born in Africa" concert catalogue,
newspapers, and personal accounts from close friends
and relatives of the late Philly Bongole Lutaaya.