Ranking Uganda’s best deceased musicians

Death is inevitable and is expected in the journey of everything that has life. It is something that we know will happen at some point in our lives though we are not clear when it will.

We always feel that we shall live our lives to the maximum and die of old age which usually is not the case. A lot of factors curtail our life and these do not exclude even those in the limelight. Deaths concerning celebrities are often painful and catch people by surprise because these stars are at times immortalised by their fans.

Over the years, death has robbed Uganda some of the finest musicians who were at the epitome of their careers or were just finding a foot stamp in their careers.

Some of these artistes who are now deceased were so influential that since they passed away, their void has never been filled. As a tribute and paying homage to the fallen musicians, we take a look at some of Uganda’s best musicians who passed away prematurely.


Death is really painful and hard to take in. This was a great talent on our hands that we didn’t even get to enjoy a quarter of her musical abilities.

Afiliated to Swangz Avenue, Sera born Sarah Nampijja in 1990 rose to prominence with her hit “Contagious’ featuring Jeff Blaise and the song was an instant hit.

One could tell from the magnificent and sweet voice Sera heard, she was destined for greatness. Many people at times confused her for Irene Ntale and Fille Mutoni, proof that she was immensely talented to be mentioned alongside these divas.

Little did we know that she wouldn’t produce another lovely ballad as that was her first and last hit song. She succumbed to stomach ulcers in 2012.

She was highly rated and we believe too at spotlight that she was a talent to watch out for if she had lived on longer. In 2016 Swangz avenue released a song of hers titled One Ting man featuring Zambian singer K’millian.

Philly Bongole Lutaaya

One of the first Ugandan musicians to taste international success was the late Philly Bongole Lutaaya.

Born in 1951, Philly was a very big and influential artist in Uganda in the 1960’s and 70’s which saw him touring countries such as DRC, Japan and Sweden settling in the later in Stockholm in the 1980’s.

Bongole Lutaya recorded his famous Born in Africa album while in Sweden and to date is still one of the best selling Ugandan albums. He also recorded another famous album consisting of Christmas carols which are usually the most played in Uganda during the festive season.

The Born in Africa singer is also famous for being the first public figure in Uganda to come out and declare his HIV status publicly which was positive. This was at the height of the epidemic where the sick people faced a lot of discrimination and stigma.

He spent the rest of his life creating HIV awareness among different communities. He partnered with a number of NGOs and released a number of songs such as Alone under his Alone and Frightened album to champion the plight of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

He later succumbed to the disease in 1989 at St Francis hospital Nsambya but his name still rings up to date because they say legends never die. At the age of 38, one can assume that the ‘Anifa sembera’ singer still had a lot of music to offer to the Ugandan music scene but nonetheless he is an undoubted legend even in his demise that still has considerable influence up to now.

Akay 47

Born in 1990 as Emmanuel Mayanja to the star studded family of the Mayanja’s that includes Jose Chameleon, Pallaso and Weasel, Akay 47 as was his moniker already looked like he was destined for greatness.

Ak47 became a household name in the Ugandan music industry after his ‘champion’ song became a massive hit in 2012. This song made him one of the most sought after artists and one of the best dancehall musicians at the time.

He followed it with more songs that were also hits. In the meantime he was under his older brother Chameleon’s label Leone island but later got disagreements and joined Jeff Kiwa’s Team No Sleep where he re-established his career that had seemed to be dwindling.

In 2014 Akay was found dead in one of the bars around Kansanga known as De Javu. The cause of his death occurred under unclear circumstances and even up to now the real culprits have never been apprehended. The death just like our last artiste on the list was pinned on one of his closest allies Jeff Kiwa Akay’s manager at the time who deneid it.

He’s survived by twins and he was just at the beginning of his career because he still had a lot of potential and music to deliver. He had engraved his name as one of the finest dancehall musicians at the time and since then the genre is lacking.

Prince Paul Job Kafeero

Once dubbed as the Golden boy of Africa, the Kadongo Kamu fallen singer is hailed as one of the greatest musicians to ever walk on Ugandan soil.

He is arguably Kadongo Kamu’s greatest artist ever as his music has preceded him even after almost two decades since his death. Kafeero whose music carried a great deal of lectures on the ups and downs of life is still much relevant even up to now.

Kafeero who started his musical journey in the late 1980’s released a number of famous songs such as Bulandina, Walumbe Zaaya, Dipo nazigala. Some of these songs have been redone by upscale and modern musicians such as Bobiwine, Gravity Omutujju among others.

Kafeero won numerous awards when he was still alive and his death in 2007 created a big void in the Afro-folk genre that is still felt even up to now. The genre lost much of it’s popularity and competitiveness.

Kafeero was a lyrical genius who at the time when he died aged just 36 years still had a lot to offer to the music fraternity. He’s being regarded as the greatest of all time is no wonder because his music traverses age yet the genre is mainly confined to the reserved old people.

Mowzey Radio

Perhaps this is the most painful celebrity death to ever befall the Ugandan music industry because even up to now in the aftermath of the death, the effects are still felt.

Moses Ssekibogo Nakintije better known as Moze Radio formed part of the singing duo Radio&Weasel from the Goodlyf crew. Radio born in 1985 started out from Jose Chameleon’s Leone Island crew in the early 2000’s as a back up artiste and could be seen backing the legendary musician alongside would be singing partner Weasel.

Radio released a number of catching ballads under the crew such as Jenifer and Sweet lady but later fell out with his boss Chameleon. Radio and Weasel trekked out of the crew and went with legendary music manager Jeff Kiwa and together they formed the Goodlyf crew which became a force to reckon in the industry.

From the late 2000’s after the release of their debut hit song Nakudata, the two never looked back and for the next 10 years released chart topping songs. They were able to break the monopoly of the BBC (Bebe cool , Bobiwine and Chameleon) who had dominated the industry undisputedly for so long.

These two set the trend and were always at least among the top three musicians of every year for the time they were together. They hold the record for being the first Ugandan act to be nominated for the prestigious BET awards in the USA. Moze Radio was arguably the best artiste of his time because he was not only a singer with great vocals, but a great song writer too.

Although Radio’s non singing life could be questioned, he was and is an undoubted legend that can never be replaced. Most of the duo’s songs such as bread and butter, breath away, Ntunga, Neera, Nkwagala are still classics up to today even though with the tendency of Ugandan music fading quickly to the ears.

The unfortunate happened in January 2018 and the singer sadly passed away in February at Case clinic in the same year under unclear circumstances.

A one Troy was convicted by court to have been heavily involved in the death of the singer though he has over time vehemently denied it. Recently a one John Miles came out pinning the death of the singer on his fomer producer Washington.

Radio who would have been celebrating his 36th birthday this year surely left a big void that has never and will never be filled. The influence he had as a musician satisfactorily grants him our number one spot on our list as much of his potential was still yet to come.

Written by sigmund

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