A CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL | EXODUS – IN THE IGWE LIVE CHARITY CONCERT – KAMPALA SERENA CONFERENCE CENTRE
By Ronnie Mayanja – It was about 12 years ago when I set out to start a REVOLUTION of sorts in the Body of Christ. Then I was demonised by some church goers because as a youth member growing up at then KPC now Watoto Church many did not seem to know what was the driving force behind a Gospel Nite in a club setting and some deemed me crazy for starting the Gospel Nite at Club Silk. But attending EXODUS gospel concert at Kampala Serena’s Conference Centre on Sunday left me convinced that perhaps I was way ahead of myself in pioneering Gospel Nite in a night club. As some one who grew up in Church and helped pioneer Christian Radio in Uganda it was always my desire to set up a Christian Club or call it an alternative form of entertainment outside a Church setting were we as Christians could meet and socialize. But that is perhaps a story for another day however today Gospel music is now played on main stream Radio, in nightclubs and at secular concerts.
Gospel Music has certainly changed over the last 12 years and in Uganda Gospel Music has certainly undergone a Revolution of sorts. In my time it was LIMIT-X that ruled the day on the local music scene. But with the ascent of Kirk Franklin, God’s Property, Freddie Hammond, Marvin Sapp, The Winans, Bebe & Cece, Yolanda Adams and many big names on the Gospel circuit, Christian Music has certainly evolved into a household name and is steadily gaining market share as EXODUS and his – INGWE concert revealed in what was an explosive celebration with a full house at the Kampala Serena Conference Centre.
The LIVE Charity Concert kicked off about 7:30pm with a number of curtain raising acts that included Rap Acts, Tabu Flo, Ruyonga, and guest appearances like Hum Kay, G-Way, Morris Kirya and Isaac Rucci representing the legends – Limit X. The production was way above Ugandan standards and for this I will have to give it to the Band, Back up vocalists and Fenon Entertainment that did not disappoint. This was a fact that would be later proven by Exodus at the climax of his show when he reminded his audience twice that the show had ended yet many kept in their seats spell bound looking at the stage and waiting for more!
The Auction performed by Rubaga Cathedral Senior Pastor Robert Kayanja to buy EXODUS’s new album and to fundraise for the IRENE GLEESON FOUNDATION in Kitgum raised over 3 million shillings in Cash.
The one thing that was really noteworthy and touched me personally was the testimony and story of George Timothy Lubega A.K.A EXODUS-UG. A winner of 3 consecutive BTA Awards in Uganda and 2012 Groove Awards in Kenya, Best Collabo of the year and Video of the year IGWE. This former street kid is now Creative Director at the Irene Gleeson Foundation [IGF] were he is spear heading the ‘GUNS4GUITARS’ campaign which encourages former child soldiers to become involved with music, dance and creativity. Drawing inspiration from the story of his own life EXODUS has been able to reach out to the youth in Kitgum who suffered so much trauma during the LRA 20 year terrorist campaign in Northern Uganda using Music and Dance.
However Exodus too has drawn alot of inspiration from a very special lady who adopted him and also started the Irene Gleeson Foundation in Uganda. Irene first set foot in Uganda in 1988 then she was concerned about the plight of Children in Uganda. She later sold her Sydney beach side home and founded the IRENE GLEESON FOUNDATION (IGF) leaving behind her family she travelled into the war zone of Kitgum in Northern Uganda. War and disease were rampant in Northern Uganda and Children were routinely abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army to fight for the rebel forces while others became sex slaves.
Using her Caravan parked under a mango tree in a remote community of Kitgum, just 40 kilometers south of the Sudanese border; Irene gathered 50 traumatised kids and began to teach and feed them. Twenty One years later the IGF program has expanded and diversified to include Education, Feeding Projects, Water and Sanitation, Health Projects, Creative Arts, Agriculture, Capacity Building and Economic Development Projects for more than 1500 children with a support staff of 420 individuals all whom are employed and catered for by the IRENE GLEESON FOUNDATION.
As Ugandans we no longer have to wait for some donor from abroad to support our people. But we too can make a difference today and embrace this change that others have brought to Northern Uganda. For information on how you can support EXODUS and IRENE please visit http://www.irenegleesonfoundation.com/
Ugandan Diaspora News Now brings you the highlights from what was an explosive colorful Gospel Concert on Sunday August 19th 2012