Ugandan musical legend Joseph Mayanja aka Dr. Jose Chameleone sent his fans across the world into shock and worry after he issued his dying wishes on Friday.
Chameleone dropped the bizarre bombshell while being hosted on NBS TV’s After 5 show.
In a weird twist of events, Chameleone delved into how he wants to be mourned and the ideal preparation he would want for his funeral, thus leaving his fans in utter shock and worry.
A visibly distraught Chameleone was forced into talking his preferred afterlife treatment while highlighting the failure by Ugandans to appreciate their idols while they still live.
Chameleone’s tirade came off revelations that some big music promoters in the country owe him huge sums of money but have refused to pay him despite his fervent pleas for the same. He thus appealed to these debtors to pay for his sweat so that he can enjoy these proceeds while he still breathes.
To prove how serious he is, Chameleone even suggested that music promoters should pay him for a concert that he prefers to be staged in his honour at his funeral instead of people mourning him.
He argued that such a concert should fetch him hefty sums of money because it will likely draw an international audience owing to his crosscutting fan base.
In other bizarre death wishes, Mayanja asked to:
Be buried in a glass casket so that all his fans can effortlessly view his body, be dressed in a white suit matched with a bowtie
And as if to immortalize himself, Chameleone handed an autographed board to the Next media management, wishing that it be hung on the walls of the media house.
While it could pass for a normal interview, Chameleon’s utterances therein have drawn mixed reactions from his fans. But largely, many believe they could be a premonition that the inevitable journey could be nearing for their star. Many base their speculation on the examples of several fallen music stars who made such strange predictions and death wishes, only to die soon thereafter. Matters are even worsened by the fact that Chameleone spent a good part of last year in and out of hospital over organ-related illnesses. Could Chameleon be preparing us for the obvious? We hope and pray he isn’t. However, below is a brief list of Ugandan legends that prepared us for their deaths in a chameleon-like manner:
Moses Ssekibogo Nakintije aka Moze Radio is undisputedly the greatest musical legend of the contemporary times. Beginning his trade at Jose Chameleone’s Leone Island Music, Moze grew into a music powerhouse, conquering and redefining the music scene with his hanger-on, Weasle. He will be missed for his excellent writing skills that gave life to deep lyrics of many artistes’ hit songs. Towards his death, though, he rebranded into a singing angel with his Angel Music label through which he dropped his last single album. However, his mastery lives on as it was upon analysis of his very last songs including Nakessa, Kintu among others that analysts realized he was actually saying his goodbyes to both partner weasel and the world at large. To date his death anniversary is celebrated every February 1st.
Philly Bongole Lutaaya
Arguably Uganda’s first real musical export, Lutaaya took Ugandan music to the global stage at the height of his singing powers. Having dropped hits like Born in Africa, Philly also immortalized himself with an eternal Christmas album which, to date, has dwarfed any attempts by Ugandans to out matching Christmas hit songs. He is simply the Ugandan version of Boney M! A man of many firsts, Philly was also the first Ugandan to publicly declare being HIV+ while he could easily pass as the first musician to predict his death. This he did in his classic hit Alone & Frightened, which he released in 1989, a few months to his death in December of that same year. In the song, the legend predicted his death, also going on to paint for us a picture of how he would “be somewhere alone & frightened” — just like he is now. May he RIEP!
The founder of Kampala Music Stars, Kasozi’s legacy was furthered by his musical students including Prince Job Paulo Kafeero and Herman Basudde who later left his group to found their own groups in Kulabako Guitar Singers and Kabuladda Professional Singers respectively. Surprisingly, he also tried to recruit now late Pastor Augustine Yiga Abizzaayo but the latter’s talent wasn’t enough to fit him into the group. Kasozi died in May 1997, of HIV/Aids. And just like Philly Lutaaya, he declared his status publicly, leading to one of the most memorable music shows in Uganda at Nakivubo Stadium.
A few months to his demise however, Kasozi predicted his death and even released a full album called Dunia Weraba. In this album for which he made a countrywide tour backed in solidarity by Basudde and Kafeero, he sought forgiveness from those he wronged, revealed contents of his will and even — just like Chameleone— dictated how he desired his corpse to be handled when dead.
One of the best music composers and writers to ever grace this country, Basudde continues to live on, with his music still enjoyed by fans born several decades after his death. One of his strongest songs is Bus Dunia, which is about misrule and oppression of subjects by their rulers. Ironically, many who listen to it suggest that he could have envisioned the future NRM party rule; although there’s also debate to this notion. This earned him the title of prophet. But in this regard, Basudde’s predictions didn’t stop at social events; the man even predicted his death and bade his fans farewell in the song nzize e Buddu! In the song that was dropped a few months to his death in a fatal motor accident along Masaka road, Basudde announced how he was soon leaving the city to the village never to return — and indeed since June 1997 he is resting in his grave at his ancestral village in Masaka.
The Kadongokamu maestro passed away in 2007, exactly 10 years after the death of his friends and music mentors; Kasozi and Basudde. His rare diction and lyrics earned him top earthly titles especially his song Walumbe Zaaya in which he vilified death. Kafeero sang so much about death that almost all his albums had a song or two about death. It is therefore not surprising that his last song ‘Nsonda nya’ was a mental painting of the grave in which he was soon going to rest forever. Although he had talked about his death in his earlier songs like Walumbe Zaaya, Esaawa ya Walumbe, Esaawa y’okuzaawa among others, the precision with which he conveyed his will and dying wishes convinced his fans that indeed the end had dawned for their icon. And indeed, Kafeero succumbed to complications relating to HIV/Aids at Mulago Hospital just within a month or so of releasing that song. RIP Great One!
Afande Muhammad Kirumira
The former teacher-turned-Policeman epitomized patriotism and belief in the right cause. He will forever be remembered for having taken on the humongous task of exposing the rot in the Police Force, with a view to improve things there. His altercations with his bosses are well documented but he immortalized himself when he predicted his death. At the height of his fight with police top bosses led by then IGP Kale Kayihura, Kirumira predicted that he would be shot dead by his haters within the force he worked for. He then, like Chameleone, showed mourners his preferred final resting place under a mango tree at his ancestral home in Mpambire. But shortly after he spoke the bizarre words, he was indeed gunned down in a car with a woman friend and was buried at his chosen dwelling shade. He will be remembered forever for his now famous quote “If you talk you die, if you keep quiet you die; it is therefore better to speak the truth and die because of it!” Rest in peace patriot!