Ugandan Tradition of Love and Music

Navio is an artist known for pushing boundaries when it comes to Ugandan hip-hop. On his track, Njogereza, he executes the full Ugandan traditional vibe to it with borrowings from ceremonial traditional sounds. This song is full of traditional chanting and traditional instrumental. During a time when African rappers rely heavily on imitating western rappers. Navio, is influential because he takes risks and stays true to his local sounds that was probably produced before he was born. The song is filled with Ugandan culture but delivered in a modern way for a music consumer with entertaining lyrics. Navio puts rap music on local drumbeats which enhances the rhythm of this particular song.

The impact of Western culture is evident in Navio’s chorus as he speaks English saying, “I’ll give you your heart desire, I’ll take you higher.” Western influence is also seen through the artists clothing as he styles his traditional clothing with westernized items. For example, he wears his agbada with a suit. In my opinion, if Hip Hop is seeded in anti establishment and anti-colonial nations, then this would be one of the realest songs.

According to Clark and Koster, “conscious hip hop artists are offering an outlet, using their social musical messages to educate, uplift and unite masses. This is true for Navio because he has used this music video as a call for Pan Africanism. In the process of trying to find ourselves and who/what we love, we may loose touch of roots. Navio song, Njogereza, reminds us of the importance of our traditions and roots as we seek for love.

Although this song is difficult to translate, it is obvious from the video that this is a love song. In this music video, Navio shares a lesson on the Ugandan marriage tradition. He is on a quest to ask his lover for her hand in marriage. But he has to accomplish certain tasks in order to get permission from the father of the woman he loves. After three failed attempts, he finally wins the father in a board game and is reunited with his lover. In Western culture, the importance of getting permission from the bride’s father is sometimes ignored but Navio does not leave this out as it is an intrinsic part of his culture.

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