Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi

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Bobi Wine
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu update photo June 2017.jpg
Born (1982-02-12) 12 February 1982 (age 35)
Residence Kampala, Uganda
Nationality Ugandan
Citizenship Uganda
Education General Education
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Occupation Musician, entrepreneur, entertainer, philanthropist, politician.
Years active 2000 – present
Known for Music
Home town Kanoni
Relatives Mikie Wine (Brother)

Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu is a Ugandan musician who is better known by the stage name Bobi Wine.


He was born in Mpigi District and baptised Robert Kyagulanyi in the Roman Catholic Church. He attended Makerere University in Kampala.


Wine started making music in the early 2000s. His first singles were Akagoma, Funtula, and Sunda (featuring Ziggy D), which brought Wine into the limelight.[1] He is the President of the group Fire Base Crew and the Ghetto Republic of Uganja. [2] [3] He is associated with other musicians like Buchaman and Nubian Li who have sung alongside him in various productions.

The Uganda Professional Boxing Commission (UPBC) has given him a professional boxing license.[4]

Wine is also a movie actor, mainly starring in a few local movies commonly known as Binayugandda. Wine is also associated with a TV show filmed at his lake-view mansion.[citation needed]

In late May 2017, he became a candidate for parliament in an upcoming by-election for the Kyadondo east constituency. His house to house walk campaign still remains the most followed parliamentary election campaign in Uganda's recent History.[5]

Humanitarian work[edit]

Wine's lyrics often advocate for ghetto-residents in Uganda. He has supported several practical projects to improve conditions for the poor.[6]

In July 2012, he started a campaign to promote more regular cleaning in hospitals,[7] and more attention to sanitization, garbage management, and hand washing to prevent disease.[citation needed] A YouTube video from September 2012 shows Wine joining Kampala mayor Elias Lukwago in cleaning up Kamwokya, the slum neighbourhood where he grew up. Also in 2012, Bobi donated funds to build pit latrines and construct a drainage channel in Kisenyi II, a Kampala slum that New Vision, a major local newspaper, described as being "characterized by filth, crowded shanty structures, poor sanitation and lack of basic social facilities."[6] The newspaper quoted Wine as explaining "I am doing this because these are my people, and no matter where I go, this will always be home."

He has also campaigned for malaria prevention, with donations to the Nakasongola Health Centre, and reference to the disease in his songs.[8] "Malaria is more dangerous than Al-Shabab" became a popular refrain in one of his 2010 songs.[citation needed]

He visited the Bundibugyo Refugee Camp in Rwenzori region in August 2013,[9] along with representatives from Save the Children [1], UNHCR, and the Red Cross to deliver funds and supplies. The same year, Wine was appointed Parenting Ambassador by Twaweza, a NGO that focuses on education and citizen engagement in East Africa; his message in this partnership was to promote responsible parenting among his Ugandan fans. "Education is what will ultimately change the course of our country and as an artiste and a father, I believe we can all make a difference in our children’s learning," he said.

In November 2013, he held what local media reported to be Uganda's first[10] large-scale free entry album launch concert, at the Lugogo Cricket Oval, a very large venue where donations were collected by the Red Cross for victims of landslides in Bududa in eastern Uganda.

In 2014, Wine was appointed a Save the Children Ambassador for their EVERY ONE Campaign, and joined a team of 14 Ugandan artists who recorded a special song and video about maternal and child health. Other leading Uganda artists in the video included Jose Chameleone, and Radio and Weasel, who make up the Goodlyfe Crew. Bobi and his wife Barbie (Kyagulanyi Barbie Itungo) traveled to hospitals throughout Uganda – including Nakaseke Hospital, meeting with midwives and health workers, to popularize the campaign.[11] Save the Children also took Wine to other regions with the EVERY ONE Campaign, including a refugee camp for South Sudanese.[12]


Wine is often outspoken about political and social issues in Uganda, and has, as a result, provoked controversy.

Wine has a long-standing competition / animosity toward fellow Ugandan musician Bebe Cool, who has sung in support of long-time Ugandan President Museveni and his ruling NRM party; while Wine has supported opposition interests.[13]

in 2015 Bobi, who is also known as Omubanda Wa Kabaka for his devotion to the Kabaka [king of Buganda], publicly defended the kingdom's fundraising efforts, when they were harshly criticized by outspoken Sheikh Muzaata, stirring up a war of words.[14]

When the only radiotherapy machine in Uganda broke down[15] in April 2016, Bobi Wine took a leading position in widespread public anger at the slow official response, and posted a critique of the government's handling of public health care, challenging the country's leaders to make better use of citizens' taxes.[16]

In July 2014, it was announced that Wine was to perform in the United Kingdom, at The Drum arts centre in Birmingham and the Troxy in London.[17] This led to calls for a ban because of his lyrics expressing opinions against homosexuality.[18] Both venues subsequently cancelled Wine's appearances.[19][20] In a May 2016 Twitter exchange[21] with ULC Monastery LGBTI, an American Christian group that promotes tolerance toward the LGBT community, Wine acknowledged that he has moved away from his previous public comments about homosexuality.

Throughout Uganda's election period in 2015 and 2016, Wine refocused his messages to call for tolerance of different views.[22] Wine's public calls for calm activism during the 2016 election - with songs such as Dembe - provoked mixed reactions, from different political interests in Uganda. The Ugandan Communications Commission denied, during the election period, that it had banned Dembe from Uganda radio.[23] Three months after the election, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda invited Wine to a formal embassy event, and commented that he was a positive influence for local youth.[24]

Following the 2016 election, Bobi released the song "Situka," which challenges Ugandans to do something about corruption and injustice in their country. The song opens with the lines: “When the going gets tough, the tough must get going, especially when our Leaders have become Misleaders and Mentors have become Tormentors. When freedom of expression is met with suppression and oppression.” A fan video for the song shows news footage of public protests and arrests of demonstrators and journalists.

When the Ugandan government turned off social media during the 2016 election, Wine used VPN to post about his defiance to the communications shut down on his Facebook page,[25] while also pointing out that the government continued to use social media during the shut-down they initiated.[26] Bobi Wine was later chosen as a panelist to speak about freedom of expression on World Press Freedom Day in Kampala in May 2016.[27] On that occasion, his fans were surprised to hear him defend the right of his artistic rivals to express views that Wine himself does not support.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Wine married his long-time partner Barbie Itungo, whom he met at Makerere University, in August 2011. They have four children: Solomon Kampala Nyanzi, Shalom Namagembe, Shadraq Shilling Mbogo, and one who was due in August 2015.[29] In 2013, after having shown a good example caring for his children on his Ghetto President Reality TV Show, he was appointed parenting ambassador by Twaweza.[30] At his home in Magere Village, Wakiso District, Wine raises his children away from the media glare. He said to The Daily Monitor about his home life, "I have this big garden at home and I always ensure we go together to dig and get food, whenever we can. I do that because I want them to learn to live an ordinary life, not as a celebrity’s children."[31] In a 2015 interview, Wine’s wife Barbie spoke of his canceling work trips to take care of thir children during her fourth pregnancy when she suffered from severe morning sickness.[32]

Wine lost his father, whom he credited with influencing him to be a good parent, on 11 February 2015. The vigil and burial attracted hundreds of mourners, including government officials and other celebrities.[33] One month later, he released the song "Paradiso," which had the message of valuing your parents while they still live.[34]


Bobi Wine has won awards at the prestigious HiPipo Music Awards (HMA) and Pearl Of Africa Music Awards.




  1. ^ Saturday Vision, 12 June 2009: Your Stars - Bobi Wine
  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Guardian Unlimited, 5 January 2009: Scene and heard: Ugandan dancehall
  4. ^ The Monitor, 7 November 2008: [ Bobi Wine Secures Pro Boxing License ]
  5. ^ "Africa highlights: Wednesday 31 May 2017 as it happened". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Bobi giving back to the hands that lifted him up". New Vision. 6 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "KoonaDance". koonadance. 6 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bobi Wine In Campaign Against Malaria". 24 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bobi WINE in Bundibugyo Charity Drive". 14 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Daily Monitor. 11 November 2013  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Healthy Newborn Network". 11 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Bobi Wine thrills South Sudanese refugees". New Vision. 15 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Bebe Cool fans forsake him over politics, and join Bobi Wine.". 2016-02-22. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  14. ^ "Bobi Wine Warns of War with Muzaata |". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  15. ^ "Uganda: Butabika Hospital X-Ray Machine Breaks Down". Retrieved 2016-06-01. 
  16. ^ "Photo". Retrieved 2016-06-01. 
  17. ^ "Anti-gay Ugandan singer due to perform in Birmingham and London". Pink News. 24 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Bobi Wine UK Performance Faces Resistance". Chimp Reports. 28 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "‘Burn the gays’ rapper axed from UK venues". Gay Star News. 29 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "Anti-gay rapper banned from Birmingham venue over homophobic lyrics". Birmingham Mail. 29 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "ULC Monastery LGBTI on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  22. ^ "BBC Interviews Bobi Wine, Calls For Peace During Elections". Howwe Entertainment. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  23. ^ "Uganda: UCC Denies Banning Bobi Wine Dembe Song". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  24. ^ "PHOTO: Bobi Wine and his wife hang out with US Ambassador". 2016-05-25. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  25. ^ "Being On Social Media Is An Ultimate Act Of Defiance - Bobi Wine - Chano8". Chano8. 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  26. ^ "Comments". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  27. ^ "Ugandan Artistes Criticize State Limitation of their Expression | ChimpReports". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  28. ^ SSEKANDI, JAMES. "Don’t boycott Tubonga Naawe artistes – Bobi Wine". Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  29. ^ "Bobi Wine cancelled all his shows to bathe, feed & take care of me - Barbie talks about her current pregnancy.". 29 June 2015. 
  30. ^ "Bobi Wine appointed parenting ambassador". 29 September 2013. 
  31. ^ "Bobi Wine rough as a musician, smooth as a father". 11 September 2014. 
  32. ^ "Barbie tips on her fourth pregnancy". 28 June 2015. 
  33. ^ "Musicians, politicians turn up for burial of Bobi Wine's father". 13 February 2015. 
  34. ^ "A critical analysis of Bobi Wine's Paradiso audio and video". www.hipipo. 12 March 2015. 
  35. ^ HiPipo Music Awards 2013
  36. ^ List of Nominees for the 1st HiPipo Music Awards

External links[edit]