Ugandan rapper “Fresh Kid” has racked up hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube, won a US music award and emerged victorious from a tussle with the government—all before his eighth birthday.
The rapper, real name Patrick Ssenyonjo, has become a household name in Uganda, a country mired in poverty and corruption, for singing about his parents’ struggles to provide for him and his four siblings.
“Don’t send me back to the village where there’s no help, I remember a time when money was scarce, Getting fees and food was so difficult,” he sings in his hit single “Bambi”, which means “Please” in the Luganda language and has had more than 200,000 YouTube views.
Fresh Kid discovered his talent while growing up in Luwero, a coffee-growing area 60 km north of the capital Kampala.
“He could listen to a song on radio and immediately memorise it and start singing it,” said his father, Paul Mutabaazi, 40, an illiterate manicurist.
One day a singer he idolised held a show near their home. Fresh Kid asked to perform as a warm-up act, earning 500,000 shillings ($136) for his efforts – a month’s salary for a teacher in Uganda.