Philly Lutaaya

On this day, 28 years ago, Ugandan artiste Philly Bongole Lutaaya died of HIV/AIDS. He was the first Ugandan to  publicly come out to announce his status and it is his disclosure that opened the floodgates that led to the open fight against HIV.

Philly Bongoley Lutaaya (19 October 1951 – 15 December 1989) was a Ugandan musician who was the first prominent Ugandan to give a human face to HIV/AIDS.

Before succumbing to AIDS, Lutaaya spent his last days writing songs about his battle with the virus, releasing his last album Alone and Frightened, including his famous song “Alone”.

He also touring churches and schools throughout Uganda to spread a message of prevention and hope to the young and old.

Lutaaya was popular in Uganda in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he toured DRC,  Kenya and Japan. In the mid-1980s, he settled in SWEDEN. There he recorded his hit album Born In Africa which is still popular in Uganda.

The Nigerian-Swedish musician Dr. Alban who has called Lutaaya “one of the greatest African musicians”, later released an album also named Born in Africa.

Here is a documentary (courtesy of NTV Uganda)

Lutaaya’s Christmas Album, produced in 1986 remains his most popular album to date.

The album, whose songs were written in native Luganda  remains part of a strong Christmas tradition in Uganda. It included classics such as “Tumusiinze”, “Gloria”, “Merry Christmass, Oh Happy New Year”, “Azzaalidwa”, and “Zukuka” among others.

May His Soul Continue Resting In Perfect Peace

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