Who is Aloysius Matovu Joy? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, age, wife, politics, health status, early life and education and background of the founder of Alina Talents.
Aloysius Matovu Joy is a Ugandan long-serving Actor, talented singer, counsellor, businessman and teacher. He’s one of the famous Ugandans who have declared publicly their HIV/Aids status.
Early Life and Education
Aloysius Matovu Joy was born in Masaka District, Kumbu Village on June 21 1960. Growing up in a staunch Catholic family, Matovu wanted to be a priest and eagerly engaged in different church activities such as serving as an altar boy.
But he failed to attain his dream because his parents were not legally married in holy matrimony which was a key requirement for joining the priesthood.
After realizing that his dream will never come true, Matovu began living a reckless lifestyle which involved having unprotected sex and eventually contracting HIV/Aids. Matovu attended St. Mary’s College Kisubi, Kampala High School and Makerere University Kampala.
At Makerere University Matovu studied Bachelor of Arts specializing in Luganda Language and Linguistic. He graduated in 1986.
Work and Experience
Aloysius Matovu Joy who currently resides in Kampala is a teacher by profession, Linguistic by discipline, Actor by occupation, musician and a counsellor.
Matovu Joy joined drama in 1979, under Kampala Bakayimbira Drama Actors. He was picked to join the drama by David Katendeto who appreciated his music talent.
Then after he completed his university education, Matovu began lecturing Luganda, English and Linguistic at Makerere University.
After relocating to London, United Kingdom (UK) Matovu taught English to foreigners in London.
He started living in London after he was diagnosed with HIV/Aids positive the time they went to London for a drama show with the Bakayimbira Drama Actors. He feared returning to Ugandan because he did not know how to tell his status to his family.
Still in London, Matovu started Alina Talents which aimed at fighting HIV by advocating for HIV prevention through entertainment and encouraged people to use condoms, abstinence, going for circumcision and taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) the right way.
Alina Talent also assists needy children to get school fees, bursaries and counselling services, particularly on HIV/Aids. Matovu volunteered with some organizations in the UK such as Living Well, Black Liners, and London East Aids Network.
Famous actor and talented Ugandan singer, Aloysius Matovu Joy joined the National Unity Platform (NUP) party in August 2020.
Matovu in 2016 attempted to contest for the presidency but pulled out of the race because of the huge amount of money required.
He blamed Parliament for passing the bill which increased the amount to be paid by presidential aspirants to the Electoral Commission (EC) from sh8m to sh20m.
In his argument, he said Parliament and the Electoral Commission conspired against poor Ugandans seeking political offices.
Aloysius Matovu Joy has battled HIV/Aids virus for more than 33 years now. Matovu suspects to have contracted HIV on the day he broke his virginity, however, he is proud of having all his six children and wife HIV-negative, and they are living together in a happy marriage.
He reveals that ever since he was confirmed HIV-positive, he has been using condoms and he has been encouraging his family to stay strong and support him in this situation.
“I love my family so much and I told my wife and children never to worry since they are all HIV-negative. Since I was confirmed HIV-Positive, I have been having antiretroviral therapy (ART) well and my CD4 count rose from 194 to over 1,000 currently,” Matovu said.
Matovu suspects to have acquired the deadly HIV in 1985, at 25 years old, while studying at the university. “I think where I lost my virginity I picked the HIV virus. Because after sometime, I started seeing HIV symptoms like herpes zoster developing on my left thigh and people had started associating it with HIV”.
In 1987, while lecturing at Makerere University, Matovu’s mentor, Prof. Livingstone Walusimbi recommended him for a master’s degree in Canada without confirming his HIV status.
However, he failed to go because the doctor at Uganda Virus Research Institute, Entebbe failed to release his HIV/Aids result.
He had passed the written interview, and then he proceeded to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for an HIV test since it was the only place where HIV tests were conducted. ”It was only Uganda Virus Research Institute, Entebbe which was testing HIV.”
Matovu returned to Prof. Walusimbi and informed him that it looks like he was not going since the doctor tested his HIV status and didn’t say anything to him.
In 1993, Matovu contracted tuberculosis, but he still paid a deaf ear to the probable fact that he might have HIV. Years later, Matovu narrates that the cough persisted and in 2001 he began getting continuous fevers.
Although he became suspicious, Matovu did not bother to go for an HIV test.
Matovu Joy in London
Aloysius Matovu Joy together with the Bakayimbira Drama Actors travelled to the UK for a show in 2001.
He was admitted at Newham University hospital, London where he was diagnosed and his CD4 count was a low as191 and because he had tuberculosis Matovu was put in isolation Doctors first treated him for tuberculosis and then for HIV.
Starting daily HIV medications, fighting stigma and discrimination was heartbreaking, especially after witnessing what his colleagues Philly Lutaaya, Livingstone Kasozi and others had gone through including the judgment upon them from society wasn’t easy for Matovu.
Telling his status to family
Matovu managed to open up to his friends Andrew Benon Kibuuka and Charles Ssenkubuge who gave him the courage to face his fears. At this point, Matovu was not allowed to travel back to Uganda while sick and weak that’s why he decided to apply to stay in the UK.
Matovu started a new life in London, he volunteered with some organizations in the UK like Living Well, Black Liners, London East Aids Network, Body and Soul and others.
Despite the good life he attained in London, good job and a house, the time came and Matovu wanted to return home, to his family and also find out their HIV/Aids status.
When Matovu got out of danger, he started thinking of how to break the news to his wife. After four years in the diaspora, Matovu returned to Uganda in 2005. ”I wanted to test my family and confirm their HIV status. I took them to Mild may Uganda and they all tested HIV-negative in 2005,” Matovu narrates.
Leaving the UK, Matovu was given HIV/Aids medicines to last two years and attached him to Mildmay Center to acquire medicines from, after the package he came with getting finished.
Besides returning to find his family, Matovu as well wanted to return to Uganda to sensitize people about dangers of HIV/Aids and advocate for abstinence for the young people and faithfulness to their partners for the married couples.
He started counselling people at Mildmay Center and in outreach communities on HIV/Aids prevention and positive living. Matovu’s engagement in HIV/Aids sensitization is because he wanted to share the knowledge he acquired in the UK about HIV with the rest of Ugandans and transfer the message to the masses through entertainment.
Through Alina Talents Entertainment, Matovu has visited over 50 schools sensitizing learners about the dangers of HIV/Aids. He has also advised artistes to avoid living in self-denial but go for HIV testing, and that positive start on ART immediately to avoid spreading the infection.
Public disclosure of his HIV status
Matovu disclosed his status after seeing many artistes losing their dear lives to HIV/Aids yet they were on medication. Matovu adds some artistes feared to pick HIV/Aids drugs from hospitals.
Disclosing his status, Matovu didn’t consult his wife or children, he wasn’t prepared for it. But his wife and children didn’t like his move, but later on, they accepted what he had done and supported him. ”I wasn’t prepared for that, but as I was speaking, it came out and I ended up declaring myself as HIV-Positive through my experience.”
”I wondered how they didn’t know that I was living with the virus yet when I was in the United Kingdom, I used to post about my health on social media,” he adds.
Matovu went public about his status in 2015 he was speaking at a conference arranged Reproductive Health Uganda. Today Matovu goes to different schools sensitizing school children about HIV/Aids prevalence.
According to him, today’s young generation is sexually active, so they need guidance. ”Children as young as primary three are engaging in sexual activities. So, there’s a need to tell them about protection and abstinence.”
Matovu reveals the artistes are not the only ones spreading the virus but also some of their fans who tip them with cash for singing or acting well. Matovu says he accepted his status and decided to live positively and taking his medicines.