Who is Annet Nandujja? Flash Uganda Media looks at her biography, age, husband, family, music and dance career, songs, daughter, relationship with Omulongo Wasswa, Sylvia Namutebi, early life and education of Uganda’s traditional folk musician.
Annet Nandujja is a Ugandan traditional folk musician, vocalist, composer, dancer who sings in Luganda and the proprietor of The Planets, a traditional music and dance group based in Uganda.
Nandujja is the composer of her songs except for a few songs. She gets inspired by what she witnesses in public, sometimes, dreams that she converts into music.
Nandujja has made music and dance tours in various countries.
Early Life and Education
Annet Nandujja was born in 1959 to Gyagwe Israel, in Ggomba District, Kanoni Village. However, she grew up in Kibinge Village, Masaka District with her mother single-handedly following her parent’s separation.
Nandujja studied at Kibinge from where she attained her Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) certificate. However, she did not further her education because she became pregnant 14 years before joining secondary school.
Work and Experience
Annet Nandujja began working as a house girl at Makerere, a city suburb after giving birth to her child.
Nevertheless, after six months of work, she quit the job because of non-payment and pressure from her boss’s husband who wanted to sleep with her.
Nandujja escaped from her boss’s house to Bukoto where her maternal Aunt resided. And while in her Aunt’s house, she got another job at the National Insurance Corporation (NIC), as a tea girl.
Then Muni Enterprise, a company that manufactured pens & pencils then, before joining music and dancing. Nandujja did both activities concurrently.
Awards and Recognition
‘The Planets’ a music group Nandujja leads won the 2005 Pearl of Africa Music Awards, Best Cultural Group in Uganda.
Nandujja won the first prize in the 2018 National Cultural Heritage Awards, Intangible Cultural Heritage category for helping to preserve traditional Kiganda dances that include; Bakisimba, Aamaggunju and Nankasa.
Nandujja was also awarded by the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II during his 66th birthday cerebrations held at Lubiri Mengo in Kampala.
Nandujja is one of the few Ugandans who have received recognition from the Kabaka of Buganda for their commendable service. She was awarded because she has promoted Baganda cultures through music.
The traditional folk musician narrates that she began singing for the Kabaka the time he returned to Uganda from the United Kingdom (UK) when still called Ssabataka. Nandujja could sing for him on Christmas, Boxing days and others days at Kabaka’s request.
Annet Nandujja began her music and dancing career in her primary school, where she was the leader of the singing group at school. So when Nandujja came to Kampala, she joined the Twezimbira Dramactors based in Nakivubo by then.
However, after one year, she and 20 other members left the group and formed The ‘Planets’ a music and dance group which facilitated the collapse of the former group they worked for in 1991 because almost all performing members left the group.
Nandujja, Kiyimba Musisi and Erasmus Ssebunya are the lead members of The Planets. Rising to fame would not be easy if it wasn’t the defunct WBS television that gave their talent a platform, according to Nandujja.
She says, The Planets recorded a WBS traditional dance song, ‘Eno WBS’, a song that praised the station. And ever since then, the group has never slipped back. The station promoted their music and dance which marked their rise to fame.
She credits Hajjat Lunkunse and Nalongo Bayiga for nurturing her talent.
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Annet Nandujja is currently not married. However, she has a daughter named Sylvia Namutebi who is also a musician based in Sweden.
Nandujja was once married for 20 years but quit her marriage in favour of her career. She was married to an accountant Omulongo Wasswa at NIC where Nandujja worked as a tea girl.
But Nandujja could not balance marriage and singing. She was ever making musical trips worldwide and as a result, she chose to quit her marriage.
Nandujja also wanted to stay with her aged mother and give her the deserved care she wanted alongside her late brother’s children.
She couldn’t keep them all in her husband’s house, yet the two had no child. They only had two children from their earlier relationships, Nandujja had one and Wasswa had one child as well.