joanita kawalya biography
Who is Joanita Kawalya?

Who is Joanita Kawalya? Flash Uganda Media looks at her biography, husband, songs, Education and Background, and music of an Afrigo band legend.

Joanita Kawalya is a Ugandan artist from Afrigo Band which has existed on the music industry of Uganda since 1975. Away from music, Joanita Kawalya is an activist.

Early Life and Education

Joanita Kawalya was born in 1967 to the late singer Eclaus Kawalya. She went to Lubiri Secondary school and Kyambogo University in 1993 offering a teaching course as well as she did the music.

Music career

Joanita Kawalya joined music at an early age. As a passionate teenager about music, Kawalya started singing from a school choir and later as a part-time member of ‘The Wrens’ civility of her late father’s guest performances with the band. 

Late singer Eclaus Kawalya would take his whole family with him and so Joanita Kawalya joined Afrigo Band in 1986 when she was nineteen years old. She was replacing her sister Margret who was also a vocalist then, but she was leaving for Germany.

Joanita Kawalya was formerly a music and fine art teacher at Lubiri Senior Secondary school between 1989 and 1993 before she quit concentrating on music.

According to her, the most enduring moment of her first job as a teacher comes from the fact that she was torn between teaching and music. Despite doing well as a teacher and earning shs70, 000 per month, she was equally blossoming in the music field. She so found it hard to strike a balance between teaching and singing.

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The passion for music massively overrode her professional ambition in teaching. She narrates how hard it was for her to quit but she had to follow where her heart and soul got self-fulfilment.

Currently, Joanita Kawalya is a seasoned matriarch of the music industry and the reigning vocalist at Afrigo Band. 

kawalya with afrigo band
Joanita Kawalya joined Afrigo Band in 1986 when she was nineteen years old.

Awards 

  • 2015 Special Lifetime Achievement Diva Award – Best female musician 
  • 2007 Rotary Club Vocational Award (Kiwatule)
  • 2007 Rotary Club Vocational Award (Kampala East)
  • 2006 Rotary Club Award (California) – Outstanding Afrigo Band member.
  • 2006 Rotary Club Award (California) – Meritorious Lady in Uganda.

Joanita Kawalya Songs

  • Ekadde
  • Minzaani
  • Obangaina
  • Batuuse
  • Bwenkanya
  • Jim
  • Oswadde Nnyo Remix
  • Teri Mubi
  • Seruganda
  • Nantongo
  • Akaana Ka Kawalya
  • Maria
  • Twali Twagalana
  • Olumbe Lwobwaavu
  • Abaana Ba
  • Music
  • Bakulimba
  • Lwaki Onumya
  • Omutanda Gyali
  • Speed

Albums

  • 2007 Obuganda Abwetisse
  • 2015 Tugende Mu Afrigo
  • 2015 Bagikwongere
  • 2015 Vicent
  • 2015 Bwenkanya
  • 2015 Baba Watoto
  • 2015 Kukusanga
  • 2015 Afrigo Batuuse II
  • 2016 Batuuse

Family 

Joanita Kawalya got married to Christopher Muganga Kagolo on July 22, 1995, amid huge fanfare. Joanita and Christopher have two children, making a family of one girl called Matilda Whitney Nakayima and one boy. 

The two met at the Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK) where both were pursuing Diplomas in Education.

Christopher recalls, “I had known that Joanita was a musician and even after graduating, I continued following her up. Our problem was communication because I was staying in Mityana while she was in Bulange. It was a stiff competition to win her heart. Despite tying hard to behave like other students, everyone knew that she was a singer and also her famous father.”

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Joanita says their turning point came when she travelled to see Christopher in Mityana, “After the Education Ministry releasing the placements for Teachers, I realized Chris had not picked his. And I knew that he didn’t know about it, therefore I boarded a UTC bus to Mityana to inform him. He had luckily before told me about the village where he hailed from and I didn’t find much trouble to locate him.”

“When I reached Mityana, Chris was in the garden and they had to call him from where he was digging.” Joanita added.

Muganga Christopher recalled that after his sister saw Joanita Kawalya, she confirmed that he had hit a jackpot and therefore he needed to do everything to win over the daughter of a legend.

Initially, Christopher was meant to teach in Mityana but the then headteacher of Makerere College School persuaded him to join the school. So this meant moving back to Kampala to be closer to Joanita who was by then teaching at Lubiri SS.

Later as Joanita’s music career grew, also their relation blossomed although Christopher preferred to stay in the background and still does.

Christopher said, “Putting aside the glamour of the event in church and later at Lugogo indoor stadium. What blew my mind that day were mostly people who came eager to see the kind of man who had wedded Joanita. Most of them had never even heard about me and they had never seen me a Afrigo shows because I always kept low profile.”

joanita kawalya husband music
She got married to Christopher Muganga Kagolo on July 22, 1995, amid huge fanfare.

Other responsibilities

Joanita Kawalya Muganga has served as a community advisory member on the National Aids Project, Makerere Johns Hopkins Joint project and the Walter Reed project. 

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Kawalya has also participated in grass-roots campaigns for HIV/AIDs and she is now recognized as one of the facilitators of the Nabagereka’s annual cultural fete commonly known as Kisakaate. 

She has mentored talent and she recently participated in the gender identity week organized by Makerere University School of women and gender studies. Joanita Kawalya has been a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) ambassador in Uganda for HIV activism and good palliative care.

Controversies

 #1. Joanita Kawalya to contest for MP

Afrigo Band vocalist Joanita Kawalya Muganga also showed interest in politics when she submitted in her papers to vie for the post of Wakiso District Woman Member of Parliament. 

Being one of the most respect female artists in Uganda and she is at times called to counsel several artistes who face marital problems, the singer proved competence. 

She followed Buikwe Woman MP, Gospel musician Judith Babirye.

#2. Joanita Kawalya unites Bobi wine and Bebe cool

After the legendary female artist was announced the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award and on stage, she invited her favourite male artists who included Bobi Wine, Bebe Cool and Navio to step on stage for recognition and then she accepts the award.

Meanwhile, singer Bobi wine had just gotten off stage after his performance and so he was a bit hesitant to come onto the stage but Joanita Kawalya insisted on calling him till he came though he could not stand next to Bebe Cool and moved to Kawalya’s other side before they all posed for a photo as fans cheered.