Ugandan Music Hero: Madoxx Sematimba the Ugandan reggae Master

MadoxxI could eat the air and drink the music, so heady is the fragrance of the saffron rice and the melody of the reggae music. The sun is hot in a way that dries the soil underfoot and warms everything one touches from the wooden table to the metal cups. As a way of celebrating the life of a living artiste, and being  heroes day today, I choose to celebrate this guy.

Listening to the lyrics of a one Madoxx, swimming through one’s cerebral cortex like a wakeful dream. The relaxing reggae note enables the songs to call ones entire being

Listening to his music dancing out of the instruments in a swinging rhythm, my foot begins to tap and my head equally nods and sways. The sax, the guitar, all deep as soul soothing, sweet as honey pie is what culturally will bring out Sematimba’s outstandingly wit, social appeal and enviable music arrangement. It is music soothing the soul in a deep manner and awakens it to social causes.

With a simple and straightforward demeanor, the Ugandan roots reggae musician David Amon Ssemanda Ssematimba through his Luganda ballads manages to sing about love, unity, social justice, peace and everyday issues in songs such as Irene, Tukolagane, Omwami N’omukyala, Kampala, Come Let’s Rock.

He one of the few musicians whose music hit the airwaves in early 2000s and mostly with a high background in the high life of music. The present day Ugandan musicians are reaping big from his unique love for what he does best, music. All he deserves is to be celebrated and appreciated for the efforts of yesterday is what the today industry is reaping from.


Maddoxx with Steve Keys and Navio. They recently thrilled funs during a Roast and Rhyme event at Munyonyo

Madoxx is a Kampala city born eclectic reggae singer, song-writer, composer with a strong message of love, social causes, African identity and history. He was born in 1972 in Kampala where he was brought up and this could be the reason he sang about Kampala when he was away in Sweden.  He went to Makonzi Boarding Primary School and Busoga College Mwiri. Before choosing a path in music, Ssematimba worked as a primary school teacher. He relocated to StockholmSweden in 1991, when he was 21 years old. He breezed on the local scene in 1998, with the single Tukolagane (Let’s join hands and work together), unfortunately dancehall reggae, or ragga had taken its toll on the locals. 

His music did not sell a lot at the time because the entire country was listening to fast-paced Congolese Soukous, new age cross-ιfertilized Kadongokamu, Ugandan and western pop. Ugandans were also listening (and still listen) to a new brand of Ugandan ragga, where the young heathens don’t praise Jah, all they want is sex and vanity. However after spawning mega hits like Namagembe, Munnakyalo, Ddembe, Omukwano, e.t.c thousands of copies were sold, it became the most popular album of the year 2002 where his Namagembe hit was dubbed song of the year. 

In his lyrics, Namagembe, All time lover and Nakatudde, he manages to get lovers warm up to the dance floor and for the lonely to feel the weight of not being loved. In an emotive surrender, he will delicately strum the guitar that every string’s sound is as clear as the previous one. Ssematimba is one of Uganda’s uniquely gifted artistes. The 44 year old and a father of two Christopher Ssemanda and Melody Ssemanda from his ex lover Eva Linek recently headlined an even dubbed Roast & Rhyme at Jahazi Pier Munyonyo.

The 5th July Sunday event was a fusion of good music from outstanding star performances from Steve Keys, Maddox Sematimba, and Navio among others, with great company and mouth watering BBQ at the lakeside attracted many city dwellers who thronged the place for Nyama Choma.  mado3

According to revelers, the Uganda’s legendary reggae musician Maddox Sematimba is slowly but steadily getting his groove back on as he continues to land more gigs. The Namagembe singer had been bruised by booze, police and negative media stories that followed the end of his relationship with a white lover.

Madoxx’s life had been messed after the family break and  this involved bouncing him at shows and clubs, facing arrests day in day out and being caned by goons around town.mado5

Maddox was inspired to join music because of the family music bond. His sister was a choir mistress, singer and instrumentalist with Jesus Worship Centre. A brother called Alex Kaweesi led a Gospel band. While growing up, Maddoxx used to startle Kampala suburbs playing his accordion, mouth organ and guitar. mado1

He is a down-to-earth dude who loves to make everyone around him happy. Living abroad for over a decade often makes many people very pompous. They also tend to acquire a velvety English accent. Sorry. No fanciful airs with Madoxx Ssematimba.  While some artistes impose themselves through releasing numerous songs to stay in the limelight, Maddox remains on the scene with his few but polished songs. Madox-Ssemadimba-honor-guests-after-performance

After Namagembe released in 2000, Maddox’s latest reggae album Abato (2006) which comprises Nakatudde, Nga Olabye, Wa Nsonyi, Leka Nkulage, Kabiite, Come Let’s Rock, All Time Lover, Easy, Fed Up, Won’t Give Up, Kampala and the title track Abato is one to reckon with. Abato is a blend of rock reggae with Bakisimba drumbeats. In Abato Maddox pleads to the grown-ups to respect and love the young ones. 

Photo Credit: Katumba Badru