March 26, 2011

Youth Voices: AGYA Girls Teen Shamirah Nansubuga On Finding A Family In AGYA

Before I joined AGYA, I didn’t know what goals and having dreams in life meant. I joined AGYA the day it started in 2008, and I was happy to be a part of everything that was going on in AGYA.

The environment and the people were positive and I felt that it was the place I was longing for. I got to learn things I never thought I would get a chance of knowing in life.

March 19, 2011

Youth Voices: Bboys Kawera and Derrick Write About AGYA's Impact in Their Lives

My name is Ssembajjwe Derrick Blusarino, I am 19 years old and I would like to share with you something about Talent. Before I discovered that I could be a bboy, I used to involve myself in a lot of negative stuff just like any other youth living in the ghetto. I had no hope for the future because I didn’t even ever take time to think about it. I lived a very wasteful life style and associated myself with negative people.

I am glad to write that today I realized my true self when I joined AGYA in 2009. A friend introduced me to AGYA and ever since the first day I came to AGYA, I have witnessed a lot of positive change within me.

(above: Derrick performing a dance routine at the Annual Hip-Hop For Society Event)

The way I used to see things has changed, I have learnt to appreciate, associate and share. AGYA has been my turning point in life because I have transitioned from that rebellious ghetto boy into a responsible and respectful young man. Through AGYA I have improved my talent and dancing skills. 

I even teach other youth who come to practice dance at AGYA. I feel my dancing career is being uplifted and I can now determine a bright future because I know it’s there for me if I continue to work hard and develop my talent.

Through dance I have been linked to big dance projects like Break-dance Project Uganda (BPU), Dance Together Uganda (DTU)), Sixstel International Foundation and Kyuka Youth Outreach. I have showcased on different platforms including Hip-Hop For Society organized by BPU, Hip-hop Expo organized by AGYA, Dance Week Uganda and Jump Youth Explosion among others.

March 12, 2011

Professional Musicians To Teach Recording Our Dreams Workshops in AGYA Studio

AGYA is excited to announce that acclaimed music producer David Mukalazi and established rap emcee Simon “Mon MC” Ssemwogere will be facilitating daily workshops at AGYA’s Recording Our Dreams Studio. These professional musicians, who bring a combined 25 years of experience in Uganda’s music industry, will be sharing their talent and skills with Ugandan youth.

Mukalazi has considered himself a musician since the age of 10 when he began playing the piano and guitar. By the time he was 18, Mukalazi was writing songs, had created his own live band, and was directing the African Children’s Choir. Mukalazi made the transition from live music to the studio in the mid 1990s. He is widely recognized as the first person to produce a rap record in Uganda in 1995 when Ugandan hip-hop was still in its infancy.

As a trailblazer in Uganda’s music industry, Mukalazi  (pictured here playing keyboard during a live performance) is credited for production work on more than 60 albums during the course of his career.

After years of working in the for-profit sector of the entertainment business, Mukalazi is ready to explore his passion which is helping young people develop their musical talents. Mukalazi is the perfect choice to lead the implementation of the Recording Our Dreams curriculum which is a 16 week intensive training course developed by AGYA Co-Founder Divinity Barkley Matovu. 

March 9, 2011

New York Based Filmmaker Shares His Thoughts on AGYA, Uganda

My trip to Africa was birthed out of a desire to go to a place where I had never been before and do something that I never dreamed possible.

I came to know AGYA Co-Founders, Divinity and Abraham through USC student Hayley Pappas. Hayley had been interning for Joey Borgogna at Creative Visions Foundation, which is sponsoring the documentary. She had nothing but great things to say about Divinity, Abraham, and AGYA.

I had no idea what to expect in Africa. I remember stepping off the plane and thinking to myself I’m in the motherland, the cradle of civilization. As an African-American man I was dazed and confused the first few days. The idea that I was on the same continent that some of my ancestors lived on was hard for me to wrap my head around for about a week.

We were picked up from the airport by Abraham and a few youth leaders from AGYA. We drove about an hour before we arrived at the slums. I was amazed at how so many people could live crammed onto such a small piece of land.

March 1, 2011

AGYA Executive Director Contributes to Just BE Cause, a Book About Social Entrepreneurship

Just BE Cause is an e-book that will provide meaningful ideas and resources to social entrepreneurs, specifically those optimistic go-getters who make up Generation Y better known as Millenials. AGYA is excited to announce that our very own Co-Founder and Executive Director, Divinity Barkley Matovu has been selected to contribute to the book. As a contributor, Divinity joins leaders from organizations like The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs, StartingBloc, Ashoka and Catchafire who share their ideas, experiences, and viewpoints on subjects ranging from sustainability to microfinance, authenticity to creative fundraising.

The brain behind Just BE Cause is Syreeta Gates, a 23 year old social entrepreneur from Queens, New York. Syreeta is the founder of The SWT Life (pronounced “Sweet”), a company that maximizes the likelihood of success for young innovators by providing entrepreneurial coaching, personal development training, and exposure to successes in the arts, entertainment and business. As a news source, incubator for, and purveyor of urban youth culture, it is poised to be the most influential brand for the millennial generation.