Feb 1, 2010

R.Kelly lights up Kampala - (What the Editor deleted)

It all begins with the 3months of intensive publicity by Zain. The media frenzy was about the RnB sensation coming to Uganda for a “concert.” The hype was huge that the expectations were not to be under looked. On the night of his arrival we waited for close to 30minutes for the guy to get out the VIP lounge. The security was high that it looked one of those scenes from “24.”

“Concert” day
At 6:00pm I started lurking around the Lugogo cricket oval. The place was jam packed and at all the gates, people were cramped up waiting to get in. The lines for the 30k tickets were pathetic. At the gate some people paid 1k to the guards for them to avoid the queue. On the gate just above Oasis scuffles broke out as there was only one entry point. Pushing and shoving was all that was noticeable. Hell broke lose as policemen unleashed dogs onto the people for them to get into a queue. This was the first sign that Silk Events was headed for the worst. Gun shots at the entry above Oasis restaurant could be heard and the police wrestled with revelers. The gate was then taken down by R.Kelly fans.

At close to 8pm the queues were even lager and the road around Shoprite was people packed. There were no barriers that could make people line, it all looked hasty. Meanwhile inside the local artistes were busy performing (not alongside R.Kelly). At the 250k gate things were pretty calm. So I took my shot and walked to the gate. The Silk Events people said the media could not get to the platinum area. On my press tag were numbers that the organisers wanted us to call in-case we need anything. I dialled each number and no-one picked up.

I then walked down to the 125k gate. It was crowded. The line was equally disorganized and people were haggling to get in. I could see dogs being used to settle people down. At the gate itself people were being allowed in yet they were not in the line.
The concert area was looking rather organised. In the 125k area people were enjoying the drinks and watching the curtain raisers. I needed an angle for good pictures so I moved next to the stage, and then this guy from Silk Events says we are not allowed to take pics. He faces the wrath of other photojournalists who hurl him with unending words. In the end we are chased from the said restricted area.

At 10pm, it was like Vietnamese soldiers attacking the Americans. The people in the 125k area reached for the barriers and instead of sitting they were standing and it all looked like the 30k area. I stuck in the middle of some ladies and hustled to get good shots. All this i’d blame on the ignorance of the guys at Silk Events.
Then we waited for R.Kelly to perform. For close to 30minutes they were still organising for R.Kelly to perform. Impatience grew among some people and other started yelling “time, time, time.” Some started singing the Buganda Anthem. It all came to a halt when the guy finally came on stage. From where I was I could still see people entering. And then in a flash, “Flashing lights – By kanye west” started playing and there he was. R.Kelly started his “concert.” There was screaming, alot of it. There was this lady behind me and she kept saying she couldn’t see anything. I gave way and let her stand in front of me.

I wish and I believe I can fly moved the crowds as they sang along. Than an hour later, the guy said it was over. He said he didn’t want to finish but had to. Leaving some complaining that he hadn’t performed the songs like Gotham city, trapped in the closet, if I could turn back the hands of time, Am your angel and you saved me. As fans had started to get a feel of the music he was gone and left people asking whether the show was over.  “A rip off,” some one said.

Most of the people around me couldn’t believe. Personally I began to question why a “concert” would last just an hour. The people at Zain had told journalists that the guy would perform from 9pm – 12am. This was my problem. Then the Fireworks!!! No-where. The sound system was good but for only one hour and its called a “concert?” I’d gladly disagree.

As I walked around trying to get peoples comments, I meet these two ladies.
“Has R.Kelly finished? Is he coming back,” they ask

“Yes, he only performed for one hour,” I replied

“What, these chaps take us for granted, After my 120k and we get this,” they said.

R.kelly was here from Thursday night. On Friday he skipped a Charity event and then on Saturday they cancelled an event where he would hand over the Range Rover sport to its winner. For three days he is in the country and yet he performs for just an hour?
Silk Events should have done better especially if the disorganisations are visible. The word “concert” was misused. For Zain bringing R.Kelly was great but they should have gotten more for Ugandans.


  1. RK must have disappointed alot of people, from your replay of events, it wasn't a success. Where are the pics?

  2. Total rip off.
    I only saw the dude perform step in the name of love which happened to actually be the last song.

    Show ended at 11.30pm.
    The UB40, Akon and Wycleff shows beat this one by far.

  3. In all this i lay blame squarely at Zain's feet; who pays for a 1-hour show?

  4. Very good analysis...if only there was a culture of suing in uganda..i think fans deserve a better deal...even people who pay 30k ought to have entered decently, why didnt the organisers anticipate the numbers and plan accordingly and open gates much earlier and advertise this? With all the money put in by Zain indeed its ridiculous that people only got 1 hour of R. Kelly despite all the money....

  5. "whatever dont break a nigga make a nigga" i hope zain learns from this.

  6. Yeah screw Zain..One stupid hour...

    and a middle finger to Silk events for not managing the gates well.

  7. awww, for us we were watching the R-Kellys (read Radio and Weasal) of E.Africa here in Cardillac, Kigali. http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php?issue=14159&article=25436

  8. i said it was a total rip off for sho. so i can beef up my arguments now and defend the disgruntled further!

  9. hmmm naye i called, texted...did all..you ignored it all..and refused to get me tickets..thought we were buddies..:-)

  10. Dang! Nga R. Kelly be's an ass?? Wow.

  11. it was indeed a rip off...