They are stopping reggae!

Sunday May 19 2019


A recent event at One Love in Kigali to commemorate Bob Marley’s legacy. PHOTO | ANDREW I. KAZIBWE 

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With the local music industry advancing, various genres have been embraced.

Recent years have seen the rise then the drastic disappearance of the Afro-reggae genre in the local entertainment scene.

As the world commemorated Bob Marley, the legendary Jamaican reggae musician, Rwandans weren’t left behind, as various venues especially in Kigali hosted fans on May 11. Among these is One Love.

One Love charged an entrance fee of Rwf3,000 and there were live performances by local reggae and Afro-dance hall acts such as Dee Rugz, Tino, Ras 2T, Opobo, Jabalove Ismael, and Ras Gatera.

It was evident that reggae is loved, which begs the question why there aren’t more performances.

The local music industry has lately been dominated by genres like afro-pop, afro-R & B, afro-Hip-hop, afro-soul and traditional, while afro reggae artistes barely make an appearance.


Prominent names in the local reggae genre since 2005 have been Ras Mukasa, Rasmuda, Ras Kayaga, Ras Banamungu, Ben Nganji, Ras Kassim, Ras 2T, Natty Dread, who is mostly based in Uganda, Jah Bon D, a Switzerland-based artiste, and groups like Holly Jah Doves and Strong Voice.

However, most of these artistes have disappeared from the stage. A few of them have made appearances in annual events like the Kigali Up Music Festival and Isano Music Festival.

Moses Opobo, a lifestyle journalist said most prominent reggae artistes decided to relocate out of the country, while others turned to other ventures.

Felicien Ntakirutimana, better known as Ras 2T said reggae is not perceived correctly in society.

He said reggae is mostly embraced by Rastafarians, who are perceived as drug addicts, which Ntakirutimana refutes.

He added that their songs barely get airplay in most local radio and television stations because they do not give the music genre priority.

“There is unfair airplay of music, which stifles other music genres,” said Dennis Nkurunziza better known as Dee Rugz, a reggae and dance hall musician