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A Coming of Age Story Featuring TKZee

To cut the long story short, my grandparents and uncles road-tripped from South Africa to Uganda in a VW Van (the nice ones with round lights) to spend Christmas with the family.  Yep, the wanderlust runs in the family. They brought SA modernity to our small village of Ntungamo and I was never the same again.

First, all of them are giants and they spoke with this strange accent. It wasn’t like the American one I’d heard on television. By the time they left, I had decided that my western Ugandan accent wasn’t going to cut it. They also had a 4, if I remember correctly, CD changing system in the VW van. Guys, 4. I mean, my dad liked his music enough that he had a CD player already, which was pretty cool at the time, but this was freaking 8. Chei! And the bass on that thing, what in the what!?!

They also brought with them the first Matrix movie. It had just come out and they had the tape. At that point, I think we were only allowed to watch Coming To America and the News. The Matrix blew my min on so may levels. I had never experienced anything like that. I still do an annual watch (still don’t get the beef for Part 2 & 3. But then again, I also liked the GoT ending so maybe it’s me) and it still stands shoulder to shoulder with any of the sci-fi movies of recent times. The philosophical questions it presented to my pre-teen mind have had a longlasting influence on my world view. Even the effects are still bombass! Also, it was definitely a documentary from the future. Art bes like that.

So, yeah…that was a great year for me.

The what?…the playlist attached?…Oh, that’s TKZee, my soundtrack of that year.

The travellers brought with them some CDs of music I had never sampled in that cool VW van. And we blasted them in that 8 CD Bass-to-wake-the-ancestors sound system. TKZee’s music is the one that stayed with me and had the longest-lasting effect om my music taste. Till today to be specific. Granted, Brenda Fassie and her peers had been bringing it for a minute but there was something progressive about this new upbeat beat mixed with the raw South African voices (there is a way that sound goes straight to the bones) that stayed with me and I believe was my induction to my afro-house music love.

I think that’s the moral of this story. Thanks, fam, for making the younger me’s childhood wonderful.


Written by Byagaba Roland

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