Last week we had the honor of welcoming the internationally-acclaimed South African hit singer, PJ Powers to Kampala! PJ Powers has been an advocate for human rights throughout her career and is continuing her philanthropy by partnering as an Ambassador with Girl Up Initiative Uganda. PJ came to Uganda to meet the GUIU staff, increase her understanding of our work, shoot her new music video, and promote the GUIU Charity Concert on June 30th at the Kampala Serena Hotel! Upon arriving at Entebbe Airport, Powers was greeted by our team with flowers, posters, hugs, laughter, and photographs. The energy and enthusiasm foreshadowed the days to follow.
(Photo: PJ receives a Girl Up welcome at the airport)
The next day, PJ Powers and our Executive Director, Monica Nyiraguhabwa, attended a press conference at the Sheraton Hotel where journalists from national newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and blogs asked questions to the panelists regarding PJ’s partnership with GUIU and her soon-to-be-released remix of Home to Africa. Monica, sitting next to PJ explained:
“Girl Up is all about empowering girls with socio-economic skills. We asked PJ Powers to do a benefit concert for us as she’s an inspirational young woman, making music with a purpose which empowers us, [and] gives us hope and encouragement. Together we can give people voices.”
PJ expressed her admiration of the sustainable and effective work of Girl Up Initiative Uganda, then spoke of Monica:
“Monica totally inspires me. A beautiful young woman coming from the slums and then going on to study at the University in London shows the possibility [that] any person, no matter how dire their circumstances are, can turn their life around.”
(Photo: PJ discussing her partnership with GUIU at the press conference)
Together, Monica and PJ brought national attention to the work of Girl Up Initiative and the struggles of women and girls throughout Uganda while promoting the June 30th Charity Concert.
In addition, for the first time yet, PJ publicly shared and sang the new remix of her song 'Home to Africa'! PJ originally released the song in 1985 and recently she has produced a remix with the well-known Ugandan duo, Radio & Weasel, using all Ugandan artists and producers.
(Photo: PJ performing her new release 'Home to Africa')
In the following days, PJ filmed the music video in different locations throughout Uganda. For one of the shots, she wore an outfit made by our social enterprise, Mazuri Designs! The song, inspiring to say the least, accomplishes PJ Powers’ goal of music:
“I believe Africans need to change Africa. We need music to uplift our continent.”
PJ also visited St. James Primary School, the first school where GUIU implemented the Adolescent Girls Program. PJ was greeted with dancing and drumming by Theatre Blacks, one of the drama outreach groups which performs forum theatre under the Ni-Yetu Youth Program.
(Photo: Entering St. James Bbiina Primary School with the youth theatre group)
As her new song Home to Africa played, Powers danced and sang alongside Girl Up girls. She spoke to the students letting them know “you exist and you are not forgotten...I see you, I acknowledge you, and I know your lives are hard,” and empowered them through her words, “you can be whatever you want to be...you get to write you own script.” Powers’ words aligned with the vision of Girl Up Initiative Uganda: to create a world where girls get to reach and tap into their full potential.
(Photo: Girl Up girls dancing and singing with PJ)
PJ Powers’ visit to Kampala has received plentiful publicity; multiple newspapers (such as The Kampala Sun and Daily Monitor), radio stations, and television programs have written and spoken about the story of GUIU, the Charity Concert, Powers’ visit to Uganda, and the release of Home to Africa. Monica and PJ were invited to NTV's show, The Beat, and Monica shared her story of co-founding Girl Up Initiative Uganda during Urban TV's Talk with Gaetano.
(Photo: Monica with Gaetano before the show)
We are grateful for our blossoming relationship with PJ Powers, her support of our work, and her passion for empowering women and girls! We look forward to the June 30th charity concert and hope you can join us there!