UN-HABITAT Messenger of Truth Joseph Ogidi Oyoo was last week one of the musicians feted at an awards ceremony showcasing the best of East African music.
Oyoo, who goes by the stage name of Gidi Gidi, won the Social Responsibility Award at the Kisima Awards ceremony for his song Wanaume Ibilisi ("Some men are satanic," in Kiswahili) which is a powerful condemnation of sexual offences and rape.
“Men lack respect, this behaviour of rape, Shows how we can be satanic,” goes the song, which was written last year and performed at the UN Kenya person of the year 2006 ceremony in honour of one of Kenya's Members of Parliament, Ms. Njoki Ndung’u, who actively fought for the adoption of Kenya's Sexual Offences Act.
“I offered her the award because she has been very active. Thanks to her efforts, the bill was passed, in spite of the opposition of many male MPs,” said a happy Gidi.
The song, voted by listeners on the internet and by text message (SMS) as the best in its category, faced tough competition from other songs about HIV/AIDS and corruption.
“This is a sign that Kenyan musicians should come up with music that informs, educates, initiates positive behavior in society and raises awareness,” added Gidi.
Gidi is not a newcomer on the music scene. With 10 year's musical experience under his belt, three albums, and several Kisima awards, his name features regularly in the charts. When they hear his rhythm, Kenyans can hit the dance floor but also get a chance to reflect on serious issues at the same time.
His winning song, with a hit video clip featuring Mrs. Ndung’u herself, has not yet been released commercially.
“It’s not my intention to make money out of it, but to promote awareness,” Gidi insists.
Now that it has been recognized by the East African music world, Gidi says he’s willing to release it on the market as long as the funds go to a good cause.