Valentino Rukundoye Joshua alias Generale Czar’bu is a songwriter, guitarist, percussionist and vocalist.
He is a reggae artist who has recently been nominated by Uganda Music Awards under the best reggae category.
Czar’bu is also known for being singer Winnie Nwagi’s boyfriend.
Joshua talks to Bridget Nanteza about music, love and future plans.
Who exactly is Generale Czar’bu?
My real name is Valentino Rukundoye Joshua; I was born on February 14, 1989.
I grew up with both my parents in a family of 6; three boys and three girls. I’m the first born.
I was born in Kampala but grew up in Luwero where my father, a pastor, co-founded an American/Ugandan organization called Hope Uganda.
You went to school?
Yes, I was semi homeschooled for a while at New Hope Uganda till O’level.
I then went to Grace High school Gayaza and Nyakasura where I completed my A level.
I later did a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and information systems at ISBAT University.
Why the name Generale Czar’bu though?
‘Generale’ is because I’m militant and revolutionary in nature and ‘Czarbu’ comes from ‘zaabu’ the Luganda word for gold.
I am gold in the making, the spelling says something about my nature; I’m a riddle.
Is the name partly because you were brought up in a military way?
Haha not really. I grew up in a musical family; we all play an instrument and can sing.
Dad is a disciplinarian who used music to teach us discipline while growing up.
What brings food to your table?
I have been working with Spedag Interfreight as a clearing agent since university till now.
I also do music; I have a band called the ‘InnaZone Band’.
With that busy career, when do you get time for music?
I won’t say it is easy; I’m always on the run from work to studio, to band rehearsal, to gym.
I am kind of a workaholic and I love multitasking. I hate the idea of being idle.
The beauty of it all is that my bosses are very supportive, so am blessed to work there. I have been with them since campus so they have seen my hustle from day one and I believe they respect the uniqueness of my situation.
Take me through your musical journey?
I have always been in music my whole life. I started playing drums and guitar when I was 8.
I used to sing in church, at school basically music means everything to me.
I started out playing with the blood brothers band then with Maddox as a backup singer before going solo.
Four years back I signed up for Coca-Cola rated Next and I qualified for the top 5.
It was a big achievement that motivated me to release my first song ‘EngeriYokukwana’ which is nominated in the best reggae category in the TUMA awards.
Have you faced any challenges so far?
The lack of support for young talent is the biggest challenge so far.
Studio fees are high, video shoots are very expensive and don’t get me started on airplay expenses.
The big musicians have monopolized the music industry, even if the song is not all that good, every DJ and presenter and music critic will praise it neglecting young talent.
It can’t be all bad, any achievements?
I haven’t achieved much yet musically. My motivation is not based on physical achievements but my love for music and how it is a power of change.
Otherwise I managed to establish a band, I have played on many big stages with the biggest legend, Maddox.
I am nominated in the Uganda Music awards for ‘EngeriYokukwana’ in best reggae song category.
The greatest achievement now is having my album called ‘very different’, a 13 track projectcompleted and we are strategizing releasing logistics.
I am also going to be performing at the blankets and wine in August which will be my first big booking, so am excited.
Who is your best male and female artist in Uganda?
Maddox and Mo Roots
Which Ugandan artist would you love to work with?
Currently I am still focusing on my solo projects, so not anyone at the moment.
However I would be open to working with anyone who is really good with some young crazy talents.
Musically speaking…where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I have enough music to cause a mini tsunami in 5 years. I will not be an underground story anymore, in Uganda and Africa.
What is the real deal between you and our Winnie Nwagi?
Haha we have been dating for the last 4 years.
How did you love birds meet?
We met during the Coca Cola rated next music competition.
How does it feel having a girl that drives crazy almost every guy?
It feels great, I’m a lucky man. Every man wants a beautiful woman by his side, though she is more than just that.
Was it her body that that struck you the most?
We just had that first time connection like siblings do have. We became friends very fast, so we saw each other’s ugly side really quickly and after that was out of the way.
But yeah, hahaha, truth is she is hot.
Do you always move with her on her shows and does she do the same?
No, we have different programme schedules but whenever I am free or she is free we are together.
What does the future hold for you two? Should we expect any wedding bells?
Hahahahaha I am working on it, we are not bound by social norms of time though.
What we have is timeless, we can never run out of time and she deserves a ring but the right way.
How do you deal with men always hitting on her?
Well we have been through a lot together, actually when we first met I liked her but was in a place where I had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn’t interested in getting in another relationship.
However, she loved on me so much she kept proving that she was the real deal and trust me she is.
What is meant to be will be so I never worry about other men, we have a very deep connection.
Nwagi is sometimes skimpily-clad in her songs, doesn’t it bother you?
It is a tricky situation because she is an artist, she channels her art that way but sometimes it’s taken out of context.
They sometimes take pictures in angles to discredit her or a dance move gets her clothes in a certain way.
I am proud of her still, she is one of a kind and I have never been interested in normal girls, I am an artist too I understand.
Everybody has his own challenges in life, mine seem to disturb others more than they disturb me.
Don’t you ever get worried or jealous when you are not with her?
Anybody who has anything of value has to worry a bit one day or the other that’s what makes me special.
But I would say I worry as much as she worries about me. Do you think I also don’t get girls trying to get some of this, hahaha. It is a normal feeling, if one doesn’t have it it’s sad.
What message do you give those men admiring your lover?
I do not blame them, she takes my breath away sometimes too so they can window-shop and after go away without touching the merchandise, it is not for sale hahahahaha. Don’t hate.
How do you react when you are angry?
I do what a mukiga does, I either forgive you or we will fight to death.
Do you two stay together?
Yes we stay together.
What qualities must your ideal woman have?
Loyalty with a beautiful crazy brain.
What pisses you off most?
Loud people, slow people and oppression of the weak of any form.
Have you ever had a turning point?
Yes, at Coca cola rated next. It is when I decided to do music seriously come what may.
Describe yourself in Four words.
I am very, very, very different.
What is your best dish?
Posho, greens, beans and lasagna.
What is your religion?
I am a Christafari—Christian Rasta man.
Thank you for being welcoming and open.
You are welcome, it doesn’t cost a thing to be nice to people.