The death of child prodigy Alex Ssempijja of the Sitya Loss is not only a blow to the music, dance and drama industry, but to Uganda as country and one which should also remind us of our commitment towards the youth of this country.
One of four child artistes, Ssempijja was a classic example of resilience who had somehow managed overcome the challenges of growing up in a ghetto in Uganda through being creative.
In most developing and fast-evolving societies like Uganda child prodigies normally surface, exhibiting recognizable and rare talents at an early age.
However, the fame that accompanies their recognition has some downsides and many are unable to break the chains that come with it and end up in unenviable positions.
Ssempijja came to our lives through the arts, where his performance in Sitya Loss with singer Eddie Kenzo captured the attention of those interested in the youth and their development.
Indeed, Ssempijja, an enterprising young man, seemed destined for greater achievements and that is why his death should also embolden us to the responsibility of supervising the youthful Ugandans who become famous.
In most cases these youthful prodigies lack guidance and in the process get exposed to danger either through recklessness or untempered anxiety.
Just a few years back Uganda was blessed with another youthful prodigy in the names of Andrew ‘Fimbo’ Mukasa, the thrilling Express FC player who broke Jimmy Kirunda’s record goals scored in the Uganda Super League.
Today, Mukasa is a shadow of his glorious past, thanks in part to the indulgences he embarked upon after the fame achieved on the football pitch.
So, as we seek to make our prodigious youth productive through creativity, we should also ensure that we put in place the requisite policies that will help mitigate the perils that come with fame.