East African stars use music to spread message of peace

Ugandan Afro-soul artist Maurice Kirya and singer Cindy Sanyu (formerly of the all-girl group Blu*3) have been announced as ambassadors for Peace One Day, an international organisation that promotes 21 September as an annual day of global unity, non-violence and intercultural cooperation.

Ugandan artist Maurice Kirya. Photo: www.ugblizz.com
Ugandan artist Maurice Kirya. Photo: www.ugblizz.com

The two Ugandan stars will perform at a special concert to mark the International Day of Peace, to be held at the Lugogo Cricket Oval in Kampala on 21 September.

They will join other high-profile African artists from the region - including Knowless Butera from Rwanda, Fally Ipupa from the DRC, Kidum Kibido from Burundi, the African Children’s Choir and the Nairobi Chamber Chorus - to perform a peace anthem dubbed ‘Great Lakes Singing as One’.

Unveiling the artists in Bugolobi, Kampala on 21 March, the founder of Peace One Day, Jeremy Gilley, said that as young talented musicians, Kirya and Sanyu would be an important part of a campaign that seeks to rally the youth to embrace peace. "This is not just a celebration but also an effort to create awareness among people, keeping in mind that peace is not in the hands of governments. It is in the hands of the people. Most of it is orchestrated by the people," he said.

According to local newspaper New Vision, Kirya said of his new role: "This is a chance for us to mobilise young people for peace, to use our talents to pass on the message that despite all our differences, we are united: one heart, one mind, one spirit." 

"This is a good opportunity for us to work together as artists to bring people across the cultural divide in promoting peace," agreed Sanyu.

As ambassadors, Kirya and Sanyu will also be involved in other activities of Peace One Day. Founded in 1999, in 2001 their efforts were rewarded when the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first-ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September – Peace Day. For the past three years the organisation has been promoting the day in the Great Lakes region through music, sport, school activities and high-level meetings with government and opinion leaders.

The 2016 peace anthem has been written by South African musician Zwai Bala, who was also instrumental in the production of the 2015 peace song ‘One’ and is also known across the continent for his related work on Coke Studio Africa. Bala said he was happy to have contributed to this campaign: "After writing the anthem, I am very pleased that I will be joining my fellow artists and other young people to spread this important message of peace."

For more details visit the Peace One Day website.


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