Philly Bongole Lutaaya

by Open Vision Youth Club from Entebbe, Uganda


Born in 1951, Philly Bongole Lutaaya had a thriving music career in Uganda in the 1960s. In the 70s he performed various concerts in other countries like in the Congo, Kenya, and Japan, and finally settled in Stockholm, Sweden in the mid 80s. There he recorded his hit album, "Born in Africa," making him Uganda's top musician of the 80s.


In 1989, at the peak of his music career, when fame, glamour and prestige were on his side, Philly dreamed of saving his fellow countrymen and the future generation from a disease that had caught like bushfire and had already registered devastating effects throughout Uganda. Death, death, and death was the order of the day. For instance, in the Rakai District, South Western Uganda, 70% of the adult population had vanished because of HIV/AIDS, leaving behind helpless orphans. But the cause of their deaths remained a mystery because many thought the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS were the result of spells from African witchcraft (juju).

By that time, Philly was already infected with the virus. At the time, in Uganda, the truth about the disease was concealed because the word SEX had to be mentioned which is a TABOO in our culture. But amidst discrimination and rejection, Lutaaya was determined to unveil and reveal the Truth that "AIDS was the killer and it was spread through SEX, and blood contact."

Lutaaya's campaign affected all districts of Uganda. The following are some educational lyrics from his AIDS awareness song and album, "Alone":

"Today it's me
Tomorrow someone else
It's you and me
We've got to stand up and fight
We'll take a light in the fight against AIDS
Let's come on out
Let's stand together, fight AIDS
In times of joy, in times of sorrow
Let's take a stand and fight on to the end
With open hearts, let's stand up and speak out to the world
We'll save some lives, save the children of the world."


Because of his efforts, now there's a nationwide AIDS awareness campaign supported by the Ugandan government as well as non-government organizations (NGOs) and other donor countries who have become aware of the situation through the media -- radio, television, newspapers and magazines.

There is also a concerted grassroots awareness campaign spearheaded by religious and cultural leaders in the deep rural areas of Uganda.

The gospel they preach encourages the use of condoms as well as abstinence, faithfulness, and love and care for those already infected. This message has changed people's attitudes towards the disease, provided more information about HIV/AIDS, and has led to the reduction of both AIDS-related deaths and new cases throughout Uganda.


His initiative has benefited us, the youth of Uganda, and our lovely country, making it a role model for the rest of Africa in the struggle against HIV/AIDS. That's why we chose "the late Philly Bongole Lutaaya" to be our Hero as we commemorate and honor him on the anniversary of his death, which occurred on December 15, 1989.

"May his soul rest in eternal peace."

Researched and Submitted by:
P.O.BOX 92
EMAIL: [email protected]

Sources: The 1988 "Born in Africa" concert catalogue, newspapers, and personal accounts from close friends and relatives of the late Philly Bongole Lutaaya.

Page created on 5/21/2004 10:46:17 AM

Last edited 6/30/2020 3:31:05 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Fela Kuti - The MY HERO page dedicated to this legendary Nigerian musician who also had his life cut short by HIV/AIDS.

Author Info

Patrick from Entebbe writes:

Every year THE WORLD AIDS DAY is commemorated on DECEMBER 1ST. HIV/AIDS is a disease that has killed millions of people worldwide for decades now, regardless of age, sex, race, economic status and religion.

From Uganda, the Open Vision Youth Club of Entebbe would like to review the impact of HIV/AIDS on the social and economic state of our country, and the progress attained in reducing the spread of the disease among the youth and the rest of the population.

And for that matter, therefore, we have chosen THE LATE PHILLY BONGOLE LUTAAYA as our hero and role model in this noble cause.