They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! The case is true for seven-year-old rapper Patrick Ssenyonjo aka Fresh Kid.
According to his managers, they discovered him in Luweero exuding a passionate desire for the limelight. Unlike his peers who were perhaps playing hide and seek, Fresh Kid was dreaming of gracing night clubs, bars and concerts, not as a reveller but as the star attraction. Quite a grandiose dream for a seven-year-old!
Fresh Kid is a child born in the right generation where social media is the easiest launch pad for fame. After his story was shared online, media houses clamoured to have a piece of the new-kid-on-the-block. In the event, the news got the attention of Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs.
Hon. Nakiwala was not impressed. She stated that Fresh Kid is too young to be performing for money. She warned his managers of child labour and exploitation.
“The law does not allow such a child to work or be employed for money because he cannot operate a bank account and cannot have a Tax Identification Number to pay taxes. So, until the law is amended, my hands are tied and I can only partner to counsel him and make sure he is in school,” Nakiwala said.
Hon. Nakiwala further stated that she plans to counsel the boy and subject him to drug tests in case his managers are exploiting him.
“We have to examine the boy to see if he is ready to do such a business because such people may be under the influence of drugs which is dangerous. So that boy at that age cannot be able to tell what is right or wrong,” she added.
However, Fresh Kid has released a message to Hon. Nakiwala.
In a song titled ‘Bambi’, Fresh Kid pleads with Nakiwala to allow him to exploit his talent. Turning a personal situation into a song is a timeless strategy to create an emotional connection. This has been employed through the ages by activists like Fela Kuti or our own ‘Buchaman’s ‘Lwaki Temumatira’, a hit song in which he complained about women rejecting him because of disability.
Pleading his case, Fresh Kid paints a grime image of his background stating that the microphone is his weapon against the ravages of poverty.
He further places the minsiter in an uncomfortable place as he mentions of his desire to emulate child stars like Nigeria YouTube comedy sensation Emmanuela, and South African six-year-old Dj Arch who recently performed as a guest performer at the American Idols. Arch started at 3!
Back home, we have had several children in entertainment including the Ghetto Kids dance group who have performed at the BET Awards, Baby Gloria and Young Zee.