Death of his wife spurred Sentamu into singing at funerals for a living

Having fallen in love with music at a tender age while in his primary three, 32-year-old Dickson Sentamu has lived to croon at funerals of several deceased public figures.

He says his story with the microphone is a match made in heaven.

“I used to escort my late dad Dickson Kasibante to Nateete Mackay church where he was the choir master. Each day that passed, I continued falling in love with hymns. This love has never faded,” says Sentamu about his beginnings.

Sentamu says his passion for singing never faded but is quick to say that all the time he sang, it was not for money but rather to enjoy what he was doing.

He says he went professional in 2016.

“At first, I was not doing it professionally but later, I realized I had to take my talent to another level. I had to rejuvenate and polish it. My friends at one of the music schools in Wandegeya encouraged me to add onto my Education degree by concentrating at specifically music. I can look back and remember their words because I am reaping benefits,” he says.

Singing at funerals

Sentamu says he was attracted into singing at funerals after realizing that there were people who earned a fortune out of similar business.

He specifically refers to one Davis Kafeero who has sang at funerals for almost 40 years.

“I got encouraged whenever I could see him reaping from his talent and the knowledge he puts in it to get that money made me realize I could also make it,” he says.

Sentamu said the untimely death of his first wife in 2016 leaving him to take care of his first daughter made him think of doing something to settle his heart.

“She was the mother of my first child with whom we had completed university. She was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer that later claimed her life. During the vigil, I realized the hymns had strong comforting messages,” he says.

He says when they went for burial in Arua, whereas he didn’t understand the language, the hymns during the memorial service kept him strong.

“The pain I went through after losing my dear wife made me realize that someone else could be going through the same. The comfort I got from the hymns was an eye opener for me. From that time, I felt more encouraged to do that job with love but also as a ministry to others who need it in times of grief,” he says.

He recalls the words of one of his friends and a writer, Esther Magezi Katende who encouraged him to go on with professional singing at funerals.

“She told me that since I had gone through all that, I had got the experience and that God was asking me to concentrate on that ministry. She encouraged me to do it as a job,” he says.

Sentamu says he never looked back and has since become a professional singer at funerals but also an events planner since many people need these services.

He says that whenever he is contracted to sing at a funeral he distributes business cards and it is through these that he gets contacted by other clients when they lose their loved ones.

“Mostly, one good job done brings you another client who recommends others. The way you perform at a funeral attracts others to also hire your services,” he says.

He charges according to the status of the person who has died. If the deceased person was a prominent member of society, he will charge more.

Proud of his job

Sentamu says he is proud of the career he took that has seen him achieve much for himself and the family.

“I can manage to pay school fees for the five children of mine but I am also building my own house. I drive my own vehicles but mostly, this job has connected me to some of the most powerful people in Uganda. It has made me feast with princes and princesses,” he says, adding that he is married to Jacinta Sentamu.

Advice to youth

Sentamu says many youths have talents but few have taken the trouble of developing them to earn a living out of them.

“Youths should not despise their talents. Be honest in whatever you are doing. Honesty is a very expensive gift that you cannot get it from cheap people. When bad things happen in your life, you either use them to define, destroy or strengthen you.”

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