Meet Aloysius Matovu Joy the Small Boy from Rakai,who changed theatre

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Aloysius Matovu Joy

In the 1960’s, a short small boy called Joy would collect his friends, sit them under a huge tree and start cracking jokes that would make them laugh. Joy as he name suggests always wore a smile on his face and it was hard to tell whether he was angry or happy.

30 years later this little boy grew into the man most Ugandans can identify as Solomon in the legendary HIV/AIDS  themed play ‘Ndiwulira’ where he (Solomon) is the sane Voice advising his Uncle to stop his wildly ways or else he would end up contracting HIV. The role he took up in this 90s’ play continues to inform the path the man we now know as Aloysius Matovu Joy has taken as a playwright and the themes he explores in his plays.

Born in Rakai in 1961, Aloysius’s parents were public servants with his mother working as a nurse in Rakai while his father was a police officer who got transferred to different parts of Uganda a lot.

In an interview with the Daily monitor, he reveals that he started drinking at the age of 11 and says this was as a result of his father who always dragged him to bars on his drinking sprees.

In the same interview Aloysius also reveals that as a little boy his hobbies were telling Jokes, swimming and local wrestling a sport he says he was actually good at inspite of his small size. While the rest of his peers played football, Aloysius would collect the younger boys and start cracking jokes to make them laugh. It was in that small village that the playwright we now know as Aloysius Matovu Joy started his career and the village Jester.

The birth of Bakayimbira

It is hard to chronicle the true beginnings of the Bakayimbira Dramactors. But a story is told  how  32 years ago, three friends; Andrew Benon Kibuuka, Charles James Senkubuuge and Aloysius Matovu Joy who  had failed to finish an assignment in their Literature class, a play titled The Road by Wole Soyinka, instead the three decided to act it out on stage as a way of mastering it. It is from this brave attempt that one of Uganda’s most successful drama groups The Bakayimbira Dramactors was born.

The group went on to produce Ndiwulira and a lineup of over 40 Productions with Matovu’s skillful use of Idioms and Poetry providing the Bedrock for Senkubuge and Kibuuka’s tension and conflict building abilities, they told their stories in a way no other Drama group had ever done on stage in Uganda. Then in 2000 with the opening of WBS TV, they had their first TV show titled “Kigenya Agenya” aptly named after Kigenya a village in Rakai District where Aloysius grew up.

This show once again show cased Matovu’s genius as he grounded Senkubuge’s strength of wordplay, plot building and clarity, with his dialogue providing the attention grabbing antics in Kigenya Agenya.

Aloysius the Teacher

Aisha Komuhangi an actress once  said she would not be who she is had it not been for Aloysius Matovu joy but aloysius dreams were never about the theatre the  small boy from Rakai wanted to be a priest, from childhood. He says he was awed by the men of the collar, from the way they carried themselves to the way people treated them and from that time he decided he would be one of them, a door opened when the priest at his church made him an altar boy  “I decided to remain celibate and serve God” he says. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for theatre lovers he became a teacher of languages.

The teacher in Aloysius is also one of the reasons Alina Talents was started and though it consists of cross overs from Bakayimbira Dramactors, it is made up of mainly young actors he himself has mentored.  One of their TV shows ‘Emboozi za Abaa’galana (The Love Chronicles) which chronicles the highs and lows of love through the eyes of young people with Aloysius providing the occasional redirection as counselor JB has become an instant hit on stage.

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