Who is Rema Namakula?

Born in the early 90s to the late Hamida Nabbosa and the late Mukiibi Ssemakula, Rehema Namakula was born at Lubaga Hospital in Kampala.

A Ugandan singer and songwriter, she attended Kitante Primary School for her elementary school, St Balikudembe Senior Secondary School for both O-Level and A-Level and later joined Kyambogo University, although she did not graduate.

Beginning of her music career

Rema, like many other artistes, had loved music from an early age. At school, on realizing that she could actually sing, teachers kept involving her in music projects starting from as early as Primary Seven.

It is, however, during her senior six vacation that she started to actively sing Karaoke before she was taken in by Halima Namakula who she highly regards as her Godmother.

Halima, who owned No End Studios encouraged Rema to start using it to learn the dynamics of becoming a recording artiste. It is through this background that she started to provide backup vocals for other artistes, including Halima herself. She did this for four years before she joined Bebe Cool’s Gagamel International.

Under Gagamel, Rema came out of the shadows by joining Bebe Cool on a number of tracks, including Cease and Seekle as well as Missing You that really got her noticed.

Leaving Gagamel international

In 2013, however, the industry received news of Rema’s departure from Gagamel to start a solo career. It is said Bebe Cool was watching television when Rema announced her intentions of holding a concert. Rema, while appearing on NTV’s The Beat with Douglas Lwanga, declared plans to holding her first concert dubbed ‘Kaliba’, contrary to what she and Bebe had discussed.

“Rema is not ready to hold even an hour-long concert. She still needs to record more music before she even dreams of an album launch,” Bebe argued.

During the interview, Rema had assured Douglas she was still a member of Gagamel although she had also confirmed she was under the new management of Geoffrey Kayemba.

Furious by the act, Bebe Cool took to his Facebook page not to fire but to confirm Rema’s departure from the group. In the rather unusual post, the Coccidiosis singer gave three reasons for firing her which included Rema getting a new management team outside Gagamel and even going on to sell her concert behind the label’s back.

In her response, Rema also posted on her Facebook page: “I hereby extend my gratitude to my dear mentor Mr Moses Ssali. You have always been my guidance and it hurts to say goodbye in such a way but I believe your training will always guide me throughout my journey and I promise to make you proud one day. I will always be your girl.”

Start of a solo career

After leaving the label, Rema released ‘Fire’ which took the industry by storm before going ahead to release other hit singles like Kaliba, Atuuse  ‘Oli Wange’ which was written by Nince Henry. These songs made her popular and cemented her place in the music industry of Uganda. In the same year, Rema held her maiden music concert on October 18 at Club Obligato.

Relationship with Kenzo

It is said Rema started dating fellow artiste Eddy Kenzo while she was still a member of Gagamel and the relationship became serious in 2014 after the birth of their daughter Aamaal Musuuza.

Juggling between motherhood and her blossoming music career, Rema continued to top charts and become one of Uganda’s best female artistes to the point of representing Uganda at the fourth season of Coke Studio Africa 2016 alongside other artistes including Lydia Jazmine, Kenzo, Radio and Weasel, sharing the stage with some of the world’s biggest stars like 2Baba from Nigeria and Trey Songz from the United States.

Hamza Ssebunya

In 2017, reports indicated that Kenzo and Rema had separated and that he had moved out of their home in Seguku. In one of the interviews, Rema said they had been away from each other for some time.

“We were apart for some years, but fans just did not know. Most of you didn’t know about that because the people around me protected my secrets,” Rema said during the interview. “And it wasn’t just one year… it was about two years…,” she said.

In the picture, emerged Hamza Ssebunya, a doctor. The two dated for some time until 14th November 2019, when Namakula introduced him to her family in a ceremony that took place at her family home in Nabbingo. The introduction was a national affair, as thousands camped out along the procession route to her home. The two are still together and are blessed with a baby girl named Aaliyah Ssebunya who was born on 7th November 2021.

Some of Rema’s catalogue

  • Oli Wange”
  • “Katonotono”
  • “Lean On Me”
  • “Lowooza Kunze”
  • “Deep in Love”
  • “Muchuuzi”
  • “Atuuse”
  • “Kukaliba”
  • “Fire Tonight”
  • “Ceaze and Sekkle”
  • “Banyabo”
  • “Loco” (featuring DJ Harold and Chike)
  • “Akaffe Che”

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