Barnabas Samuel uses music as a tool for community development
At 29, Barnabas Samuel uses his first love – music – to confront political injustices in the portrayal of the poor and oppressed.
Early family history
Born on May 25, 1993 in Kaya, Morobo County – Central Equatoria State, South Sudan, Barnabas Samuel is a musician, songwriter and community activist.
While her parents moved to the refugee camp in Uganda due to the Sudanese civil war. When the first CPA protocol was signed, his parents took him back to Yei, and were later joined by his other siblings; Selua Lula, Jaiksana, Ronald Ladu and Mathew Gita after being repatriated to South Sudan.
Barnabas Samuel grew up in Yei, a small town in Central Equatoria State, but attended Nyarillo Pionier Nursery (Koboko) in Uganda for his preschool, Nyarilo Primary (Koboko), Christ the King for his primary and Yei Day SS for high school.
In 2016, when another civil conflict broke out in South Sudan, Barnabas Samuel had to flee to Uganda. He was later joined by his family in the Rhino Camp refugee camp, where he is currently settled and lives to this day.
He is married to Mimi Yangi Elizabeth with whom he has a son named Smyrna Barnabas. Here in Uganda, Barnabas Samuel joined the music industry.
Barnabas Samuel’s musical journey began in his old age in the church. On September 2, 2021, he released his first album ‘Sambara’. He considers the album “a great success” of his career. Most of the songs on the album have pointed lyrics confronting political injustices, awakening public social awareness, giving hope and bringing people’s issues to the fore.
Sambara, sejerina, Stakalu, His beauty, Manga, Masire are some of his most popular songs. He is the founder/CEO of the music label Ganya Records. The label has signed a number of musicians in South Sudan.
Barnabas sings in Arabic, Kakwa and English, fusing Afrobeat, Reggae, Zouk, Rumba, RnB and Dancehall. He is however more proactive on Reggae music.
Using music as a tool for community development
Barnabas Samuel is passionate about community and he helps represent the poor and oppressed of his people by raising their voices.
To listen Sambara, you can bet that Barnabas Samuel is on a mission to represent the poor and downtrodden. In his song Suluta Wa Fata he says in the intro “De ma mini de minana Junubin”, which translates to “It’s not from me but from us South Sudanese”.
He co-founded the Community Development Center – CDC, a community organization that works for the welfare of communities through which he works to improve the quality of life in his community, promote community life and alert stakeholders to community development needs and issues facing youth, women and girls.
The 29-year-old has worked to fight hate speech, advocate for peace and implement peace in South Sudan to enable him and his people to return home to South Sudan.
Barnabas Samuel founded the Barnabas Samuel Foundation which helps provide opportunities for everyone to live a fulfilling life.
Inspirations and future projects
Talking to Mbu, Barnabas Samuela revealed that his love for music came from his family as each of his siblings had a connection to music.
“Music has been something in our family, my sister is a substitute singer and teacher by profession, and my brother Jaiksana is a musician and photographer/videographer. My younger brother Ronald Ladu is a music producer and Mathew Gita is a singer and an artist,” he told us.
He says, however, that his biggest inspiration is his mother. He also has great admiration for South Sudanese music legend Emmanuel Kembe. “My mother is my number one inspiration – and South Sudanese reggae legend Emmanuel Kembe,” he told Mbu.
On his new musical projects, Barnabas Samuel works with producers like Joshman Perfection, Poppa Idelu Mani Beati aka DJ Poppa and his younger brother Taylor Beats.
He hopes to make his music label one of the most important musical foundations in South Sudan and expand its influence to other parts of the continent.
“I have founded a record company known as Ganya Records. I hope to work to make it one of the best professional labels in South Sudan,” he noted with a smile.