Ugandan singer and politician, Bobi Wine has been named on the list of Top 100 global thinkers of 2019 compiled by American American news publication, ‘Foreign Policy’.
Founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, domestic and international policy, Foreign Policy produces content daily on its website and in six print issues annually.
Bobi Wine was named in the first group of 10 out of the 10 categories that will make up 2019’s Top 100 list. The list comprises thinkers who have had enormous impact on the world in the past decade.
The other groups are for people who have been influential in the past year: thinkers and doers 40 and under, as well as those in defense and security, energy and climate, technology, economics and business, science and health, and activism and the arts.
Bobi Wine who is the Member of Parliament for Kyadondo East joins a list that includes the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, CNN host and author Fareed Zakaria, New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern as well as two Reuters journalists; Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who were jailed for investigating the violence in Myanmar.
Foreign Policy described Bobi Wine as “Uganda’s firebrand singer-turned-politician who grew up poor in Kampala” and draws focus to the events surrounding the political saga in Arua in August 2018 when Bobi Wine was allegedly tortured while in military detention.
The 36-year-old celebrity and opposition politician is recognized for having fought for the dignity of the poor. The category the singer is listed under is ‘Activism and the Arts’.
“Bobi Wine, born Robert Kyagulanyi, has rallied Uganda’s youth by arguing against a proposed social media tax and fighting for the dignity of the poor” writes the publication in its brief on Wine.
It adds: “Ugandan soldiers attempted to silence Wine in August 2018, first beating him brutally and then bringing him to trial for treason in a military court, although he is a civilian”.
“Wine recovered, picked up attention in the international media, and his “people power” campaign continues, undeterred”.
Bobi Wine reacted to this in tweet saying he was “extremely honored” to be on the list.
“Extremely honored to be named amongst the @ForeignPolicy Global Thinkers, 2019. Humbled that the small things we do for our country & our people are appreciated by the world. Such recognition by the world only reaffirms to us that ours is not a wrong cause. Encouraged to carry on,” Bobi Wine tweeted on Thursday.
Way before he came to the political realm as an MP, Bobi Wine had branded himself as a singer who used his music and status as a musician to speak against social issues including HIV, bad hygiene, mistreatment of traders in Kampala by city authorities among others. His songs appealed to his fellow youths to make right choices in life. He came to label this kind of music as ‘edutainmemt’.
The singer says that his activism is partly influenced by the hardships he met growing up in one of Kampala’s biggest slums, Kamwokya.
The full list of the Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers is set to be released on January 24.