Music mogul Akon gets up-close with Gorillas in Uganda, names self ‘Papa of Gorillas’

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Akon gets up close with a Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi Forest on Sunday, April 4, 2021
By :
Baluku Geoffrey

Kampala, Uganda – Music mogul Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam, better known as Akon, has today, Sunday tracked the majestic Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi ‘Impenetrable’ Forest, southwest of Uganda.

The 47-year-old Senegalese American singer known for hits like “Smack That” and “Lonely,” said he and wife Rozina Negussei were happy to have finally seen Africa’s Gentle Giants, the Mountain Gorillas despite hiking on a muddy day.

“Had an amazing time tracking the Gorillas,” Akon posted on Instagram.

Donning a Uganda Cranes jersey, the Grammy-nominated singer and record producer referred to himself as “The Papa of Gorillas” after his wife Rozina wished she could adopt a baby Gorilla that she had seen while in the forest.

Akon in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Sunday April 4, 2021

He couldn’t agree more with Winston Churchills’ definition of Uganda as the Pearl of Africa. Few things beat the thrill of hiking through a forest, deep in the heart of Africa, and suddenly coming upon a family of fascinating mountain gorillas.

“This experience was amazing. With all that is going on around the world with the pandemic getting a chance to get into nature, air it all out and escape from the madness just to see our cousins is an experience like no other,” said Akon.

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Although viewing gorillas is certainly the culmination of any visit to Uganda, it is by no means all there is to see. The birdlife is incomparable; with many considering Uganda to be the finest birding country in Africa. And for a truly unbeatable experience, a launch cruise down the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park and along Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park remains memorable among the other attractions. But one of the prime attractions of Uganda which the celebrity couple agrees to is the simplicity and hospitality of Ugandan people.

Akon’s wife Rozina Negusei (R) chats with Ms. Diana Museveni in Rwakitura on April 2, 2021

According to Isaac Kigozi, the trade and Investment officer in the office of the Senior presidential advisor on Diaspora affairs, they are committed to bring many more people like Akon to Uganda for the same reasons he is here.

“With the support of H.E. President Museveni, the office of the Senior presidential advisor on Diaspora affairs is not just committed to bringing home our Diaspora and other interested parties for investment, but is dedicated to work with everyone and every organization that is out to preserve nature,” said Isaac Kigozi who lived in the USA for the greater part of his life.

Christened Uganda’s envoy for Tourism and Culture, Akon now promises to build luxurious accommodation facilities in different touristic sites of the country as a way of adding value to an industry he is more than ready to sell wherever he goes.

He has in recent years made headlines as a pan-African businessman interested in opportunities on the continent. In 2014 Akon started a group that backs solar energy projects in the rural parts of many African countries. The inspiration for Akon Lighting Africa was deeply personal: he found his grandmother was still using candles in Senegal to light her home.

But Akon’s most ambitious goal is to build a $6 billion utopian city in Senegal that he has previously described as a “real-life Wakanda,” comparing it to the technologically advanced fictional African place portrayed in the blockbuster film “Black Panther.”

Just like in Senegal where Akon City has been allocated chunks of land for his construction projects, in Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has promised to avail land to the businessman and his wife after they also revealed plans to invest $12 million in Uganda’s entertainment industry.

“When you develop an artist, you develop a nation,” Akon’s wife said when she first visited Uganda earlier this year.

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