After an illustrious music career that spawned over 70 singles and six studio albums, local boy trio, Urban Boys seems to have hit the end of the road.
In an emotional and lengthy note posted on his Facebook page on Monday, group member Safi Madiba broke the devastating news in no uncertain terms.
“... They say that one father is more than 100 school masters, but I say that having two brothers is more than a super hero.
With great sadness and heavy heart, I regret to tell you that my journey with Urban Boys has come to an end...
A journey of more than 10 years, full of moments, highs and lows alongside my brothers that I was privileged to be part of will always have the biggest fraction in my heart and in my life.”
The singer further extends his gratitude to fans, friends and family for standing by the group’s side “in hardship and in happiness.”
“It’s not the ‘Goodbye’ that hurts, but the flashbacks that follow. Back in time, you supported a young group of three boys in their music, but to us you were supporting a dream. All I can say in concluding is; good luck to my fellow brothers and I hope God blesses us so that life may give us a new Hello… Niyibikora Safi Madiba.”
Efforts to reach the other group members, Nizzo and Humble Jizzo about the future of the group were fruitless as their phones went unanswered.
Safi’s move only served to confirm speculation about the group’s likely split following his civil marriage in Kigali in September. At the time, however, Jizzo had laughed off speculation that the group would be no more:
“I think we’re mature enough. We’ve been working together for very many years now, so just some members getting married won’t let us split. This is a long time career we’ve been building together,” Jizzo said at the time.
But everything that has a beginning must come to an end, and stories of break ups in local music circles abound.
For instance, who knew that boy group T.B.B would go separate ways right after making their maiden Primus Guma Guma Super Star appearance last year?
“Apparently everyone is focusing on their solo career at the moment though we haven’t officially split,” reveals the group’s former front man, Tino. Formed in 2011, the group’s other members were; Bob Steve and Benjamin Kagorora.
Asked why the split came on the heels of Primus Guma Guma Tino retorts, “Because we didn’t have a manager.”
“We had been together like five years, with very good music but the outcome wasn’t good. It was always about just being there and waiting for Guma Guma which comes once a year and there’s no guarantee that you will qualify,” he added.
According to Tino, artiste managers in Rwanda are the biggest problem because they want a quick return on investment.
“Groups can only work when you have someone investing in and not expecting a return on investment in two months. Music is a long term business so it’s all about being patient. It’s hard to find someone who wants to grow with you.”
Tino believes he has made better progress since the split, with five singles and three video clips to his name;
“In a group there’ll always be that weak person, the one that says top me up whenever members have to contribute and this slows you down.”
For DJ Pius and Aiden T.K, who made up the duo, Two4Real, the journey came to an end when T.K left to pursue further studies in Australia.
“Two4Real is the past now. We are no longer a duo because my colleague T.K is in Australia so there’s no way I can connect with him and do music together.”
However, DJ Pius hastens to add; “Our situation is not like that of Urban Boys which is kind of personal. Two4Real no longer exists but we’re still friends. We could do music together again, but not as a group. It’s hard to come back as a group when you have gone separate ways but I still help him out with his music and he helps me with mine.”
Just Family, a musical trio that was formed in 2008, went separate ways four years later. However, Jean Baptiste Bahati Habiyaremye, Jimmy Shema and Chris Nisingizwe soon sat down and ironed out their differences;
“We separated in 2012. Then we decided to sit and talk. We talked about ourselves, our group, our music and our fans, so we made a joint decision to come back as Just Family,” explained Bahati.