It was in the early 80’s when 3 Rasta Brethren, Papa Bingi, Alonzo Bongoman and Ras Eugene Rhuhamia met.
When we first met, Eugene had just entered Kenya from Burundi on his way to Shashamane Land where he was later turned back by the rebels, Bongoman had also entered the country from Rwanda.
By then the only person promoting Reggae Music was a lady by the name Andrea Tapper. Andrea’s promotion was more of a commercial than anything else. After attending several of her shows, we decided it was time for a change!! The three of us approached the owner of then Starlight Club, Mr. Armstrong who was kind enough to give us every Sunday afternoon, the rest was history.
When we first started playing music, we only had 5 Reggae LP’s and a few singles and as time went by help started pouring in the form of Bob Marley’s graphics and art director Mr. Neville Garrick who after seeing what we were doing, went back to Jamaica and brought us a heap of records, Rasta T-shirts and posters. Then came the “Dread at control” radio station out of Virgin Island.
In 1983, during Bob Marley’s celebration at the then French Cultural Center in Nairobi, we decided to invite a guest artist from England, “The Zulu warrior”, Jah Shaka that was to become the greatest Reggae concert Kenyan fans will never forget. The following day, Ras Eugene and I (Papa Bingi) were in Jah Shaka’s room reasoning when Jah Shaka asked us whether we had a name for our organization in which we replied in the negative and he suggested that we find a name and register it. Since our aim is to promote Reggae music, we decided to call it “Roots Inity Promotions” with Papa Bingi as Director, Ras Eugene as the Secretary General and Bongoman as the treasurer. Jah Shaka went back to London and a couple of months later invited us there. Since we had so much to do, we decided to send Bongoman. Jah Shaka and Ariwa Sounds did a lot to promote us.
During the Women’s conference in Nairobi, we played for celebrities like Corretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, Margaret Reagan the daughter of the president of the USA Ronald Reagan, just to mention a few.
We at the Starlight club made Reggae what it is in Kenya. Stars like the late General Lefty, the late Pupa Davis, the Late Man Apollo, Daddy Chosh, Jah’Key Malley, Briggie, Puppa Killos, Rev. Dida, Youthman Terry, Ras Ken, Nasty D, etc. are all students of Roots Inity the old school of DJ’s.
As every fairy tale has an end and since we paved ways for the upcoming DJ’s in 1984. Almighty Jah Rastafari gave us an even bigger assignment, Bongoman left for the USA, I-man went to Europe. Ras Eugene moved to Japan with his wife Yumiko and the children. He later went back to Kenya in 1990. When war broke out in Rwanda in the early 90’s, Ras Eugene decided to join the rebel forces but was later killed in combat.In early 1991, General Lefty and Jah’Key Marley build their own sounds King Lions Promotions and Jambo sounds respectively.
Papa Bingi (Shashamane International)