Ruge Mutahaba: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Keynez

JF-Expert Member
Feb 12, 2007
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This is a short unauthorised biography of a great son of Tanzania, Ruge Mutahaba.


I like to start by comparing Boss Ruge, as many people used to call him, to a famous American muslc record producer, Clive Davis. While Ruge recently passed away and Clive is still alive at 86 years old, both of them had an eye and ear for great new talent and a passion to see that talent becoming national sensation. Years ago, when everyone else didn’t see it, Ruge saw a great opportunity to create a new industry from scratch. Born in Brooklyn, I am sure he was influenced greatly by people like Puff Daddy even if for some reasons he never took his route of appearing ‘all in the videos, dancing’!

But while Puffy and Clive’s legacy is mostly restricted to music, Ruge’s contribution also extended into film, television, beauty and fashion, politics and other industries and areas. I heard that he also gave an idea that is currently being used as a payment plan for new clients to Dar es Salaam Water Authority. Talk about versatility. He achieved all of that in a period of 25 years.

Boss Ruge moved like a military commando, light and camouflaged both in appeal and intention. Armed with mostly knowledge, vision and an American exposure, he was playing a very long game. Ruge had what I would call an ‘American humility’, I think I said this years ago on this forum. Those of us who look at our society with a third eye, recognise that by the time of his death, he was essentially the fourth pillar of the government but with no official public office. On the palm of his hand, he was holding one of the largest voting blocks in Tanzanian politics. He knew he had that power but he never abused it even when he was tempted.

He started the Fiesta music festival, I believe in 2002. In all likelyhood the name was borrowed from the Jay-Z and R. Kelly massive collaboration that went by the same name that came out around the same time. A great idea like one of his many, the festival provided an opportunity for local artists to share the stage with international music super stars like 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Rick Ross. He was teaching us about branding before most of us understood what branding was.

Authorities recognised the influence of Clouds Media from the very early on and were tagging along with them ever since, if you know what I mean. In the 1995 general election, Clouds FM broadcasted the election results that showed the opposition candidate, Augustine Mrema as having won the election. I think they were mislead on purpose. Looking back, I wonder if Kikwete had a hand on that information considering that he had a failed bid to be a CCM candidate at that time and that after 10 years became pretty close to Clouds. Anyway, let’s leave that history behind, after all nobody was hurt. I personally think their involvement with politics and politicans might have been one of their biggest strategic mistakes even if it opened many doors for them. They would have been better off and safe if they stayed as a strictly entertainment media company, but that’s just my opinion.

Boss Ruge was like ‘Bugsy Siegel’ who turned Las Vegas from a desert into one of the entertainment centers of the world. I think that alias fit him perfectly and he would have probably loved it. What if he lived for another 30 years? I once heard someone say Albert Einstein was proof that reincarnation exist. Their argument is that there is no way someone could accumulate that amount of knowledge and insight in one lifetime. Ruge can be another proof that reincarnation is real. It’s scary to think what he will achieve in his next lifetime!

Business Lessons from Boss Ruge:

First, Ruge’s great lesson to all of us is that we must take personal initiative to fulfill our dreams even if odds are greatly stacked against us. There is a Rabbi that I once heard teaching that business is spiritual. If you move by faith and see the future that even if only you can see, you have a great chance of succeeding.

Another lesson is that as we pursue our dreams, we must play smart and keep a long term goal. He used to say he doesn’t like small dreams. By playing smart, you can fool the would-be enemies and competitors. By the time they discover your intention and plans, it’s going to be too late to catch you.

Another lesson that have also been my outlook on life is that we must build things that last. We are mere mortals but from what we do while here on earth, our names can be remembered forever. From his ideas, company and a pool of talent he has discovered and nurtured, Ruge’s name will be around for some time.

Another lesson is that we must look for what Steve Jobs called synergy. As you build your business, you must recognise another industry, profession, knowledge or partner that either obviously or by your own creativity can match with your other main business. Ruge found his partner Joseph Kusaga. I personally don’t know much about the later even if his name has been known around entertainment industry in Dar es Salaam for years. Once they discovered that there is a lack of distribution system for the music which they produced, they were forced to get into broadcasting which is what led into Radio then Television and the rest. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. After all, Music and Radio are a perfect match, so as Music and Television. Sometimes this synergy brings a alot of conflict but that’s a different subject that deserve an article of its own.

Another lesson is that we must discover our unique talent and that should be the foundation for everything else we do. I actually didn’t know Ruge had a talent for writing songs until I heard few days ago after his death. It is now clear that his passion for discovering talent was driven by his talent in writing music.

Lastly, invest in people. Ruge was playing the numbers game. He knew the more people he helped, the more he was giving himself a chance to succeed because from the large pool of people he was helping, he knew some will be great, some will be mediocre and few will be unappreciative.


Best Way to Remember Him:

Foremost, he deserve a very well made documentary. I think that will be one of the best ways to preserve his legacy. He knew he was creating a legacy that is worthy of remembrance.

Secondly, Clouds Media can do what I saw being done by the software company Adobe. One of their flagship products, Photoshop was created by someone called Thomas Knoll and then few years later Adobe bought it from him. Ever since then, on every release of Photoshop, you will see the name of Thomas Knoll appearing first when you launch the software. His name also appear elsewhere on the software as the first name on the list of contributors for that software version. Even if he is no longer the owner or the main contributor, they still keep his legacy by showing his name first. Clouds Media can decide to put the name of Ruge Mutahaba as the first name that appear at the beginning or end of each one of their programs. That will be unique, creative and wouldn’t cost them a cent!

Thirdly, Ruge deserve a monument built for him in Dar es Salaam and probably even in Kagera. Just like the other two proposals, I woudn’t wait for the government to do these things. Artists and other organisations that appreciate his legacy need to take it upon themselves to make sure these things happen. They can buy a piece of land, use local sculptors to build a small monument and even a small museum showcasing his life and a collection of pictures, videos and music that he has helped to create. I don’t see the government doing this so like I said, people need to take it upon themselves.

I could offer more suggestions but let me first see if there are listening ears around.

His Legacy:

Ruge’s legacy is sealed. His style of work, character and contribution will be worthy of study for generations to come. Tupac Shakur once famously said, he isn’t saying that he will change the world but he guaranteed that he will spark the brain that will change the world. This has also been the case for Boss Ruge. He has sparked the brains of many young Tanzanian men and women who are ready and fully equipped with his humilty, character, examples and life skills to change the world.


Everything I wrote here is my personal observation from a distance of someone who has inspired me for years. I was hoping one day to get a chance to work with him but unfortunately that dream has been cut short.

I prefer to remain anonymous.
 

Nalendwa

JF-Expert Member
Aug 9, 2016
7,495
2,000
🙌🙌🙌
RIP Boss RG.

Anonymous..feels like you read my mind.
He was an Intellectual Powerhouse, an Influential Figure, and Brains behind enormous Tanzanian Talents.
But, as you said, camouflaged. Both in appeal and Intention.
His light shone, after he's gone..

I was just wondering if someone is going to publish a book about him.
 

Keynez

JF-Expert Member
Feb 12, 2007
1,961
2,000
🙌🙌🙌
RIP Boss RG.

Anonymous..feels like you read my mind.
He was an Intellectual Powerhouse, an Influential Figure, and Brains behind enormous Tanzanian Talents.
But, as you said, camouflaged. Both in appeal and Intention.
His light shone, after he's gone..

I was just wondering if someone is going to publish a book about him.

I believe the book will be written some day.
 

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