By michelle-lee : Blind Ugandan musician Achilla Orru was in the process of doing what was necessary to bring his wife Rose and their three children to Canada. The process was not completed because Orru died unexpectedly in February from complications of heart disease (see TAN March 2013). His friends – and there are many – held a concert April 7th to raise the funds needed for Rose and the children to immigrate to Canada. Orru had completed the sponsorship documents and was saving for the costs of airfare and DNA testing. Orru was famous for playing the kadongo (thumb piano)
Since Orru’s death, friend and lawyer Davies Bagambiire has continued working on the family’s application and has been successful in bringing Rose to Canada. She arrived April 2nd and was granted permanent resident status. The children remain in Uganda while documentation is being completed. One son has a Canadian citizenship certificate – the other two do you yet have proper documentation. (Orru also has another son who was born and lives in Nova Scotia). Rose, who is a schoolteacher will return to Uganda to care for her children until they can all come to Canada together.
On Saturday April 6th, at Wexford Heights United Church, more than 100 people, including his son Benjamin who arrived from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Orru’s wife Rose, attended the funeral. Bagambiire eulogized him saying “A man I consider an African giant, a Canadian giant, Achilla Rufina Orru, also known fondly as “King Achilla”
The fundraising concert, held at Lula Lounge in Toronto, was organized by Nadine McNulty of the Batuki Music Society. Orru’s band Baana Afrique and African Guitar Summit were among those performing. The Ugandan community in Toronto, friends, complete strangers and many from Toronto’s music scene, have all contributed to a trust fund to cover the cost of Orru’s funeral and to assist his children. To donate to The Achilla Orru Memorial Fund, please visit www.achillaorrumemorial.com