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99 lives of Chameleon

By - | January 18th 2013

By Pulse Team

From a former school dropout to one of East Africa’s biggest stars, Jose Chameleone has proved to be a relentless headline grabber and all-round entertainer. Pulse unearths fresh facts on the Ugandan showbiz master

Even when things looked down for Jose Chameleone, he still found a way out and continues to do so in all his much-publicised ups and downs.

 Whether it’s suing a fellow artiste or bumping his younger brother, Chameleone loves to be talked about. What’s more interesting though, is despite the controversy surrounding him, he still manages to put out good music and solidify his position as an industry heavyweight.

Chameleone started out as a deejay and emcee before deciding to follow his passion as a musician, a passion nurtured from a young age. He apparently won a secondary school scholarship out of one of his compositions. After trying his luck as an artiste in Kampala, he relocated to Nairobi Kenya and began recording with Ogopa Deejays teaming up with a then skinny Redsan and current nemesis Bebe Cool, now both stars in their own right.

With hit songs like Dorotia, Njoki and Mama Mia, his rise to the top was quick and perhaps this is what attracted the hubris that dogged him for the better part of the last two years.

So far, he has survived being left by his first wife, breaking his legs, being run over by an enraged husband and getting arrested for using a policeman’s gun in a video. 

With all that, Chameleone bounces back or rather changes colour to adapt to the changing seasons of his life — he still manages to maintain the one thing that makes him an artiste; his music. Here is how he has survived:


Before Chameleone made his millions and changed his name to Cham000,000, he was living in a single room in Kibera with two other struggling artistes.

Before that, he was a struggling artistes in Uganda who decided to take matters in his own hands and travel to Nairobi with only Sh4,000 between him and fate. This dogged determination paid off and he is now Uganda’s highest earning artiste.


For some reason, Chameleone has never lost the sense of being an entertainer. If he was not, he would probably be an actor. A picture of his broken legs shows him crawling on the floor of his house despite the fact that the hospital must have provided crutches or a wheel chair.

But he must have known that the crawling picture would possibly get him on the front page of tabloids. He wears his heart on his sleeve and has no qualms discussing his various heartbreaks through his songs or directly with the press. Only Chameleone can do this.


Despite all the hoopla surrounding him, Chameleone is at his best when he is making unforgettable music. He is also the kind of artiste who appreciates the importance of regional fame having lived and performed in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. Though he does not get along with his younger brother Weasel, he is still credited for showing him the ropes in the music

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