Interview with Testimony Jaga
Welcome to a captivating dialogue that promises to be both enlightening and inspiring. As you delve into this interview, expect to journey through the vibrant world of gospel music, community empowerment, and the rich tapestry of African culture and traditions.
Our main guest, Testimony Jaga, is a renowned gospel artist whose passion and commitment to his craft and community are unparalleled.
Alongside him, we have the insightful Bishop Kingsley Osayande, of the Mount Zion Ministries in whose church a memorable concert was held, and the dynamic Engineer Vincient Osazuwa,the CEO of Kabod Music Festival-Praise Festival, who is instrumental in promoting gospel content that touches the soul.
This interview, conducted by Bukky Ojo: CEO of CanadaParticipate, aims to bridge cultures and connect Africa to the world.
It’s a deep dive into the aspirations, visions, and challenges faced by those at the forefront of gospel entertainment and community service in Africa.
Whether you’re here for the music, the culture, or the profound insights, we encourage you to listen and read to the very end. This is more than just an interview; it’s a celebration of passion, commitment, and the unifying power of music and faith.
To our esteemed audience, thank you for joining us. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey together.
Bukky Ojo: It’s a pleasure to have you here, Testimony Jaga. Let’s start with a bit about your background. Can you share more about your family and upbringing?
Testimony Jaga: Thank you, Bukky. My full name is Aliu Salau. I come from a large family; I’m the 22nd child out of 27. My father married six wives. It was a diverse and vibrant household, to say the least.
Bukky Ojo:That’s quite a large family! And what about your personal life? Are you married?
Testimony Jaga: I’m not married yet, but I do intend to. I believe marriage is the completion of my ministry.
Bukky Ojo: Your style often incorporates elements that resonate with African culture. How do you relate your clothing and style to Africa?
Testimony Jaga: While I appreciate and acknowledge my African roots, I don’t see myself as “black” in the way many might define it. When you become a born-again Christian, you don’t carry any tag. We are all one in God’s eyes. I’m from Zion. However, I do draw from my traditional past to showcase my knowledge of African traditions. My father, being a Muslim cleric, has also given me a deep understanding of our traditions.
Bukky Ojo:Are you implying that African tradition is inherently negative?
Testimony Jaga: Not at all. It’s about how certain aspects of the tradition are applied. For instance, I differ when it comes to the use of incantations on things, like leaves and herbs. But the tradition itself isn’t bad.
Bukky Ojo: You often refer to yourself as “the king.” Can you explain the significance of that title to you?
Testimony Jaga: Absolutely. The Bible tells us that we are kings and priests. God always instructs us to shine in the world, not to be dull. That’s a characteristic of a king. So, when I step out, I come out big, like royalty. It’s a reflection of my identity in Christ.
Bukky Ojo: Lastly, when asked about your identity, you mentioned you’re a person of color. Can you elaborate on your perspective on the term “black”?
Testimony Jaga: The term “black” carries a lot of weight and history. While I acknowledge my skin color, I believe it’s more important to focus on what it signifies and represents. We are all beautifully made by God, and our color is just one aspect of our identity.
Bukky Ojo: Thank you for sharing your insights, Testimony Jaga. It’s been enlightening to hear your perspective.
Testimony Jaga: Thank you for having me, Bukky. It’s always a pleasure to share.
Bukky Ojo:I’ve noticed your unique style in clothing and accessories. Do you design them yourself?
Testimony Jaga: Yes, I do. Everything you see me wear, I’ve crafted myself. I even have an Instagram page, Jagz wear, where I showcase some of my designs.
Bukky Ojo: That’s impressive! Now, let’s talk about your name. Many Nigerians are familiar with the slang “Jaga Jaga.” Can you explain the significance of your name, Testimony Jaga?
Testimony Jaga: Certainly. While “Jaga Jaga” in Nigerian slang means “scatter,” my name has a different connotation. JAGA stands for “Jesus Associate, God Ambassador.” It’s an abbreviation of those four words. I see two faces of my career: street evangelism and church. In the church, I’m “Testimony,” sharing the good news and my personal journey. On the streets, I’m “Jaga,” God’s ambassador, reaching out to those who might not step into a church.
Bukky Ojo: That’s a profound distinction. But I must say, having witnessed your stage performance in church yesterday, you were anything but calm!
Testimony Jaga:(Laughs) I know what you mean. While I might be more reserved in certain church settings, I can’t help but express my joy and passion for God, especially when I’m on stage.
Bukky Ojo: Speaking of life experiences, you seem to have a wealth of them. May I ask how old you are?
Testimony Jaga: I’m over 35. Life has taught me a lot, and I’ve been through various experiences that have shaped my perspective and my ministry.
Bukky Ojo: And your song “I Don’t Care” touches on this?
Testimony Jaga: Exactly. The song is about not letting your past define you. My past doesn’t matter; it’s who I am now and who I’m becoming in Christ that counts.
Bukky Ojo: You started your ministry in Nigeria, and you’ve achieved global recognition. What’s the plan for the future?
Testimony Jaga: The ministry of Jaga is just beginning. My future plan is to uplift people. I want to address the limitations we place on ourselves due to cultural norms. For instance, many Nigerian men find it hard to express love verbally to their wives. They believe providing materially is enough. But there’s more to love than just providing.
Bukky Ojo: So, you’re saying that African culture limits expressions of love?
Testimony Jaga: Yes, our culture has many dos and don’ts. But if we trace our roots back to the word of God, we’d see things differently.
Bukky Ojo: But isn’t African culture limiting in many ways? It dictates roles for women and doesn’t allow men to express their emotions.
Testimony Jaga: It’s true. Some aspects of our culture even allow men to mistreat women. But I believe that when we understand our roles from a biblical perspective, things change. For instance, the Bible says the man is the head, but it doesn’t mean he should lord it over the woman.
Bukky Ojo: Speaking of which, you mentioned that when you get married, your wife would call you “Lord.” Why is that?
Testimony Jaga: It’s biblical. Sarah called Abraham her lord. But it’s also about respect and understanding roles in a marriage.
Bukky Ojo: But isn’t it a choice? Does she have to?
Testimony Jaga: It’s a choice, but it’s one rooted in our traditions and biblical teachings. I believe African marriages are stronger because of our traditions.
Bukky Ojo: But if we go by the Bible, a woman is a helpmate. So, she should share responsibilities with the man, right?
Testimony Jaga: Yes, if the man is a king, the woman is a queen. They complement each other.
Bishop Osayande: (Interjecting) Marriages are collapsing today because we’ve forgotten the simple rules that govern them. That’s why I offer seven weeks of counseling before marriage. If someone leaves you for another, it means you’ve been with the wrong person all along.
Bukky Ojo: But what if someone’s destined partner is no longer alive or with someone else?
Testimony Jaga: God always has a plan. He can create new opportunities for love.
Bukky Ojo: So, you’re saying there’s always someone for everyone?
Testimony Jaga: Absolutely. God doesn’t leave anyone without a partner.
Bukky Ojo: You’ve mentioned before that you’re not a “normal” person but a spiritual one. It seems you’ve made all of us “abnormal” in this room with your perspectives!
Testimony Jaga:(Laughs) Maybe that’s the goal. To challenge norms and make people think differently.
Bukky Ojo:It’s comforting to think that if one relationship doesn’t work out, there’s another one out there for us. So, for all the singles, including me, who’ve decided to stay out of the dating scene, you’re encouraging us to reconsider?
Testimony Jaga: Absolutely. God has a plan for everyone.
Bukky Ojo: But the Bible says not to divorce, yet we see many men of God divorcing. How do you reconcile that?
Bishop Osayande: Where in the Bible did you find that?
Bukky Ojo: Growing up, it was preached in African churches that divorce wasn’t biblical. Has that changed?
Testimony Jaga: The enemy always looks for the weak one to strike. It’s like in the Animal Kingdom, where a lion targets the weakest prey. In my personal experience, disobedience can lead to setbacks. We must always be vigilant.
Bukky Ojo: Modernity has changed our perspectives. You mentioned during your concert about retaliating when wronged but staying in the church. It seems Bible teachings have evolved over generations. Don’t you think our African mentality should evolve, too?
Testimony Jaga:(Standing up) We are God’s army. If someone threatened the bishop here and I defended him, even to the point of taking a life, it wouldn’t be a sin. We must protect our own.
Bukky Ojo: That’s a controversial stance. Is it not a sin even in the eyes of the law?
Bishop Osayande: Legally, it’s self-defence. But more importantly, Jaga is communicating in a way the youth can understand. He’s bridging the gap between tradition and modernity.
Bukky Ojo:So, Jaga, what’s next for you in Canada?
Testimony Jaga: We have something big planned for November. But before that, in Nigeria, I’m releasing my first-ever EP. It’s not an album, just an extended playlist. We have a lot of videos coming out. In October, we’re planning a massive album launch with a 30,000-capacity. We’re also organizing a program called *”One Jesus, One Church, One Hallelujah.”* It’s a vision given to me. It’s going to be a 24-hour concert, and we’re encouraging everyone to contribute.
Bukky Ojo: Bishop mentioned you’re involved in public work. Can you tell us more about that?
Testimony Jaga: Yes, we have an initiative called “Public School Good Toilet.” With just 300k naira, you can help install a male and female washroom in a public school. This will significantly reduce infections among girls. We have foot soldiers monitoring the progress and use of these toilets. I believe that when God blesses you, it’s so you can bless others.
Bukky Ojo: That’s commendable. How do you fund these initiatives?
Testimony Jaga: We empower people through loans without interest. Once they repay the initial loan, they can access twice the amount. We’ve even provided loans for cars or motorcycles for transportation businesses. So far, 12 recipients have benefited. Our charity platform is called SGM-Street Gospel Movement. My greatest supporter in these endeavors is Pastor Chris Oyakilome of Christ Embassy church.
Bukky Ojo:And during festive periods?
Testimony Jaga: We distribute raw and frozen food. Last time, we reached over 3,000 people and even provided some money to help them cook the food. Our plan is to empower 10,000 people soon.
Bukky Ojo: If you had an audience of Nigerians here in Canada, what would your advice be?
Testimony Jaga: Don’t get stuck in the system. Engage in service to God. Give Him time in your life. The grace that works is in service to God. And raise your children according to the Word of God, not just the system. Let them know their roots.
Bukky Ojo: Vincent, as the promoter, can you share what’s coming up?
Vincent Osazuwa: People should visit www.kabodmusicfestival.com. Our vision is to bring entertainment to the gospel.