ABOUT THE JANZI
Janzi is a Ugandan string instrument invented by musician James Ssewakiryanga, also known as Ssewa Ssewa. It was vetted and accorded utility model protection by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) under the Harare protocol and registered by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau in 2017.
The instrument plays major roles in all Janzi Band and Ssewa’s performances since its inception, as well as being adopted by other musicians.
Ssewa Ssewa wanted to create something which was new and specially created by himself. He had the idea of removing and replacing the nails on the adungu with a more acceptable material in 2014, after one of the members of his band was not allowed to transport this instrument through Copenhagen Airport because it had metal nails as pegs, these being considered a security threat. He later said that he was spurred into action after his adungu broke.
The first Janzi was created in 2015 and it was recognized as an instrument and patented by ARIPO and registered by the Ugandan government in 2017. The instrument was named after Janzi band, which in turn was named after the local name of a grasshopper, for their music to fly globally.