Tems recounts harrowing 2 days she spent in Ugandan prison

Speaking during an interview with Angie Martinez, the 28-year-old recounted how at first she thought the whole ordeal was a joke

Image: Instagram

Grammy award-winning Nigerian artist Tems is recounting the horrible experience she had in a Ugandan jail after being arrested.

Speaking during an interview with Angie Martinez, the 28-year-old recounted how at first she thought the whole ordeal was a joke after she was picked from her hotel room by officers as she believed the organizers had acquired all the necessary documents.

Things became all too real and she broke down in tears when they got to prison and she was handed her uniform.


On the night of December 12, 2020, Nigerian artists Omah Lay and Tems performed at 'The Big Brunch', which was held at Speke Resort, Kampala, Uganda.

After their performance, the two were charged by the Uganda police for flouting COVID-19 guidelines after lockdown.

Tems realizing that there was no way out (at least for that night) decided to dry her tears and quickly adapt to her new surroundings.


" That was so scary... I was settling in because I adapted real quick and as I was walking in I started to cry because they gave me my uniform and it stunk because they don't wash it," started off the artist.


"It was a small room and there was nothing, there's just the floor they give you blankets and tissues and you're just on the floor, no bed and I did it for two days. I didn't even know I was going to get out, I didn't have any ears on the ground nobody told me anything.

Outside everyone was like 'free Tems, free Omah lay but inside I was just hopeful, waiting," the artist emotionally recounted.

Tems noted that the prison structure was set under rules that the inmates could not make phone calls unless they had money and she had no money.

The singer noted that she amused the ladies at the prison by winking at them when they stared at her when she walked in.

Why was she winking? Nerves, she explained, to adapt quickly and most importantly, to avoid crying.

Nigerian artist Tems

"Once I walked in everyone turned and looked at me and whispered and I was like 'What have I done? I can't cry' and I just started winking, that was my way of adapting.

I must show these people that I'm confident so I started being extra winking and saying hi and they were laughing," Tems recounted.

The woman in charge of the women's prisons went to her to explain the rules and regulations, as well as the repercussions of breaking the rules.

The apex punishment was solitary confinement in a small store with no food or water.

She was told that she had to kneel to speak to officials and they were fed only once a day.

During the two days spent in the prison, she didn't eat and continued sipping water every day.

Luckily the 'Wait For You' hitmaker was finally released after her team met up with the Ugandan president.

Tems went on to reveal that the experience taught her not to care about so many things.

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