‘My success is a testimony’- Kagimba

 

martha-kkBY BRIGHT NIWAHA AND ELIZABETH AMONGIN

Videos of a young woman mimicking singers have, for the last three months, been making the rounds on social media sites. The author and protagonist, Martha Kagimba, is a photographer and comedienne who gained popularity in August this year when a video of her testifying about being nearly knocked by her dream car (the Range Rover) was posted on Facebook.

She has since posted videos of her mimicking Irene Ntale and Sheebah Karungi who are both Ugandan musicians. The 21-year-old has completed her Mass Communication degree at Uganda Christian University, talked to The Standard. “I had no idea that the videos would receive attention from various organisations like the Bill Gates Foundation, musicians and comedians like Anne Kansiime.

I shot the (Range Rover) video for my brother, and I did not initially want to post it on social media. But surprisingly, I woke up the following day to be told that the video had many views,” Kagimba said. That and other videos have brought Kagimba so much fame that she is currently an ambassador of the ‘Fly’ campaign under the Bill Gates Foundation.

The campaign is aimed at showing teenagers that one can achieve one’s goals by pursuing one’s talents. “When one of the campaign’s bosses contacted me about being their ambassador, I hesitated because I was scared that I could not manage the task but after a lot of convincing I accepted the deal.”

Early life

Kagimba was born in Nairobi and raised in Nakasero, Kampala. Born to Margaret and Jessy Kagimba, she is the lastborn of four children. She went to Kabojja Junior School, St Mary’s College Namagunga School, and Kabojja International School before joining Uganda Christian University to pursue a degree in Mass Communication.

Passion for photography

On her 18th birthday, Kagimba’s elder sister asked her what she wanted as a birthday present. “I wanted a phone tablet that could take pictures but my sister suggested that I get a professional camera. She bought me a camera and that was the beginning of my work in photography. I also studied in Haiti for my Senior Six and photography was among the extra activities we would do,” she explains.

Kagimba had no plans of taking photography more seriously though, and she did not enjoy her first internship duties at The New Vision as a photographer. “I preferred artistic photography than journalism photography whose pictures are about news events.”

“When I went for internship at the World Vision, I had the opportunity to take pictures for the organisation. This prompted some of my relatives to encourage me to do photography on a professional level. That is how Martha Kay Photography was born,” she said.

“At the World Vision’s public relations department, I took pictures out of love, not as a source of income. People begun asking me if I would cover their ceremonies like, graduation ceremonies, weddings and this is how it started as business,” Kagimba adds.

Pursuing excellence

Kagimba narrates that while in O-level, she was a poor academic performer and this demoralised her. She painfully recalls that she was always among the last people in her class. In her family, she was looked at as a failure. “My brothers and sisters were always performing well. I had the worst grades, some aunties of mine even used to laugh at my mother,” she says.

“One time my mother was called to the headmistress’ office due to my poor academic performance. She asked me, “Do you think I am going to take care of you for the rest of your life?’ I went back to the dormitory and cried. I felt like a failure, and I was depressed.”

She says that during this period of depression and rejection, she turned to God and read many inspirational books, which helped her to deal with the depression. “I used to read the Bible and other inspirational books.

By the time I came back to Uganda to pursue a degree in Mass Communication, I loved God more than anything that I even forfeited the freshers’ ball for overnight prayers,” she said. Kagimba adds that when she joined the university she still had the fear for failure, but prayers and obedience to God kept her focused.

When the first coursework assignment was returned and the lecturer asked who Martha Kagimba was, she got scared. “I thought that I was the last again, but the lecturer insisted and I raised my hand. He then said my work was the best. This changed my perspective about everything,” Kagimba narrates.

“Recently I was told that I attained a first- class degree but I did not believe it until I saw the results. This is a testimony – God is proving something!” she said.

Mentor and role models

“I have mentors in photography and I continue to learn a lot from them. These include Edgar Arinaitwe, the director of Events Guru Photography; and Lovington Kambugu of Blush Media.”

“When I started the photography firm, I knew how to take photos in a professional way because of the lessons I learnt from them,” she said, adding that she looks up to Dr Monica Chibita, the head of the Mass Communication department and Ben Kiruthi, a Kenyan photographer.

“My future plans include opening up a photo studio next year, as well as starting up an events management company,” she concludes.

Exclusive: Up close with the Canons captain

 

BY STAFF WRITER 

The Canons have always been known to nurture break-through stars and put up league championship competition week-in, week-out. This season the team has impressed in spite of the pessimistic attitudes of some pundits towards the team. This team is under the stewardship of a young, high flying captain, JONATHAN EGAU. Ronald Awany sat down with him for a one-on-one interview. Here is the exclusive.

Basketball

Name: Jonathan Egau

Age: 23

Course: BBA 2

Position: Guard

Schools attended: Pioneer Primary School, Teso College Aloet, St Peter’s College Tororo, St Michael High School Sonde, Kibibi Secondary School, and UCU.

When did you start playing basketball? 

That was in 2006 when I had just joined Teso College Aloet. Back then the Malinga brothers (Henry, Erick, and Alex) were a household name in the local league and the fact that they were from Teso inspired me so much, I wanted to grow up and play basketball like them.

What is your strength on court? 

Jumping! I can jump so high, the reason I find picking rebounds and dunking quiet easy.

How do you manage captaining a team and having so much responsibility at such a young age? 

It is a good feeling that comes with a lot of responsibility. It is important to have the support of my teammates, especially during challenging times.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Going pro, and captaining the national side. In fact this year I hope to be called up to the national team.

Do you ever anticipate winning the league during your leadership? 

Yes! This team consists of a fine set of players with great quality and the ability to win the league. We just need to adjust in a few areas and we shall be champions.

How do you spend your free time? 

I go out with friends, a lot. I go swimming too and play a lot of relaxing basketball.

Any role models? 

Dwayne Wade formerly with the Miami Heat and now with the Chicago Bulls, and then locally, Stephen Omony.

What is your favourite meal? 

Smoked goat meat in g-nuts paste and attapa (millet bread)

How do you balance your academics and on court commitments? 

It is always challenging but at the end of the day, I try to draw a balance between the two. On an average day, I have to work out, hit the gym and throw some hoops and at the same time I have to be committed to class obligations.

What is your best and worst game of all time? 

This season’s first leg tie against City Oil was my best. In spite of the fact that we lost 73-72, I had a great game in general and scored 23 points.

My worst is still City Oil, Game Seven of last year’s finals. We could have won the championship yet I felt I could have done more to help the team.

 

Mayamba’s rise to top media spot

Johnson
Mayamba receives an award for good journalism from Margaret Ssekajja, the ED of Human Rights Centre Uganda on World Press Freedom Day (Courtesy photo)

BY ALEX TAREMWA 

Johnson Mayamba graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication at Uganda Christian University (UCU).

The light skinned and vivacious fellow has since his nursery school days at Queens Nursery and Primary, Entebbe, risen through the ranks and is currently vice president of the Human Rights Network for Journalists of Uganda (HRNJ), an NGO devoted to protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms.

Who is he? 

Mayamba was born on March 8, 1988, to Stephen Watata and Agatha Nabulo, both teachers, in Mbale District. He is the firstborn of eight children: five boys and three girls.

He attended Busumbu Primary School and Conbert Modern Primary Schools before joining Muljibhai Madhvani College, Wairaka College, and later UCU in 2009 to pursue Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication.

His choice of course, he says, was informed by an overwhelming desire to speak for the voiceless, the aggrieved whose voices hardly reach the public domain.

“I felt like there are many people who are unheard. These suffering people have no channel of communication. So I believe that being in this field will enable me to speak so that such people get justice,” he said. 

“However, I also contemplated being a teacher and lawyer. In fact, while filling the public university admission forms, I applied for Education and Law at Kyambogo and Makerere University respectively but my fate turned out different.”

Leadership path 

“I learnt the importance of leadership from my mother. Whenever she purposed to do something, she gave it her best.”

Mayamba says that wherever he has been, even when he does not seek a position of leadership, people always see a leader in him.

At UCU he was nominated to the Media Link board as the publicity secretary while in his first year, and he would later be voted Mass Communication representative to the Guild, among other positions.

Jack of all trades 

Despite majoring in print journalism, Mayamba launched his career in 2010 at Dunamis FM, a Mukono based radio station where he co-hosted a programme Agafudde mu Wiiki, a current affairs programme that analysed weekly events.

He worked as an intern at the Daily Monitor and while there he made such a good impression that the editors recommended that he remains as a freelance contributor, before he joined The Standard , as a news editor.

“The Standard was a great opportunity for me. After having a feel of radio, I felt that I needed designing skills but I got a whole lot more. I leant management, decision making, all the practical bits of a journalist and it has helped me a lot in my career,” he says.

In 2011, Mayamba joined the Human Rights Network for Journalists, Uganda and has since been involved in numerous activities.

Mayamba
Mayamba leads journalists to the Uganda Police headquarters (Courtesy photo)

The most notable was a journalists’ demonstration he led to the Uganda Police Force headquarters in Naguru in a bid to petition the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, over the police brutality against journalists.

This demonstration followed an incident involving a WBS Television cameraman Andrew Lwanga, who was severely beaten up by then Old Kampala DPC, Joram Mwesigye while filming a youth riot.

“We walked from Hotel Triangle, were stopped over six times, tear-gassed, dispersed, pepper-sprayed, but we matched on to the police headquarters.

“Unfortunately, we were told that the IGP was not in office but were referred to his deputy then, Haruna Isabirye, and subsequently the then Minister of Internal Affairs, the late Gen. Aronda Nyakairima,” Mayamba remembers.

He was recognised by the African Centre of Media Excellence (ACME), a Kampala-based independent, organisation commited to making the media a more effective platform for the provision of information on public affairs, a tool for monitoring official power, and a forum for vibrant public debate, during the 2016 World Press Freedom Day as the best male journalist, 2016, while HRNJ received the prestigious Commonwealth Press Union Astor Award for its outstanding work.

Dealing with loss 

On September 24, 2014, Mayamba’s mother, who was then a teacher at Seeta Primary School, succumbed for cervical cancer, a battle she had fought for almost a year.

Mayamba who was working at The Standard then, remembers tearfully how he was summoned by his mother one evening as he retired from office.

“Where are you?” His mum asked on phone. “Come home now. I want to see you,” she murmured. When he arrived at her place in Seeta, he found her lying in a pool of blood, helpless.

He took her to Mukono Health Centre IV at 1.00 am, but there was no doctor at the time so they proceeded to Nsambya Hospital where she was admitted for three weeks.

“She was very strong. She showed me that even in the worst situation, I needed to keep strong and I did. Even on the day she passed on, I worked and my colleagues could not believe it when I broke the bad news to them,” he recalls.

Almost two years later, Mayamba still feels the vacuum left by his mother’s absence. His little brother now stays with their aunt because his parents had separated.

Future plans 

Mayamba says he is considering standing for Member of Parliament.

He advises his peers to work towards changing the world for the better, as that is the only true measure of success.

The pinch of history behind Arua Campus

BY RONALD AWANY 

In 2003 Uganda Christian University (UCU) spread its wings to the West Nile region.

The suitable location turned out to be nine kilometres from the Arua–Nebbi–Kampala road; and the UCU, St Paul’s Ringli Study Centre was launched, with 23 students and three degree and diploma programmes in Theology, Social Work and Social Administration and Business Administration.

However, it is impossible to speak about the history of Arua Campus without mentioning Dr John Milton Anguyo, the first director of the campus, whose tenure ended on August 25, 2009.

“Upon completion of my PhD studies in 2002, I had a meeting with the Chancellor, the then Archbishop Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, with whom I shared the idea of starting a regional study centre in West Nile.

“He was impressed by the idea and sent me to the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Noll, together with my dissertation and letter of introduction.

“After examining my resume and idea, Prof. Noll also deemed it strategic to start a campus in Arua,” he says.

In 2003, St. Paul’s Theological College changed status to become a campus of UCU.

DSC_0029
An effigue that represents the university’s commitment to supporting girl child education

The campus has since expanded its programmes to diploma courses in Community Health, Education, and Project Planning and Management; and degree courses in Development Studies, Education, and Public A d m i n i s t r a t i o n and Management.

Day time teaching is conducted at Ringli and the evening sessions at Mvara Mission in Arua town.

The UCU Arua Campus was first the home of a Rural Trade School founded in 1959 by the African Inland Mission (AIM) under the leadership of Rev. Robert Booth.

Booth, a missionary from the USA, laid the foundation of this training institution at Ringli in the West Nile region of Uganda.

In the 1960s, the school became a Lugbara language Lay Readers’ Training College.

Later during the 1970s, the course was then taught in English. In 1978, a priests ordination course was started.

This was a residential training programme that allowed the students to come with their families.

For 25 years, this institution has been training spiritual leaders from Uganda and beyond.

Since its inception, the campus has had three directors: Rev Can Dr. John Milton Anguyo, who was succeeded by Christopher Yiiki and later Canon Feni Onzima in the interim before Canon Bob Betti Nzima was installed on June 12, 2016.

Piano, my true love

TIMOTHY ALFRED WANDABWA is a Business Computing graduate from Uganda Christian University (UCU). He is the sound technician at the university. This is the story of his journey and love for music, as told to Doreen Kajeru

Tim
Wandabwa plays the piano during the 2015 Chapel Choir reunion.

As early as six years of age, I loved l i s t e n i n g to music. I have always been drawn to crusades and concerts because of my desire to see people play musical instruments, especially the piano. Watching people quenched my curiosity but deepened my thirst to want play them myself. Back home and at school I always hit anything: table, bench or chair, imagining that it is a piano.

In my Primary Seven vacation, my father was transferred to St. Andrew’s Cathedral, in Mbale. During my secondary school studies at Mbale Senior Secondary School, I once went for a Scripture Union conference at Busoga College Mwiri and was inspired by fellow students who were playing the piano harmoniously.

After the camp I went to the cathedral to try out a melody I had listened to, “Trading my sorrows.” While I played, the choir director discovered my passion and taught me my first keyboard lesson.

Later I joined the Mission Choir as a strategy to access the piano but instead the director trained me in singing mostly and we only played the piano occasionally. After one year of training, I started to play during missions and ministry outreaches but never in the cathedral.

In Senior Two, I joined Holy Cross Lake View School. There I was able to sing and also play the piano during fellowships and Sunday services. During my free time I listened to different kinds of Christian music and tried to learn how to play them. Most of my learning was and has been by listening and watching people play.

Tim 2
Wandabwa strums the guitar during Christmas carols at UCU in his second year

During holidays I met with different people in Kampala and my target was to watch them play and learn a skill or two.

For my A-level, I joined Muljibhai Madhvani College, Wairaka. Here I was always given a leadership role of guiding the choir.

During my Senior Six vacation I worked as a trainer in the Compassion International children’s project, which sponsored my education.

I joined UCU in 2010, because I believed that it was the only university that would shape me into a better person in the aspect of ministry.

I joined the Chapel Choir and met friends with whom I share a passion for music. I used every opportunity: the music room, internet, and the easy access of music instruments to learn more and get better.

In second year I was selected as one of the music directors of the Chapel Choir.

This pushed me into yearning for perfection. I used my knowledge of the piano to play more instruments like the acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drums quite easily because the techniques are similar. I also picked specific interest in sound balance and output, guided by the then sound technician, Emmanuel Owot.

A music workshop was organized at campus and Roy Kaddu, a band leader at Watoto then, noticed my playing. Finally my dream of playing at Watoto, a big church, was set in motion but due to commitments at the university I did not get to play at Watoto soon.

After my graduation in 2013 I was asked to serve as acting music director at UCU. This gave me another challenge in my music path but I soldiered on.

A year later, I joined Watoto Church. The level of sound and harmony perfection at Watoto is immeasurable and I put in a lot of effort to measure up.

I am glad to have come this far on my music journey despite the fact that I have not gone through music school. My future plan is to study more about music.

Redeemed by the love for musical instruments

ARTHUR WATUULO, a graduate of Information Technology from Uganda Christian University, tells how the love for playing music instruments led to his salvation. The UCU call centre manager recently narrated to The Standard his great passion for musical instruments.

Wadulo
Watuuro strokes a guitar at a function (Courtesy Photo)

Born on April 04, 1991 to Dr Richard and Mrs Lydia Watuulo in Mbale District, Watuulo attended Nabumali Primary School.

“While in Primary Two I joined the choir. Then I went from singing to playing the xylophone, which was my favourite childhood instrument. I loved music so much that I failed a class because I attended all the practices, and participated in all concerts and competitions at the expense of my academics,” he said.

“However, I became an asset to my school because I always won competitions. At home, we were blessed with a neighbour that taught piano so in Primary Five, I took up piano lessons.”

He said that during his O-level studies at Nabumali High School, his passion for musical instruments grew.

“As fate would have it, the school purchased music instruments the year I joined. A condition was set that for one to be in charge of the instruments, one had to be born-again. Driven by my obsession, I became born-again and was put in charge.” 

“Being born-again did not mean anything to me, it was only a ticket to access and play instruments anytime. However, God had a better plan of transforming and molding me into a minister that would serve His people in spirit and in truth. Later when the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF) Band visited our school, I made a true confession to salvation.”

Watuulo says that when he joined Mengo Senior School, his hero status was challenged by those who played the musical instruments much better than he did.

“I got jealous and decided to join them and learn how to play like they did and better. Our trainer, Daniel Sempereza who was the music director at UCU then, noticed me in high school and connected me to the UCU band while I was studying in Senior Six. So by the time I joined UCU I had the confidence and connections.”

Exposure to the band enabled him to play professionally and he was equipped with the discipline of playing for ministry.

“Soon I was training whoever was interested in learning how to play instruments. Very many high class people call me to train their children and these relationships have humbled me. Alongside other duties, I am working with Pastor Wilson Bugembe; and I am daily encouraged to do what I love.”

Watuulo said that his dream is to reach greater heights and even play with Israel Houghton.

He added that he enjoys playing the keyboard, organ, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, recorder, the xylophone and drums, but the piano is his favourite.

“When I sit down to play the piano, I get lost in awe. The accomplishment is due to both skill, and anointing. When going into battle, you have to be prepared, thus the way one plays an instrument for ministry should not be the same way that one plays in a club or bar. People come to church with different problems, and your skill should enable them receive healing and relaxation.” 

Playing instruments has helped Watuulo raise capital for another business: setting up a video game centre. He set up a video game station in Mukono, which accommodates 12 people. His goal is to raise this to 50 or 100 play stations.

His future plans include starting a band and setting up a professional music studio.

“Currently though, I perform in churches, functions and parties with the Elgon Groove Band. But I will not stop until I get to where I want to be.

Alumnus reaping big from poultry farming

Feature
Kato inspecting his poultry farm in Kakoba, Mbarara Municipality (Photos by Zadock Amanyisa)

BY ZADOCK AMANYISA 

Mr Jacob James Kato, a graduate of Business Administration from Uganda Christian University (UCU) ventured into chicken rearing to support God’s ministry and feed the hungry.

The 24-year-old Kato, who majored in marketing, completed his studies in 2014 and was keen to put the knowledge into practice.

Kato hatched the idea of starting the poultry project with the aim of supporting God’s work.

“God’s work and ministry needs financing to reach out to many people, especially in areas like feeding the poor and supporting orphans,” he said.

“Although I did not have enough money to start the poultry project on the two-acre piece of land that we have in Mbarara, my family was supportive. My dad, Dr James Mugume, my mum Ms Christine Mugume and my brother Mr Atwine Mugume supported me and I work as the project manager.”

Kato said that he started off in one of his father’s buildings at Ultimate Hostels, near Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara municipality, and the ever increasing demand for the poultry products made growth possible.

“I began with capital worth Shs22 million and much of this money was spent on buying food needed by the birds in the first four months of their growth.”

Kato adds that he purchased about 1,000 birds from Mbarara town and started taking care of them. Soon the birds started laying eggs on a daily basis.

“The consumption of feeds by the birds was high but I was not disappointed by the returns. The more the birds laid eggs, the more trays of eggs I had to sell,” Kato boasts.

Getting returns 

At first Kato would sell a tray of eggs at Shs 7,500 but this has now increased to Shs 8.500.

He said that the 1,000 birds consume about 180 kilograms of maize bran per day if a farmer is to get eggs daily.

“I currently have up to 3,000 birds and I give them about 450 kg of feed on a daily basis, which seems expensive but I have to go on. I harvest a total of 88 trays every day,” Kato added.

The poultry farmer has also maintained a vaccination programme, which is provided and supported by the company that supplied him with the birds.

“The company gave me a booklet containing the vaccination procedure, types of vaccines and how to apply them.”

He went on to explain that vaccination is crucial to avoid diseases that the bird could suffer from time to time.

Challenges and control 

Kato said that the major challenges are diseases like Newcastle and coccodiosis; other diseases like Gumboro, diarhoea and butter foot have also caused Kato to lose about 50 birds in a period of one year.

Other challenges include price fluctuation, and the often increasing prices of feeds. The weather changes also affect the birds’ laying capacity, and sometimes inefficient medical services from service providers also lead to losses on the farm.

Kato’s farm has five full time workers that help in mixing feeds and water, making regular bird checking, collecting eggs, removing droppings and other duties as assigned to them.

“I am also mostly available on the farm to closely supervise what takes place here and ensure proper management,” he said.

Profits 

Kato was able to realize profits from his farm after a period of one year.

“Initially I used to go out into the community to look for market for my eggs but now I sit here and wait for buyers. That is good progress for me,” he said. “I am now able to get about Shs 10 million as my net profit per month. I share this with the family and take part of my share to the church to support God’s ministry,” he said.

He attributes his success to God and he said that without God one cannot do anything.

“I have conducted my business God’s way to serve different purposes and also reach out to the needy.”

He advises the youths to put God first because He is the foundation of everything. He also encourages them to not despise small beginnings but start small and aim for bigger things.

“I urge farmers to tithe because God is the source of every profit they realize in their businesses. You must give back to God in order to be successful and prosperous.”

Future plans 

Kato’s aim is to get his own piece of land in order to try his hand at other projects.

“With growth will come employment for more people especially the youth so that we tackle the unemployment problem, which has ravaged our society.”