Hadn’t been back to Kampala, Uganda since 2015. In those two years a lot has happened in my life and career, for one I am no longer producing or hosting a TV show in Nairobi on Sundays so I can be away on the weekends. I am so happy that now I give myself permission to travel any time I want and I can work from wherever I please. But freedom comes with responsibility and purpose, and based on that I’ve chosen to travel around East Africa for the next two months in a quest to solidify my contacts and re-connect with key contacts and friends/family from the region.
My past tales from Uganda: To Uganda and Back: of Butts, Matoke and Music
Well, I started with Kampala because my cousin who lives in Uganda, Kev recently got married to the most lovely Ugandan lady (Dee), so now I kind of have a home in Kampala too. I also off to join my client – top Nigerian singer Seyi Shay (I am handling her PR and bookings in East Africa). First order of business in Kampala, we will be attending Blankets & Wine – Kampala (B&W KLA) where Seyi is headlining.
From the set off in Nairobi, there is a lot of entertainment awaiting me. There is a middle-aged man in the flight who won’t shut his mouth. It’s always the crazy man or a crying baby in the plane. It’s about 4 a.m. when he starts yelling and telling loud incoherent tales to all through to 5 a.m. when the plane departs. I sleep through like a good baby only to wake up at descent to only find the drunkard man still talking loud.
It’s the first time I am arriving in Entebbe, Uganda in daylight. The view of Lake Victoria, olden architectural classic buildings and a thousand hills along the 40-minute drive to Kampala amazing! All of a sudden, I feel the reason why Uganda is popularly referred to as ‘the Pearl of Africa’. I check into Kampala Sheraton Hotel, which also serves you the best view of Kampala.
It’s Seyi’s debut major gig in East Africa and my first time at B&W KLA and she absolutely kills it together with her live band: DYNAMITE. Sound check and the show itself is perfection! Let’s talk about how Ugandans dress up for Blankets! Weeeh! The girls come to slay 20 times more. I don’t know if it was the liqueur that tainted my vision but I saw 70% of the ladies dressed in such skimpy outfits – and interestingly they all looked so amazing and sexy, not trashy at all. Ugandan men you’ve got problems …
After the B&W work, I decide to extend my stay to meet the team at Abryanz Style & Fashion Awards, as my company Anyiko PR is this year handling PR for the prestigious award ceremony. Getting to have an office where I can work from is amazing because I get to wake up and go to work like any normal Ugandan. Throughout the week we accomplish wonderful proposals, meeting with sponsors and I even manage to conduct my personal and debut media tour in Kampala. You know – just giving a few branding and PR Lessons, sharing on my journey and talking all things Abryanz Style & Fashion Awards.
On the first day I order for local breakfast and the ladies from a nearby restaurant bring me a Ugandan specialty – Katogo. This is a mixture of Matoke, Meat and Potatoes and can mysteriously be a different mixture of things every day. On another day Katogo comes with a mixture of Matoke, Beans and Sukuma. I finally discover where Ugandan ladies get those butts! Come on you can’t be eating this every day for breakfast, and then still have lunch. Ugandans do!
Another meal that completely stole my heart and appetite is Luwombo. This is traditionally made Chicken, Beef or Fish in groundnuts that they call ‘G-nuts’. Here, again the food is all cooked up in a mixture tied up in banana leaves and steamed over Matoke. This meal is so fulfilling that I never want to have it again after Day 1. That’s when you know you’ve had it good.
The other thing I find so fascinating is how much good Ugandan music is playing on their radio, irrespective of the fact that local artistes complain that they don’t get enough airplay on their own radios – lol! They should come to Kenya. It’s a breath of fresh air to discover that my girl Sheebah who makes her debut on Coke Studio Africa this year is UG’s top artiste at the moment 🙂
I discover so many dope and new Ugandan artistes I didn’t know before my trip. They include Latinum, Big Trill, B2C and David Lutalo – who is the biggest artist in the streets (I am told). This is the irony of East African music. We are so close to each other yet know so little of one another. As I continue to discover shifting dynamics in East Africa’s entertainment scene, in the next few days I am out to converse more with industry people and of course – eat some more traditional food!
Here’s Part 1 of my VLog from my Kampala Tales:
Look out for Part 2 of this blog post: Tales from Kampala: Roadside Chicken and Why UG Music is Popping – coming soon!