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‘Lost’ celebrities: Where are they now? 

By Admin

Added 23rd October 2019 12:36 AM

Maybe we really did not ignore them. Maybe the public spotlight simply shifted it's lenses to some more interesting things, or other people. Whatever happened, these people somehow remained part of our consciousness.

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Maybe we really did not ignore them. Maybe the public spotlight simply shifted it's lenses to some more interesting things, or other people. Whatever happened, these people somehow remained part of our consciousness.

(L-R) Sweet Kid, Chance Nalubega, Ragga D and Emperor Orlando. File Photos

There are people that so hogged the limelight, it was hard to imagine public life without them.

For the right or wrong reasons, these individuals became such a key component of our waking lives. We talked about them. Loved them. Hated them. Listened to them. Dismissed them, but never ignored them. Until we did.

Maybe we really did not ignore them. Maybe the public spotlight simply shifted it's lenses to some more interesting things, or other people. Whatever happened, these people somehow remained part of our consciousness.

There is no doubt that the last two odd decades produced some very interesting public figures - people whose lives seemed to thrive on there public image. So, who are some of Kampala’s faded public stars? Most importantly, where have they gone?

Alex Munyantos Ndawula: He was the star of private FM stations in Uganda, swept in by the early 90s liberalisation of the airwaves that ushered in the Capital FMs and Sanyu Radios of this city. This Namasagali College product fed us off his loud, controversial, sometimes abrasive style. We loved his Breakfast Show, but it was the Saturday Night Dance Force that seemed to bring the best out of him. Ndawula was the face, NO, the voice of FM radios. We might have had several images/sounds of DJ Alex’s life in the limelight, but a few will stick with us: His gap-toothed grin, his grey-haired dreadlocks and of course Dddaaaa ddaaaa Ddaannce Force.

 Alex Ndawula was a radio star. File Photo

Roland Kakooza Mutale: The year 2001 brought with it so much. Aside from the presidential elections and the realisation that the world would not end as had been earlier projected, it also brought Kalangala Action Plan, a militarised group of young men led by the presidential advisor on political affairs Roland Kakooza Mutale. Mutale was a feared man.

 

Wherever he passed people seemed to turn there heads. He once waltzed into Centenary Bank on Entebbe Road. How people momentarily abandoned there business to look at him! How whispers swept through the banking hall as he made his way through the lines.  He may have been loathed for his fiery temper and outspoken character, but he was also loved - especially by the media - for his interesting physique and oversized circle rimmed glasses that made interesting newspaper caricatures.

 Mutale was the leader of Kalangala Action Plan, a militarised group of young men. File Photo

Ngoma Ngime made news through the 2000s. From the newspapers to radio, this man’s name was on every major media house’s news agenda.  They loved, not just the interesting sound of his name but also the political drama that this Movement blue-eyed boy stirred up. Ngoma Ngime first shot to fame as Mbarara district Resident District Commissioner (RDC) in 2000/2001.

 

He became even more famous following his nomination to contest the Mbarara municipality seat on the NRM ticket. This meek-looking gentleman stole the headlines when he boasted, just after his nomination that:  "My victory is in no doubt. I expect a 95% victory."

He painted Mbarara streets yellow with his long high-powered convoys, buoyed by support from NRM bigwigs and seemingly unperturbed by concerns among some locals about his Kigulu-Iganga roots.

 

But it was his battle with the favourite contender in that race - Winnie Byanyima - his subsequent defeat by her and the ensuing court battles that spurred Ngime further into the limelight. No one knows how Ngoma Ngime faded out of the limelight, but he did - so much that in a Nakawa taxi recently, no one seemed to even notice his presence.

 Ngime made news through the 2000s. File Photo

Chance Nalubega. She came on to the public stage by chance. That is probably why she did not stay that long. But others might beg to differ. Her fans say she took a break. Her admirers argue that she is still on the scene. How could she be of the scene and still have five albums to her name? They ask.

Perhaps Chance Nalubega is performing underground? We do not know because the Chance Nalubega of the 90s and early to mid-2000s was vocal and everywhere - in gossip columns on some people’s lips and in live performances for local musicians, otherwise called “Ebiggunda”. Save for a brief appearance at the 2017 Bayimba Arts Festival in Kampala the artist, famed for songs like Abennugu, Omusheshe, and Abalungi Balumya, is all but forgotten.

Winnie Munyenga. She not only won hearts for her music hits like Superman and Saasira, but she was also fodder for the tabloid press in the early 2000s. Winnie Munyenga was than taken so seriously as a musician some commenters regarded her as one of the progressive artists.

The tabloids loved her legs better and whenever they had a chance always took a chance to stage there cameras just below the podium to capture some raunchy pictures. But Munyenga never survived the hot embers of Uganda’s music industry.

Hyuha Mukwanason. One of Makerere University’s most eloquent Academic Registrars, no doubt. He also was one of the most controversial. The 90s at Makerere were as much about student strikes as they were about this rotund often Kaunda suit-clad man.

The students at the time will remember the phrase ‘Mukwanason disco’ for the fever that used to grip campus towards university exams, but the general public might recall the tough administrator’s woes grappling abuse of office allegations that kept him in the media through the late 90s and early 2000s.

Hope Mukasa: This legendary musician and businessman was one of the darlings of the media, quick to comment about social and musical issues and always available for interviews, even on the phone. But also as the proprietor of Sabrina’s Pub, one of the most popular entertainment spots in town, Mukasa was always in the news as an events organiser, musician or just a cool friendly guy. Since the ill-fated boat accident last year, we have not heard much from him.

 Mukasa was a media darling. File Photo

Sweet Kid: Sweet Kid had a kid’s voice, a teenager’s size, queen dancers twice his age and probably the shortest career of a contemporary Kampala musician. While he crooned Mama Brenda and other songs, the public followed as did the press, but all that went down with his decline.

Princess Kabakumba Masiko, the once powerful minister of the presidency,  than minister of parliamentary affairs and government chip whip than minister for information and national guidance, than minister for Kampala City Council Authority. The slow, princessy-speaking minister was well known to the public not just for her politics but also for controversial land deals and misplaced national broadcaster masts. She has remained silent and absent from the public gaze that she once so thrived under.

 Princess Masiko was the once a powerful minister of the presidency

Ragga D: This man stole all the shows there were to be stolen, if his one-liner - “Ragga Dee Abye show” was anything to go by. But the sometimes dreadlocked star of the ‘empeta’ fame has not been able to sustain his public appeal; there was a sojourn in politics that did not go well. That is probably the last we heard of this Kazibwe guy.

Emperor Orlando: The emperor that never reigned? Probably true. He was a promising artiste, who seemed to do better with collaborations, but Emperor Orlando, who tried his hands as a radio DJ, had his fame fade so fast we did not get the chance to find what he was best at.

 

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