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Sunday,October 25,2020 02:27 AM

Kids meet Mr. Ras

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th July 2007 03:00 AM

SIX children — Isabella Magina P.6.S and Ian Byanyima P.7.N from City Parents’ School, Edith Naginda P. 6. Y and Emmanuel Awori P.6 Y from GreenHill Academy, Solome Nantayiro and Krishna Shukla Mukesh from Kampala Parents’ School interviewed The New Vision’s cartoonist Charles Onen aka Ras about his work.

Emmanuel Awori: When did you start drawing cartoons?
I believe art and wit flow in my blood. Even before joining Primary One I used to draw cartoons. My mother bought me my first crayons and since then, I have never looked back.

Isabella Magina: Where do you get the ideas from?
I look at the stories in the newspaper and I draw a cartoon about one of them. I choose one which can make people laugh.

Krishna Shukla Mukesh: Ras, I wonder how you get those crazy ideas. Did God give you an extra brain in that head of yours?
You know whatever we have is from God. He gave me this extra gift and I thank Him everyday. I go to Church every Sunday to thank Him. I am a God-fearing person. Krishna even that watch you are wearing is from God.

Krishna: What did you study at university?
I studied Fine Art at university and it was not by mistake. It was what I applied for as my first choice. My dream had always been to draw cartoons for Uganda’s leading newspaper right from primary level.

Krishna: What would you be doing if you had not become a cartoonist?
I would be an actor. I used to be a big time comedian and clown. My second choice at university was Music, Dance and Drama.

Krishna: How would you feel if someone drew a cartoon of you?
I do not think I would be offended in anyway. I believe in people having the freedom to express themselves.

Solome Nantayiro: What was your first cartoon about?
I was in my Senior Six vacation when I drew my first cartoon. It was about Francis Babu. When I submitted it to the editor, he loved it and that is how I began my journey.

Krishna: Have you ever been threatened not to draw any cartoon about any politicians?
I take orders only from my editors. Once I have their word, I am free to draw what they want me to draw. However, when I draw a cartoon, I never bow down to external pressure. But as a cartoonist, I make sure there is always an ‘escape route’ in every sensitive cartoon – I mean another way to interpret a cartoon in a safer way other than the negative interpretation.

Isabella: How are you preparing for CHOGM?
As roads are being widened, hotels being constructed, I am also sharpening my pencils and seriously practicing how to draw the Queen’s head. I will surely have a feast on that!

Ian Byanyima: Where did you get the name ‘Ras’ from?

Turn to Page IV
From Page 1

Ras was a nickname given to me by my friends while still at Kibuli Secondary School.

Krishna: Are you grooming someone to replace you when you leave The New Vision?
I assist whoever is interested in drawing cartoons. My colleagues at work bring their children for me for training. Many people too come for consultations; I make sure I give them the best I can, I am not a selfish person. I get so amused when aspiring cartoonists come to me with applications letters, in art you do not write applications, you bring samples of your work.

Krishna: I have noticed that you are always against the Government. Which political party do you belong to?
I have never been against the Government. I simply point out what is not proper and it is the practice of every cartoonist in the world. As far as a political party is concerned, I cannot mention it if at all I have any, I must be very neutral.

Solome: How do you deal with people who get offended by your cartoons?
I have never been directly confronted by someone who was offended by my cartoon. As I mentioned earlier, I always leave room for my own interpretation of every cartoon. But much as there are people who get offended, there are also those who call me begging to appear in my cartoons.

Krishna: Can you do me a favour Mr Ras and cartoon me also? Please
I will do it one day, maybe when you become a politician, or you are the best student in the country.

Emmanuel Awori: Do people take you seriously?
I am generally a funny guy. I joke a lot. In the office I crack jokes with almost everyone and they do not get offended. However, there are some of my friends who no longer take me seriously. Recently I had a problem at home and I called my friends, but they just burst out and laughed instead of coming to my rescue. I meet my friends every evening at Bugolobi. As I take a seat without saying a word, all my friends are already laughing because they know I have a hot story for them.

Byanyima: What do you intend to do when you leave The New Vision?
When I leave The New Vision, I will start my own cartoon magazine, something like “Ras Unedited” and it will make an interesting read.

Emmanuel: Will you manage the magazine alone?
No, I will definitely have to work hand in hand with some people. I cannot do everything alone.

Edith Naginda: Are you
married?
I am not officially married, but I will be soon. I will invite all of you who are present here.

Krishna: Ras we are a bit disappointed. We expected to find some dirty old man dressed in an overall.
That is not the first time I am hearing that comment. I am not really the character portrayed in my cartoons. Some people think I am that weird crazy personality seen in my cartoons, but you have seen for yourselves.

Naginda: Suppose an American paper offered you a job to draw for them, would you leave The New Vision?
I would consider so many things before making a decision, but if all is well, why miss the chance?

Edith: How do you draw your cartoons?
I use an ivory board to sketch, pencils, pens and brush. In fact most of my cartoon drawing involves painting.

Kids meet Mr. Ras

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