Prudence Ukkonika is a living lesson of what one can achieve when they combine a strong will with a spirit of self-reliance. A firm believer in working for everything in life
Prudence Ukkonika is a living lesson of what one can achieve when they combine a strong will with a spirit of self-reliance. A firm believer in working for everything in life, this tenacious woman has almost single-handedly steered a wine business that her late son conceived 11 years ago from selling one bottle in a supermarket in months to Bella Wine — now a quality household brand and multimillion business. She spoke to FATUMAH NALWANGA and MICHAEL KANABI about how she has done it.
UNLIKELY BEGINNINGS FROM A TRAGEDY
For a woman who is running a wine business with revenue close to half a billion shillings, it is almost shocking that Prudence Kasibante Ukkonika never set out to make wine. “Wine was the last thing on my mind.
I never saw myself as a wine maker,” she says solemnly, as she slouches back in a chair at K-Roma’s head offices on Moil building next to Wandegeya Police station.
K-Roma Ltd, founded by Ukkonika, is the company that manufactures, Bella Wine, undoubtedly their flagship brand. The company manufactures, distributes and packages wines and juices.
Ukkonika’s statement in itself is an irony considering she grew up in a home where the father, the late Ludovic Kasibante, was not just a well-known wine trader, but the first licensed distiller of local waragi and a first owner of a powerful bar in Nyarushanje village, Rukungiri district.
Yet, it was not until decades later — December 2000, at a graduation ceremony of the daughter of Hon.Omara Atubo, her brother in-law, that the thought of making local wine surfaced in her family.
“At that function, my son, the late Godwin Onika, who was then 19 years old and a student at university, picked interest in the local wine. A farmer had brought the wine to the ceremony and every body who tasted it just liked it,” she says.
More details in July 27th epaper...
The death of my son birthed Bella Wine