Top Ten Personalities that moved Uganda in 2016
Like a flash, 2016 flew past many African countries. But it was the year Uganda registered gigantic strides in almost every sector. It was, to many people, the proverbial year of change. Dreams that seemed farfetched were achieved. Mile stones the nation had been at the verge of achieving but failed for a long time were finally reached. The history that had for a long time seemed unalterable was rewritten. Yet there are individuals whose feats were the final screw to the nut that brought about the merrymaking when the landmarks were achieved. Individuals without whose bravado, artistry and resilience, the nation wouldn’t have entered 2017 with such hope. The men and women that have shone in their respective sectors to provide intense anticipation for the New Year (2017). And in as much as there are many, these 10 caused the biggest evolutional tremors Uganda has seen in a long time.
Celebrated fashion personality Brian Ahumuza takes the first spot because for a young man, he is the epic embodiment of the notion; hard work pays. He has achieved it all. Like Jamaican runner Usain Bolt, he sets standards and records that only he can reach. And just when people think he will fail, he disproves everyone by getting better at his craft every year. When starting the Abryanz Style and Fashion awards 4 years ago, self-proclaimed society critiques were quick to write him off, citing that they were personal awards that wouldn’t raise any dust. 3 years down the road, and the awards are raising more than dust. Their grandiosity has garnered respect from across the world. When KCCA ED Jennifer Musisi was giving a speech at the 2016 edition that was staged at Serena Hotel, she commended Ahumuza for selling Uganda and Kampala to the world. This after she encountered international celebrities in the audience. And hers wasn’t a bluff. The ceremony had gathered fashion zealots in different capacities from across the world. Notable among which were South African iconic fashion designer, David Tlale, performer and Nigerian musical artiste, Run Town, International hosts; Idris Sultan (former big brother winner,) Miss Vimbai, (a presenter of the Star Gift show at Africa Magic,) Nick Mutuma from Nairobi and Avril from Kenya.
The show is the biggest red carpet event East Africa has ever had. Yet that is not the only thing he has been doing with his life. Atop being the owner of the successful men’s clothing line, Abryanz Collection, he recently ventured into organizing high profile events. Events like the famous David Greenhalgh’s girlfriend birthday party, the recently concluded Williams Bugeme White and Gold Party among other highbrow parties were organized by him. He is also the first ambassador of international Vodka brand, Ciroc. Seasoned designer, Santa Anzo was up in praise for Ahumuza recently when she posted that “Ahumuza had set the bar so high and only him would self-duplicate” to imply that only him would break the records he had set in the entertainment industry.
- Farouq Miya
Uganda Cranes Football player Farooq Miya comes in second place because he offset what was starting to look like a curse cast to prevent the cranes from qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations. With his goal against Comoros, the Uganda Cranes qualified to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. And that birthed quite the ecstasy for many a Ugandan.
Even those who are not football fans were happy he had taken Uganda to the Africa Cup of Nations after a 38 year absence. Many will argue that the Uganda Cranes team as a whole should be accorded as much credit, but football fans will agree that it is the goal scorer who basks in the adulation of such a win.
- Madinah Nalwanga
The Ugandan story of Phiona Mutesi, the chess prodigy who changed her life was a beautiful one. Even better was that the movie about it, Queen of Katwe, was shot by American Film Producers; Walt Disney. But the story telling would have fallen short without a befitting actor.
And you would expect that in the presence of Oscar Winner, Lupita Nyongo and seasoned Nigerian actor, David Oyelowo, a young Madinah Nalwanga would do a shoddy job. But her acting was superb for a debutant. Movie reviews across the world commended the youngster for her job. Creative Loafting, an online entertainment magazine based in the US wrote that Nalwanga was the true star of the movie.
An article dubbed ‘Nalwanga Shines In Acting Debut’ reads in part; “Though Disney’s marketing relies on Nyong’o and Oyelowo’s popularity, Nalwanga is the true star of the film. Despite her inexperience — this marks her first acting role — she delivers a heartwrenching performance on par with Nyong’o and Oyelowo, an Oscar winner and a Golden Globe nominee, respectively. Nalwanga’s performance is stellar in its own right, but it probably helped that her childhood mirrors the real Phiona Mutesi’s: Nalwanga is also from the slums of Katwe and used to sell corn to help support her family.”
The movie also shone a spotlight on the talent that lies untapped as all the other actors were phenomenal albeit Nalwanga’s standing out. It also served as a lesson for Ugandan Film makers. But Madinah Nalwanga stays up there, with the big Hollywood stars.
- Sheeba Karungi
Sheeba Karungi is the posture child of the notion; from grass to grace. A reason when she got her breakthrough song, Ice Cream, it was only plausible that she hold a concert before she was flashed down the drain and into the deep pit of one-hit wonders. But she didn’t. Her manager Jeff Kiwa had more plans. He had sensed more hits up her sleeve. And when Nkwatako was leaked to the world in January (2016,) it was the sign that she was ripe for a concert. And you haven’t seen fanatics till you meet the Sheebaholics. Fans who live for her and would follow her to the grave. They filled every inch of the people’s square at Hotel Africana. For those who came to see a Sheeba performance, it was handed to them in an epic case. Her sassiness and energy and sexiness and oomph and fluid choreography were alive all through the concert. For those who had come to see her score on the vocal front, this wasn’t their show.
But for a first concert, she beat even the musical legends in terms of numbers. She proved, through this concert, that she deserved every award she got in 2016. Atop that, she got nominated in the MTV mama awards. Her video Kisasi Kimu made her the first Ugandan woman to ever receive a Mama Nomination. She was undoubtedly 2016’s biggest Ugandan musical artiste.
- Patrick Idringi alias Salvador
The Ugandan comedy industry has gained momentum over the past years. The market has amassed new consumers while new extremely talented comedians have joined the trade. This year in particular had the outburst of Mariachi who lifted an Mc Kapale comedy template and refurbished it and now rides on it, as the most popular comedian locally. Comedians like Optional Allan, Napoleone Emmah, Alex Muhangi, Bright Onak, Dolibondo Unstressor Babangida and Ken Van Muk, among others, have had a good year.
But they all harbor respect for Salvador. He is the undisputable king of comedy in Uganda. He has travelled and wowed audiences across the continent. He was once talked about by celebrated Kenyan Writer, Jackson Biko (of the famous Bikozulu blog) as the funniest man in Africa. And maybe he was right. Because Salvador got nominated in the World’s funniest Person Awards and he made it to the top 20. His show, Africa Laughs was also the most attended comedy show in the country.
- Michael Kiwanuka
Ugandan british-based soul artist Michael Kiwanuka‘s sophomore album Love & Hate (Polydor/Universal) debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums Top Chat, ahead of Adele’s (Adele Laurie Blue Adkins MBE a famous English singer-songwriter) 25 album.
Ugandans didn’t celebrate his glory because many were oblivious, but he was selling Ugandan talent to the world and lighting a candle for the Ugandan musicians.
- Patricia Akello
The only successful model Uganda has known for the past couple of years is Stacy Amito Lagum. But this year was different. Patricia Akello joined her at the same level. She walked for many big fashion run ways across the world, on top of walking for the very best of designers across the world.
After her breakthrough, she was signed with South Africa’s Fusion Model Management which helped her score multiple Glamour and Marie Claire eds, Exact campaign & much more. Now in New York with Muse Model Management, and also signed with MP Management/ Paris & M4 Models Management/ Germany, she is on her way to conquer the world of modeling!
8. Denis Onyango
A few days ago, a popular sports website ranked Uganda Cranes goal keeper Denis Onyango ahead of Arsenal goal keeper, Petr Cech. And as usual, the local premiership fans were up in arms, some bashing the goal keeper while others praising him. All forgetting that he has had a successful year in 2016.
On top of winning the Africa Champions League with southafrican side; Mamelodi sundowns, he got to participate in the World Club Championship. Onyango won the CAF Champions League, Telekom Cup Champion, ABSA Cup Champion, South Africa’s PSL goal keeper of the year and he is also among the nominees for the Africa Player of the year (based in Africa) Award.
- Eddy Kenzo
After reaching Eddy Kenzo’s heights, it is hard to stay there. The Sitya Loss song sky rocketed him to the BET at a time when he had no such grand plans.
He has, nonetheless, managed to keep his musical career afloat despite challenges at home. He has performed on MTV tours and filled stadiums across Africa.
- Bebe Cool
Bebe Cool was one of the big 3 artistes who, several years ago, cartelized the Ugandan musical market. The only competition was between him, Bobi Wine and Chameleone. But things have since changed.
His other counterparts are struggling to stay relevant musically. Yet he, on the other hand, has adopted the new trends and has kept his musical career afloat. So much that he was, once again, nominated at the MAMA MTV awards. And that is the only reason he is on this list.