BY HUSSEIN KIGANDA
The entertainment conveyor belt in Mbarara follows a similar pattern. When one gets a hit song or becomes an overnight celebrity, they board the next bus to Kampala to compete with the city stars. Some have measured up, others have fizzled into oblivion. From Allan Toniks, Lady Mariam (Tindatiine), Latinum and lately Ray G; the list only grows.
One person though has chosen to hold the fort. As a result, he is heralded as the golden boy of the microphone in western Uganda. He is MC Kacheche (Swalleh Kacheche). He is such a household name; the feeling is that hype men from Kampala are no longer needed.
Kacheche is quietly stubborn, with tonnes of wit. He has used it to his advantage. Little wonder most of his fans are the women. He has always been a chick magnet and says it started when he was still in school.
Being a celebrity at school and being pulled by the beats in nightclubs, Kacheche says, “I won the Mr. Nganwa challenge and went to club with my friends to jubilate and I missed an exam the following day. I was expelled for that.”
The seeds of showbiz had been sown. Even when he crossed over to Basajjabalaba Secondary School, his stardom came back to haunt him. He had the aura of cool around him and he talked a lot. He was popular. This handed him roles like entertainment prefect. This thrust him further and he became head boy of the school.
With power and a ‘running mouth’, Kacheche became so indispensable; he looked at some teachers as peers. This was so much so that at Basajjabalaba SS, he clashed with a teacher over the affections of one of the most beautiful girls on the school campus. There was only one winner in this battle of affection
“At Basajjabala, I was dating a girl who was also being wooed by a teacher. When the teacher got to know that we wanted the same girl, he reported me to the administration and I was expelled for coupling.”
Perhaps this is why he happens to have gone to several schools.
He credits early exposure by his father (Ibrahim Kacheche), a truck driver, to what he later became.
“As a young boy, I always moved around with him in different places in the country. We ended up at many entertainment centres. I loved the way emcees held crowds spellbound. I quietly vowed to do it,” he recalls.
With a chequered education, he tried to branch straight to entertainment, but upon the prodding of his mother, Amina Bazizane, he managed to sit his A’level exams. He was admitted at Makerere University Business School (MUBS), where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
He laughs at moments at some schools.
“I remember when my dad got to know that I was this music fan and used to go to club. He gathered all us at home, pulled out wads of cash and asked who of us was tired of school, so he’d give us our fees to eat. I almost raised my hand, but a harsh look from my mother stopped me.”
When emceeing opened opportunities
Kacheche’s Senior Six vacation bore fruit. He started emceeing. When he joined university, his career grew. Friends tipped him about opportunities.
“While at MUBS, a friend told me about a company called EXP which wanted emcees to partner with Coke Studio and I applied. Out of 60 applicants, I managed to be one of the best five and so I got the chance to be one of the emcees of the project,” he says.
It was at the Coke Studio project that he was spotted by famous emcee Douglas Lwanga.
“I became his contact person in Mbarara,” he beams.
Kacheche was later to become the official MC during Lwanga’s Purple parties.
While Kacheche’s emceeing career grew bigger, media was taking a keen look at him. As his social media handles grew, he became an influencer of sorts. With it came opportunity.
He was hired at a certain radio station in Mbarara to handle social media and from this, he ended up becoming a radio presenter with Crooze FM.
Now fully entrenched in the entertainment circuit, he added managing artistes to his docket. He managed dancehall star Latinum.
“I decided to manage artistes and I started with Latinum. Douglas Lwanga warned me against managing artistes but I felt I had to help artistes from this area rise, so I continued to manage Latinum. In the end, things did not go well with him when he became a star, so I gave up,” he says.
Back to basics
After failing with managing artistes, Kacheche decided to start his own events company, which he managed well until he joined the music fray.
“I was popular, but some people did not know my face. I decided to sing songs. I recorded an album called Mbarara Boy and its first release was Winner with Ray G and many more are coming after the lockdown. I wanted to be the first emcee to appear in videos just like deejays do.”
Kacheche says although there are many challenges in the business, he has managed to achieve much. He says he doesn’t regret joining the industry because it made him a star.
However, he regrets having studied a course that he does not practice right now. He feels he should have gone for a course similar to his talent.
“I regret studying things I am not practising now. I did business administration yet I am an emcee and singer. How I wish I had started anything else that is similar to this. But anyway, at least I studied,” Kacheche laments.
For his education, he recalls Eddy Kenzo’s advice about going to school.
“In my S6 vac, I happened to met Kenzo. He advised me to go back to school if I still had the chance because he regrets not having studied since it had limited him from winning some international gigs. So I listened to him and here I am with a bachelor’s degree.”
Kacheche says he is not part of the Uganda Musicians Association because he doesn’t find it organised, so he chose to distance himself from the association until it gets organised.
For all his plaudits, he is not married and says he is very private.He is cryptic on the subject.
“The public should know that I love and I am loved.. When I officially marry, I will tell you all,” he says.
Kacheche sees himself as a businessman five years from now. “I have shared the fame and got some money. Next, I want to put my degree to use by becoming an accomplished business person,” he concludes.