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Boy from Mbarara taking over Mbale airwaves

Focused: Henrie Danson Arinaitwe had no clue where his steps would lead him when he got to Mbale Town. All he had was determination, and this is what got the 23-year old where he is now. He shared his story with OLIVIER TUDEN.

Tell me about yourself.
My name is Henrie Danson Arinaitwe. I am a 23-year-old from Mbarara District and I am the last born of three children.

How and when did you get into media business ?
I joined the media industry in my S.6 vacation. It was my first time in Mbale and I did not know any radio station. I asked a boda boda man to take me to the best radio station around Mbale Town, and he took me to Step FM. By the grace of God, I was lucky because on that same day, I was asked to make a demo. I was nervous but I gave it my all. They liked my demo and I joined Generation dot com, which aired on Sundays.

How long have you been in the media?
Four years now.

What would you say was your breakthrough moment?
One day Allan Mukibi aka Dr Allan who used to present The Big 20 Countdown, was not available and he asked me to sit in for him. I could not believe he believed in me that much. I swear I gave it my all and that is how I begun presenting prime shows. I was consistently asked to sit in for other shows until an opportunity came. Today I host Pillow Talk, The Big 20 countdown, Business Leelo, I do voice overs, among many other things.

Do you have any training?
Yes. I am at Livingstone International University Mbale, which has a state of the art Media Lab. I am also pursuing a Bachelors degree in Business Administration.

What challenges have you faced in this industry so far?
Being upcountry, keeping up with the rest of the media houses is sometimes hard. I aim for the best and I do not settle for less. Juggling school and work has been equally challenging.

What keeps you going?
I volunteer at a safari company, where I help with branding. I have learnt about tourism and how to professionally run my tour company, Danson Safaris, which is still in its initial stages.
I am also an MC. Most of the weekends I am booked for corporate functions, which helps put some change in my pocket. I am also a public speaker, so once in while I am invited to share my story and also inspire other people.

What do you think of TV and radio personalities in Uganda?
Honestly, the industry is evolving tremendously. You have to struggle to keep up and remain relevant. I applaud my colleagues for giving us reason to watch TV and listen to the radio.
The media is absolutely part of the nation’s growth and I think so far, so good. However, some of them need to honestly pull up.

Who do you look up to?
Dr Mitch. He was legendary on radio.

What makes you different from other presenters?
I am me. I do not copy any style. I try to be as natural as I can. I believe in originality.

Who are the people helping you in this journey?
My brother and mentor, Noel Nsubuga, who works with DFCU Bank. Being an orphan, Noel and his wife, Irene, gave me a home in Mbale. Also my family members who have been very supportive and of course my team at work.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be a legend in this industry. People will know my name, and by the grace of God, my safari company will be up and running.
Any achievements?
I have had an opportunity to meet different people and learn a great deal.

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