DIE HARD FAN: Kleberson loves Bebe Cool and he has everything to show for it. Although by 2008 he was leading the singer’s fan base on social media, 2010 was the year that would test his loyalty. He had met Bebe and they struck a partnership. Five years down the road, he has driven the Gagamel brand and still stands 100 per cent Bebe Cool. Edgar R. Batte writes.
Briefly introduce yourself…
I am a 26-year-old graduate of Kyambogo University. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Community-Based Rehabilitation. Ever since I graduated in 2011, I have wanted to work with Bebe Cool and his Gagamel Phamily.
How did you start working with Bebe Cool?
Even before I started working with Bebe Cool, I was his big time fan. I had not yet come to Kampala and I was living in my home town, Lyantonde. When I joined Kyambogo University in 2008, I started posting his photos on Facebook. I did this for a year, every day. Around 2009, I joined the Gagamel Phamily. Still, I had not met Bebe Cool in person but he knew me via Facebook because he would like my posts.
One day in early 2010, he called me and told me how grateful he was with what I was doing for him on Facebook. He gave me an appointment, we met and it was and then that we started working together.
What did you like about Bebe Cool?
Around 2001, he came to Lyantonde with Jose Chameleone and they performed at one of the football pitches. It was my first time to see him. He performed his song, King of the Jungle, which I like so much. I also like his personality. He was smart with his spiked dreads. His music sounded urban. From that day, I became a staunch and ardent Bebe Cool fan.
I used to escape from School at St. Gonzaga Senior Secondary School, Lyantonde and come to Kampala to attend shows where he was set to perform. I did that with my close childhood buddy, Blaza K (Kakooza). We came to Kampala several times.
When did you first meet Bebe Cool physically?
I first met Bebe Cool in 2004 at Club Silk. I approached him and told him how I was his number one fan. He was so cool. I felt so happy that day.
What else did you talk about?
Nothing else, I just told him I was a big fan and then I left.
How did your relationship grow?
Ever since we started working together, our relationship has grown. He appreciates the fact that I am hardworking and trustworthy.
How do you work together?
I run his social media promotions and I am his cameraman.
How have you benefitted from this relationship?
I have benefited a lot. Bebe Cool has helped me meet many ‘big’ people. I have travelled to many places in Uganda and outside the country. He pays me well and I am able to take care of my family and I bought a car from my earnings.
What businesses do you run?
I print Bebe Cool and Gagamel Phamily T-shirts.
How did you come up with this idea?
I started with one t-shirt for myself, with the words 100% Bebe Cool, Strictly Bebe Cool on the back and Gagamel Phamily on the front. Bebe Cool fans liked it so much and I started getting orders.
How much have you invested in the business?
More than Shs5m.
Please break that down for us…
Shs2m went into the heat-press machine, around Shs1.5m for the screens and around Shs1.5m for the plain t-shirts and colours.
How long did you save this money?
Over a period of one year.
How much were you saving and in what period?
I would save every penny I had left after the expenses.
Were all the savings from the t-shirt sales?
Yes. They were from my t-shirts, and also from my pool table business.
When did you buy the pool table?
It was in 2008 when I had just joined campus at Kyambogo University. It was in 2008.
How did you buy the pool table?
My sister Ereth Nakaggwa gave me Shs1m and I topped up Shs500,000 which I got from my brother Mandy Rukundo.
Why did you think of a pool table?
I enjoy playing pool. I have played for top teams in the Uganda National Pool League. I have played for Indigo Pool Club and Perfection Pool Club. I am currently playing for Boat Pool Club based on Kampala Road. It all came from my love for the game.
How do you manage your finances?
I manage them with my partner. I save in the bank and for any serious financial decisions, I consult my partner.
Are you married?
I am not yet officially married but I stay with my partner, Rosette. We have a child together, Smith Katabaazi Gagamel.
What have you achieved since you started working with Bebe Cool?
I have bought a plot of land, a car, and he also pays school fees for my child. I have made new friends and connections. To sum it up, he has made me who I am and my family and I earn a living from him.
How much did you buy the piece of land and car?
It is 50 by 100 feet located in Nsangi, and I am still paying for it. I bought the car at Shs12m after saving for two years.
Did you need the car?
Yes. I move a lot, especially at night; I make sure that I am present at any show that Bebe Cool is performing at.
What kind of family do you come from?
I come from a family of nine children; six girls and three boys. My mother is the late Nnalongo Nampijja and my dad is the late George William Katabaazi.
How was life growing up?
It was easy at first, but in 2000 when I lost my father, things became hard. My sisters and brothers took care of me.
What message do you have for Bebe Cool?
Bebe Cool is hardworking and he believes in hard work and perfection. I thank him for accepting me and inspiring me. I love him so much and I am proud to be working for him.
What is your advice to the youth?
Work hard and never give up on your dreams.
What Bebe Cool says
Kleberson and I met about four years ago. He did not come to me when we met, but I identified him as someone who was very hardworking. He had a different way of doing things.
Gagamel existed but it was not organised, so I called a meeting and he was one of the people that turned up. We decided to subdivide roles and he took over my social media. He was still in school but he dedicated much of his time to promoting Bebe Cool. You would think that he was doing all this for me to recognise him. He misses out no hour in posting about me, and he will look out for every chance to promote me, searching for websites where he can ‘sell’ me.
He has sent my music to websites and radios all over the world and I am one person who does not believe in benefitting alone. I do not share money I am paid for concerts because it is not enough for me.
When I called on all the Gagamel Phamily and tasked them to find something sustainable to do, Klaberson identified T-shirt branding. I made it official that he was in charge of making my t-shirts. He is one of a kind because he has been able to buy a car, a plot of land and fend for his family. I must say he is a major engine in the runnings of Gagamel International.