Celebrities are normal people; they hurt, they laugh, they sleep and make friends. Most times when you are in the same business, it will be strictly business and when you go back home you will probably connect with your childhood friends. But there are times when you will meet the people who will always have your back in the same business. Isaac Ssejjombwe writes of celebrities who have found and established strong friendships in this industry.
Hellen Lukoma and Leila Kayondo
This is probably one of the known celeb friendships in our town. These two are always together, taking photos together, do the same businesses, and hang out at the same places together. We are not sure if they plan to start singing together. Leila and Hellen have been friends for five years now.
Hellen Lukoma: You would expect this girl to be best friends with Brenda Nambi, the person she was singing with in the days of HB Toxic, but Lukoma only refers to Brenda as her working partner.
Leila and her have a lot in common; music, fashion, smiling, and the support she has offered her all the time. “When I started my shop, she often bought my stuff and got me clients, and I returned the same support when she started her boutique. Leila is a beautiful soul, quite decent, friendly, she is forgiving and understanding.”
Leila Kayondo: “Hellen and I share the same things, we want the same things like music and fashion, we love hanging out together. We basically clicked when we met.”
She also says Hellen understands her, knows when she is happy, not in a good mood and knows when to give her space. She adds that however much they disagree week in week out, they always make up because of the respect and love they have for each other.
The two have a song together titled Binyuma and even if it has been widely criticised, the two are satisfied that out of their friendship came a project they love.
Vanquisha Eyapu and Joram Muzira
Vanquisha Eyapu is a model while Joram is a model scout and manager, so it is no coincidence that their friendship began from one of the rehearsals for a fashion show.
Eyapu: “We met in 2012 during rehearsals for Sylvia Owori’s ‘Forever Love fashion show’ and we just clicked,” Vanquisha says, adding that Joram is now more than a friend but a brother and anything beyond friendship would become incest.
She says Joram is a go getter but if you put the diva in him aside, he is the sweetest person because he will put her problems before his… all the time.
There are things that best friends do to prove their loyalty to each other but Joram goes overboard, by letting Eyapu spend his money the way she wants.
What draws them to each other? “We are both loud, crazy and just stand out from the crowd, but most importantly don’t fake it”.
Joram Muzira: “I met Vanquisha in 2012 after begging her to walk for me at one of my shows while I still worked at Design Agenda as the PR and Events manager,”
He also adds that the model agreed to do one of his fashion shows at no cost, which sealed off the start of their best friendship. Being loyal people, loving to stand out and being ‘bad’ sometimes is what they have in common.
Alex Muhangi and Salvado Idringi
They are both comedians and have been on the same stage. They started out their careers in the Krackers comedy group which later disbanded into two different groups. They separated but their friendship remains intact.
Muhangi says he met Salvado in 2009 at Stand Up Uganda and have been friends since then. He says he likes the self-proclaimed ‘man from Ombokoro’ because he is real and helped his career. “Salvado has helped me both in content creation and organising events.” Besides being a good friend, Alex says his best friend is a great adviser, who won’t keep quiet when I am going astray.
Salvado: According to Salvado, a best friend is a person who understands you, lets you know when you are at fault but is willing to defend you, they will congratulate you when you excel and Alex is that kind of person. He adds that they laugh, fight, joke, quarrel but at the end of the day, they stay true to each other. Salvado says Alex is the most honest person he knows.
Asked one memorable thing about their friendship, Salvado says Alex hosted his first ever one man show. Not that many couldn’t, but because he trusted him.
Brian Ahumumuza (Abryanz) and Kim Swagga
They are both in the fashion industry. Both are stylists who have influenced the fashion sense of many celebrities and Brian Ahumuza better known as Abryanz is the brain behin the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards.
“Kim and I have a great style and obsession for anything that is fashion. I cannot put a time frame on our friendship because it goes way back,” Abryanz says of Kim Swagga before adding that their loyalty to each other is what has kept the friendship strong despite the ups and downs they go through.
Asked what unforgettable thing Kim has done for him, Abryanz says they have both been through a lot and to list them might fill this page.
Kim Swagga: When we became friends. It was in 2010. “Brian has smiled and cried with me since we met. He is more than a friend, actually, I call him my twin,” he says.
Kim recalls a time they shared a house and they had to pay the rent in turns but there came a time came when he had no money yet it was his turn to pay the rent. “Brian bailed me out for some good months”.
How often they communicate? “We sometimes get so busy and don’t see each other often like we used to when we lived together and in such cases we will talk almost 50 times a week on phone.”
Mckenzie and Calvin Da Entertainer
Brian Mckenzie is a radio presenter at Radio City while Calvin Da Entertainer does his thing on UBC TV. Surprisingly, their friendship dates six years back. You might think it goes beyond that from the way the two complement each other. In fact, Mckenzie was Calvin’s best man at his wedding.
Mckenzie: The Radiocity presenter says he does not have many friends but it was easy to call Calvin his best friend because he has been there for him in all situations for the past couple of years. “He has never tried to stab me in the back and our disagreements have always ended in agreements,” Mckenzie says.
Asked what he likes about the UBC presenter, Mckenzie says Calvin is real; he is very grounded and knows how to control himself at all times, he is hilarious and a very good listener.
How do they manage to find guy time, considering Calvin is a married man while Mckenzie is single? Well, Calvin says he often invites his friend over to his home for a good home cooked meal.
Mckenzie confesses that Calvin once literally saved his life when he found him lying on his bed with the worst malaria fever. “I had no money and he took care of me. The doctors said I was very lucky because if I had spent any more time in bed, I would have died. So yes, Calvin is the reason I am still breathing right now”.
Besides sharing a love for entertainment, the two say they both love their families and life away from showbiz.
Calvin says they have been friends for seven years and what has kept their friendship going is the realness and always being there for each other. “Mckenzie is value addition to my life, he is very honest and has a big heart.”
The most memorable moment of their time as friends is when Mckenzie bailed him out when his place caught fire and he lost all his property.
Richard Tuwangye and Hannington Bugingo (Bujju)
The two are also comedians at Fun Factory, a group they both have shares in.
According to Tuwangye, Bugingo and him met at Makerere University School of Performing Arts in 2001 and since then, his friend is a reliable and straight forward person. The comedian believes that God creates people that someone will automatically connect with.
Richard says as elders in Fun Factory, there will always be some work-related arguments, but for them, making up will happen automatically.
The one thing he hates about his partner and friend is his temper. “I wish he could tame his temper. He sparks off so fast. He can pick a fight with a traffic officer even when he is the one in wrong.”
Bujju: “When we met, we did not first connect because he was an evening student but when we became friends, everything else came into play”. He says one thing he likes about Richard is that he is a good listener, while he is the opposite.
Richard was Bujju’s best man at his wedding seven years ago and the roles were reversed recently. Bujju adds that their strong friendship has rubbed onto their wives and now they are best friends too.
Their friendship stretches to the stage as Richard on several occasions runs to his friend’s aid by coming up with improvised lines on stage in case they hit a snag.
What Bujju hates about Richard is his slowness. “Because he is a good listener, he also takes time to act on stuff you agree on. A few weeks ago we agreed that he calls some guy who has been airing our stuff without a contract but he didn’t call.” The two say they always try to resolve their differences immediately every time they arise.