TEEN’S FAVE: He is a two-time Buzz Teeniez winner and for Crysto Panda, it took lots of patience and dedication to get here. Isaac Ssejjombwe caught up with the T-Nation star.What is your real name? Why Crysto Panda on TV?
I am Herbert Kityamuweesi and Crysto stands for ‘chances are yet supposed to be opened so take heart’ while Panda was inspired by the song Panda by Desiigner. It is one of my favorite songs.
Tell us about your TV journey.
I started as a school quiz host on WBS TV in 2014. It is from there that I joined T-Nation on NTV, where I worked on probation for almost a year. I was officially named host in April 2016.
Who is Crysto Panda?
I am the first born child of my mother and second for my father. Unfortunaltely both my parents passed away. I went to St Jude Primary School, Najjanankumbi, St Monica SS for O-Level and St John’s SS, Masaka for A-Level.
I am currently pursuing a diploma in journalism at Datamine Technical Business School. I pay my own tuition as well as cater for my three brothers.
How old are you?
About my age, I prefer people finding out rather than me telling them because not everyone will be pleased with how old I am because of my success. But I am not a teen.
Why TV for starters?
TV is a passion and self belief. I did not join TV to become a star. Not many people can be on probation for a year without payment.
You were in the race for The Beat host job. Weren’t Douglas Lwanga’s shoes big to fill?
I faced the same challenge when I took over from Sheilah Gashumba on T- Nation. Many presenters had failed to fill her void. I was never bothered being compared to Sheilah and now I am winning Buzz Teeniez Awards (Teens favourite TV presenter 2017 and 2018). I cannot compare myself to Douglas Lwanga, in fact I look up to him and I see him as a legend. I do things my way and I believe what makes a presenter unique is his style.
What strategy did you use to disprove people on T-Nation?
The only strategy was minding my business, doing my thing and letting people get used to me. Many dissed me during the first shows but it was just a matter of time before they kept quiet.
How does it feel to win the Buzz award two years in a row?
It is the best feeling ever. A feeling a hard working, young man like me would wish for.
Why do you think you won?
Because I am a people TV presenter not a just TV show presenter. I am always with my people, who others call fans. They have trust in me, they love me and can do anything for me. You can witness that through the posts on my social media accounts.
How did you feel when you were asked to sit in as presenter of The Beat?
I was a bit nervous when one of the producers called me at night to sit in the following day. I panicked and contacted my stylist Abbas Kaijuka for a good outfit. I knelt down as I always do before going on air and said a little prayer. “Jesus you know where I came from and you know where I am heading, so if this is where you want me to be, then please make me do a good show”.
Unfortunately, when auditions happened, you did not win. How did you feel?
I was just sitting in for Douglas and not winning was okay with me. You do not win every time you participate in a competition. There are winners and losers and it was not my day. I am still on NTV doing T-Nation.
What do you love most about T-Nation?
That show is the best ever because I get to hang out with my fans and that is heartwarming because I am a people person.
How would you rate yourself so far?
I rate myself as a starter who sees himself going far and becoming the best TV presenter Uganda has ever had.
You said you look upto Douglas Lwanga. What are some of the things you learnt from him?
Very many, for example how to handle artistes and deal with them. He advised me to start up my own event, which I did and named Panda Turn Up for teens. He connected me to so many people and got me sponsors for events I organise. To me, he is a mentor.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Yes, I do.
Tell us about your last relationship.
It ended because of girls. My ex thought I was playing around. I just happen to have many pretty friends, so she dumped me without even caring to know the truth.
Of all schools you have visited on T-Nation, which one stands out for you?
To be honest, all the schools stand out because of the way they welcome me. They all love me and watch my show. I have moved to almost every school in Kampala and out of Kampala.
If you were not doing TV…
I would be a doctor. I really wanted to become a doctor, although my parents were too poor to pay for my tuition.
Where do you think you will be in the next three years?
On a bigger TV show, in Uganda or out of Uganda.
upclose with panda
Crazy night out or quiet romantic evening? Quiet romantic evening
Attracted to a girl…with good character
Brains vs beauty… brains
Ideal woman… God-fearing, hardworking, educated, beautiful, free, open and honest.
Favorite song at the moment… Sagala Manya by Crysto Panda and Da Agent.
If you were stuck on island with a female celeb, who would it be… Lydia Jazmine
Suit or casual… casual
Favourite meal… Matooke and meat
Fave subject in school… Maths because I really loved challenges.
Which would you want removed… History because I find it a waste of students’ time.
Who dresses you? I work with so many stylists; Kais Divo, Raw Denim, Abryanz and Joe Malaika.
Ideal fashion style… Trending thuggish style.