The zeal to shine brighter than the stars is deeply engraved in the minds of some that they cannot settle for less lest they live a life of regrets. Drake Mbowa was not one to choose the later, thus set out to change his destiny early in life.
After completing Senior Six at Kawempe Royal College in 2012, Mbowa, who had spent most of his school life in boarding school, opted to leave home after only a week, “I had no relationship whatsoever with my step mother and I did not think I would find my footing at forging one ,so I chose to leave. Besides, I needed to etch a living, something I would not do by sitting at home,”
Mbowa also believes that once a boy has reached Senior Six, he is grown and should start thinking of the future. “After campus, one ought to start fending for themselves, so the earlier they get out of their comfort zones, the better. It doesn’t matter how small the beginning is, just start,” Mbowa stresses.
He got help from his friend, Umar Katumba, a builder. Mbowa worked as a porter on sites where Katumba worked. Like a child that has learned to walk, he was excited to be making his first steps in making a living. To add to the joy of earning from his sweat, he scored highly, getting 20 points in his UACE exams.
“When the results were released, the school director called to inform me that I had to make an appearance on television because of my great performance; 20 points with two A’s in History and Geography,” Mbowa narrates. His combination was History, Economics, Geography and Divinity.
Joy was still looming in the air because for every A scored, the school was to give students Shs50,000 as a sign of appreciation meaning, “I got Shs100,000, adding that to earnings from being a porter, Shs150,000”.
The need to become independent was like a sprouting tree having no challenge too big to overcome, thus he moved out of Katumba’s quarters to establish himself using Shs200,000 for two months’ rent, leaving him with only Shs50,000.
Life as a teacher
Being a casual labourer was only a means to put food on the table. However, Mbowa had a deep seated desire to teach. It was so evident that back in his former secondary school, many believed he would make a great teacher someday. It is that which propelled him to apply at Jamyks High School, Katooke as a teacher of Geography. That was also buffered by his excellent performance in A-Level. Starting out in 2013, Mbowa taught Geography and Economics from Senior One to Senior Six, earning Shs20,000 every week.
After a year there, he was promoted to deputy headmaster at the end 2015 until 2017. That came with an increase in earning to Shs400,000 a month coupled with earnings that saw him bag Shs600,000 every month.
Not one to settle for the seemingly good, he ventured into organising field trips, from which he earned an extra fee of Shs700,000 and above.
When he was starting to enjoy a somewhat comfortable life, the school experienced some setbacks forcing him to leave in 2017. However, one with a shining star cannot lead a bleak like for long; Mbowa joined Kazo Central College where he is currently teaching Commerce and Geography. Balancing life and his job, Mbowa has had to work hard to survive. “I have to pay my rent, take care of my daily necessities, buy reading materials (hand-outs) and pay my tuition,” Mbowa adds.
His life as a musician
You can never set out on your own without a survival plan. Apart from teaching, Mbowa is into music. “I have been into music since high school where I mimed, earning myself a nickname, Eddy Kenzo. I am certain that in the near future, I will unveil my talent,” Mbowa says with passion.
A lover of dance hall and Luga flow, Mbowa recorded his first song Siridanyuma in 2014, which is loosely translated, ‘I am not moving backward’. It chronicles his life’s journey.
Mbowa’s first concert was in 2016 in Katooke trading centre, Wakiso District where he crooned his songs such as Obudde, Desire Luzinda.
However, there is more on his plate; academics, and this makes music takes a back seat, “There is less time now than before hence releasing fewer songs lately. However, when I finish university, I hope to do more studio time,” he adds. Adding to his investments, Mbowa has bought two motorcycles with the first one bought from his savings as a teacher. From these, he collects a weekly sum of Shs120,000. He has also bought a 40×30 feet plot of land and hopes to start construction next year.
His academic journey
Mbowa joined Islamic University in Uganda in 2013 to study law but dropped out owing to lack of tuition. However, his pursuit for a university degree burned hard and in 2014 joined Makerere University Kampala where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and communication. However, calamity was lurking nearby as he fell sick, a year into the course and he asked a dead year in second year, “I fell seriously sick. Most of my money was spent on treatment. I had to take a dead year,” he narrates miserably. He only resumed school in 2016 and luck struck again when his father agreed to pay for him half the tuition fee while Mbowa footed the rest.