WADING THROUGH: Even when the entertainment industry in Uganda has always been a free exit and entrance, it has never been friendly for women. From allegations of abuse and exploitation, the atmosphere has never sounded friendly for female producers, promoters or even managers, Andrew Kaggwa & Isaac Ssejjombwe look at those that have navigated the waters.
Kemiyondo Coutinho – Art entrepreneur
Kemiyondo Coutinho is an actress, writer, director and art entrepreneur mostly known for being one of the brains behind A Ka Dope, an artistic platform that has in the past exhibited drama, poetry and music.
In 2017, Kemiyondo directed her short film Kyenvu, where she acted alongside Michael Wawuyo Jr, Rehema Nanfuka and Boxa Kaija, among others. In 2018, Kyenvu won Best Short Film awards at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, Pan Africa Film Festival in the US and the Uganda Film Festival. This year, it became the first local film to be picked up by streaming site, Hulu.
At the beginning of the month, Kemiyondo was listed among Okay Africa’s 100 Women that inspired others in 2018.
Rachael Kungu, famously known as DJ Rachel, is known as Uganda’s first female DJ. She started playing in the 1990s at Club Silk in Kampala; she plays different music genres though in the past, she has ventured into house/EDM and Afro.
But there is more to DJ Rachel than just the turntables, she has represented Uganda as one of the only two African DJs at the World Music Expo (WOMEX) in 2016 in Spain.
She is the founder of Femme Electronic, a movement that supports female DJs and producers of electronic music. She has since managed to create a spinoff of the programme in Nairobi, Kenya.
DJ Rachel has in the past performed at Blankets and Wine, Bayimba International Festival, Nyege Nyege Festival, Sondeka Festival in Nairobi and is also a leading member of the East African renowned Santuri Safari Crew.
Nisha Kalema and Rehema Nanfuka – Film producers
Nisha Kalema and Rehema Nanfuka are the producers and directors of 2018 film Veronica’s Wish. Before the two worked on this film, they had a few things in common; they had both acted and won awards for female lead roles – Kalema for the film Freedom and Nanfuka for her role in Yat Madit.
But they also shared the desire of telling a story about a woman and directed by a woman. Veronica’s Wish, written by Kalema, would go on to become the first Ugandan film written, directed and produced by women. The film won nine awards at the annual Uganda Film Festival, including Best Actress for Kalema and Best Director for Nanfuka.
Kim Sebuliba – Events organiser
Kim Sebuliba is a businesswoman with a background in brand consulting, PR and event management. She is the founder and CEO of Kasana Events, a company geared towards creating experiential events. They have coordinated and organised events such as the Mavin Concert that featured Korede Bello and Iyanya at Cayenne, the Halloween Haunted House event, the Africa Now launch and the Nike and Native Magazine pop up party in Nigeria.
Sebuliba is behind the Burna Boy Experience and as the only female promoter dealing with international artistes, she hopes to encourage more women to join male-dominated industries.
Sarah Nsigaye -Festival organiser
The local film industry is one that needs more than a person to thrive, much as many people are into the actual making of films, there are those tasked with the role of getting these productions to the consumers. Through her various initiatives, Sarah Nsigaye, a journalist and documentary filmmaker, has taken on the role of a film exhibitor.
She is the founder of the Native Travel Festival, which always runs in the week of the International Women’s Day with the intention of celebrating womanhood through art.
Bridgette Nisha Ampaire – Artiste manager
Known to many as Nisha, Ampaire is one of the few women that are into managing artistes. She is mostly known as the manager that kept Jamal’s career afloat for years.
Her work involves checking on the progress of the artistes she manages, ensuring their music is getting airplay and of course keeping a good relationship with the media.
Nisha has also worked with artistes like Geosteady, Leilah Kayondo and is currently managing DJ duo Slick Stuart and Roja.
Nadia Matovu – Events organiser
Nadia Matovu is a businesswoman with a background in auditing, business consulting, and marketing.
She is the founder of Seventeen18 Concept, a creative and event design company, which was behind the first pop up club that was Las Vegas themed. She is currently planning and executing the Burna Boy Meet and Greet Pop-Up Merchandise.
Julie Erusa – Artiste manager
Julie Erusa has worked with different local artistes for more than 10 years. From Maurice Kirya to Jackie Chandiru, Erusa has seen all acts and the egos they come with.
But of course, her impact on the music industry is beyond management. Before she was a manager, Erusa had worked with Musicuganda.com, an entertainment website and later, Talent 256 (now Talent Africa) as an artiste coordinator. Part of her roles involve getting her artistes bookings as well as promoting them online; Erusa is currently part of the team that is behind the return of Jackie Chandiru.
Maureen Rutabingwa alias MoRoots – Instrumentalist
Maureen Rutabingwa, also known as MoRoots, is a soul artiste, producer and a multi-instrumentalist. She is known to many people as one of the first vocalists of Qwela Band, Soul Deep and later as a multi- instrumentalist. MoRoots plays both the keyboard and the saxophone. Besides playing with Qwela or Soul Deep, she has played alongside Ali Kiba and Maddox Ssematimba.She has also worked on solo projects such as Muluyimba, Omuka and of course her latest, Moonlight.