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He never picks calls – Abby

Partners in crime. Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga and Patriko Mujuuka are two of Uganda’s most recognisable stage actors. From sharing a stage at Bat Valley Theatre, the two are close co-workers at the Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) Nicolas Akasula talked to them.

Abby:

How would you describe Patricko?

Patricko is one of those poorly brought up guys. He has a mind of his own. And you know there’s on funny thing that he does; he will never pick your calls unless he wants to. Even the phone call you just saw me making, I was lucky he picked it. But when he wants you; he will relentlessly call and even hunt you down. Otherwise he’s blunt, and wants you to tell him what you feel. And I’ve not met a devoted Catholic like him.

How did you meet?

It was at Bat Valley theatre, can’t remember when. But after working with him, I wouldn’t help but love his creativity on stage. Much as I was a bit older than him and his director as well, it dawned on me that we shared a lot in common. His artistic ambitions were almost like mine. I told him we were going to do a comic relief together in the next play, and after that, we have never looked back.

What are some of your earliest memories of working together?

When I first met him, we were both actors on Ensitano that used to air on WBS. I worked on CBS and Patriko worked on Radio Sapientia, the Catholic Church owned station. I asked him to join me at CBS and he said he would have to talk to the priest that worked as managing director at the station. I told the priest his boy was talented and would go places with his talent. I remember the priest accepting and asking me to ‘treat him well.’ So besides treating employees well, that – ‘treat him well’ always rang in my mind.

What have been some of the highlights of you working together?

We did ‘The best of Abby and Patricko’ two years ago. And what people don’t know is that it took us a whole month and half of rehearsal. On every afternoon, we would cut off work and go to an eco-resort, spending the whole time there rehearsing. It was tough.

What is the craziest thing you have done together?

He was the MC on my wedding, and he kept making all these jokes about me. So I promised him that if I ever got a chance, I would revenge. So thankfully I got the chance, at his wedding where I was the MC. He kept giving me that side eye of… ‘Please don’t…’ and me I was looking back at him like… ‘Come on; you know I must …’

What do you like about him?

He’s natural, so free, creative and his wordplay. We became close because he’s a free mind. I never like ‘yes’ guys. And this was instilled in me by one of my teachers, Prof. Rose Mbowa at the university. She used to tell us that, “you can go against what I’ve taught you, and convince me, I’ll give you marks.”

What don’t you like about him?

Not picking calls. I don’t like his political aspirations. Sorry to say but I personally don’t like politics. However I respect his decision, and even support him. I actually go to his constituency and mobilise for him; although he knows that I do it for him, not for what he’s going for.

Is there a nickname you have for him?

We just call him ‘Patu’, but in the past he had a motor bike which they stole and he found. They stole it again and he found it. So we named him ‘ow’akapiki’. He loved the motor bike so much, that whenever they would steal it, he cried like a baby.

Do you guys ever fight?

People who work together are bound to. My principal is; you don’t have to be my friend to work with you. I disagree with him on a professional level. He’s a stubborn guy that you disagree with and he says; oba oganye kale nange nganye (It’s fine. If you’ve refused, I’ve also refused).

What does he like the most?

He likes his children so much.

Patricko:

How would you describe Abby?

Abby Mukiibi as my boss, and as a very hardworking man who doesn’t tolerate drama during working hours. He’s also an excellent actor, when you act with him, he will bring out his very best. That way, it will also help you to bring out your very best. I must say he’s a very inspiring counterpart.

What are some of your earliest memories of working with him?

When we met; I saw him act in a play as a Kabaka Mutesa II, and wow; Abby was good. That was the earliest.

What have been some of the highlights of you working together?

The biggest was; ‘The best of Abby and Patricko’. We were seated the way we are now; and were like; by the way, how about doing something just the two of us? We had our fans, who would have wanted us to do something unique. And fortunately, when we publicised it, people became totally expectant. So the onus was on us to deliver.

What is the craziest thing you have done together?

The wedding jokes that he told you were it, although there was also this one time when Mariam Ndagire had a concert. We were the MCs and instead of people focusing on the singers, they drew their concentration on us, because we were so funny. And they even started yelling at them things like; vaayo, asking them to leave.

What do you like about him?

One of the things I like about Abby is that he doesn’t take life serious. Plus, he’s a parent and advises us. He can call you and says, “look they told me that you did such a thing, but that’s not good. You should have asked me first.” Then the other thing is that, he wishes everybody well.

What don’t you like about him?

I think he has done so many good things for me, that they over shadow the bad.

He says he hates your habit of not picking calls…

Oh; he said that? Okay to be honest, sometimes given this kind of work we do, you cannot be on the phone all the time. And he’s not the only one complaining but sometimes if you want to do something serious, then you have to put away the phone. Like now I’ve switched it off, because we are having this interview. If I hadn’t, it would be buzzing all the time. And to make matters worse, now that I’m into politics, people from the constituency are also calling relentlessly.

Have you ever teamed up to fight someone?

If you pick a fight with Abby, then you are fighting me. And when you’re fighting me, you’re fighting him too. We are always on the same side. It is rare to have us divided. For instance when I was joining art, two groups had come together to form Afri-diamonds (Afri-Talent & Diamonds Ensemble), time came for them to separate. Originally, I was supposed to be with Kato Lubwama in Diamonds Ensemble, but because I was more close to Abby, I remained with him and John Ssegawa.

What does he like the most?

Hard work. Abby will like you for your hard work. If you’re hardworking, you’ll be his best friend. But if you’re not, you will never be friends. And I guess it’s what bonded us. Because I value work so much, especially because I came from a poor family. To get where I am today, one thing comes to my mind; hard work. He’s so hardworking that you can meet his car somewhere at 1am, and at 5am you find it here at the station.

What’s that one thing,  people ought to know about Abby and Patricko?

I think people should know that as we act and also do comedy we also have our serious sides. People will find you on the streets, church and expect you to be a certain character they saw. But it’s not like we are always on stage, we have families, our people become sick and we have to check on them at hospitals like any other person.

Titbits:

  • They are both multi award winners, recognised for plays, film, and drama.
  • They both work on the morning shows of CBS FM, with Abby on 88.8, and Patricko on 89.2.
  • Aby is Patricko’s boss at the station, and his director in film.
  • They are both authorities in the theatre and comedy world.
  • Patricko is eyeing the Nakifuma parliamentary seat in the the next coming polls

 

 

 

 

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