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Four One One

I am doing journalism for the people — Flavia Namulindwa

Flavia Namulindwa

You often talk about mindset change, what is hindering you from going back to the classroom to create a better Ugandan?Education is a key component in building a better society; however, it doesn’t make sense to do a commendable job in a society where leaders prioritise equipping security forces while poorly paying teachers.

Journalism seems somehow better and it still offers me a chance to educate people. Creating a better Uganda calls for combined efforts in all sectors.

Why journalism instead of other public service related professions?
The key to better service delivery is honesty and passion, I don’t see myself in a police uniform teargasing a group of Ugandans demanding for their constitutional rights but I see myself behind a microphone amplifying silenced voices.

Talking  journalism, is it possible for journalism to create a meaningful society in Uganda?
It calls for collective efforts to create a better society. Journalism should be at the forefront.

Why are many people in Uganda leaving media for opportunities  else  where ?
People are looking for greener pastures. Journalism is a poorly paying job yet people have bills to meet. It doesn’t make sense to be applauded as a journalist while earning nothing. Sadly, some of those who have remained in the job have turned into beggars.

Have you been a victim of threats because of your career?
Journalism is about being objective and abiding by ethics. However, there are those people in Uganda who will threaten journalists for doing their job. I have been a victim of such people just like many other journalists.

Why didn’t you switch to teaching or arts instead of leaving the country?
I needed a break to try out other challenges. However, I still do journalism and also own a dance troupe.

How are you doing journalism?
I still do digita l journalism, I’m a host at Diaspora Connect Ug.

Why are journalists poorly paid in Uganda?
The employers assume it is an easy job to be a journalist and that is why a media owner will put a random person on television even when they don’t qualify.

Another issue is that journalists, who are qualified, are so comfortable and they don’t invest in improving their careers. Above all, media is infiltrated by fraudulent owners whose job is to make profits.

Your first job was…?
I was a teacher and it’s a job I did for about three months.

What was your first salary?
I was a teacher at Nkozi Demonstration Primary School and I earned Shs75,000, I worked for one month.  For television I had no salary, I used to work for tokens until later.

What inspired your career?
There is no specific individual, but it was my dream to be either on television or radio and actually I have been on both.

What do you like about your job?
Enjoying while earning and secondly, it is gives me exposure.

How did you grow through the ranks?
Well, I started as an actress in Alina Talent in a play called Jjajja Mwami . Later I went back to school to Buganda Royal Institute to upgrade after picking interest in journalism. I did my internship at Bukedde FM and later started presenting on Bukedde TV.

The opportunity came when presenter Miles Rwamiti who was the presenter of Ekyenkya kya Weekend was absent and I was asked to take on the programme. Later, I took on many opportunities that came my way.

As a child, when did you first watch television?
Since childhood, my father was a rich man; we had a coloured television and electricity at a time when it was impossible for many families.

What challenges do you face dealing with life in diaspora?
Living in diaspora is a bitter pill to take, adjusting to new life, food, weather and language. In Uganda we are comfortable for nothing but in diaspora its hard work if you have to survive.

First journalism movie you watched?
It’s a 2014 crime drama film called the Night Crawler by Jake Gyllenhaal. Besides the criminal side of the act, it nearly shows how freelance journalists in Uganda struggle to get accepted by media houses.

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