Emily Mwebaze is a senior news producer at Urban TV, a subsidiary of Uganda’s leading media company; the Vision Group. It is the latest posting on a journey that started as a wish by her father, nurtured by passion, and supported by many relatives.She is also a musician who specializes in Runyankore songs.
Kampala, Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | Blessed with natural beauty, great voice, attractive personality, and innate intelligence, Mwebaze in the 2000s kept many viewers stuck on their TV screens. Today, she feels fulfilled.
“I have exhausted all the positions in the newsroom to senior producer,” says the single mother of two.
Her late father, Patrick Mwebaze, always wished to see his daughter work on TV and he also encouraged her musical side by drumming jerry cans while she sung.
“I know wherever he is, he is proud of me,” she says. He was a single dad as he had split with his wife but died when she was only seven years old. Mwebazewho was soon cared for in different homes of relatives says that background instilled in her the zeal to work hard. Her musical side was nurtured by an uncle who was a choir master in an Anglican church and would take her along for rehearsals.
But he too died two years after she lived with him for only two years. Mwebazefound solace at her grandparents’ home. There she started school at Itojo boys as the only girl in a boys’ only school because it was near home.
A year after, another uncle brought her to Kampala and she joined primary five at Kansanga Primary School after years of home schooling. Mwebaze joined the school choir and became the best soloist and traditional dancer at the national competitions. This won her a slot to represent Uganda at a music festival in Netherlands. She exhibited equally good performance in class and won admission to the prestigious Bweranyangi Girls’ School. Here, another uncle, Steven Rwangyezi of the famous Ndere Troupe offered sponsorship. Her elder brother David committed to visiting and giving upkeep.
However, for the senior three third term holiday, Mwebaze chose to spend it with her grandparents and before she knew it, uncle had cancelled the offer on grounds of indiscipline and failure to communicate her whereabouts.Luckily a cousin attached her to `Train the Youth Effort’, a school that was supporting musically talented orphans”.
As other students went back home for holidays, Mwebaze and others would stay behind to perform in clubs and at different functions to raise school fees. Even with such a busy schedule, Mwebaze emerged the only girl with a first grade and joined A-level.
At the start of the long senior six holiday, Mwebaze returned to Kampala but this time as a house helper for a cousin who had just given birth. And while at home listening to radio, she decided to respond to a call for presenters on Radio Uganda – Green Channel; the vernacular radio.She recalls arriving at the station as early as 7am and meeting the interviewer at 4pm. She won a stint and was initially required to watch and learn from the presenter. But just four days into her induction, her supervisor failed to turn up.
“I just stepped in but ended up taking the job,” she recalls. Many people complemented her amazing presentation. She was hired and started earning her first salary of Shs80, 000.
It was the start of a career that would see her work with Voice of Kigezi, Top Radio Mbarara, Top Radio Kampala, and Top TV. Along the way she switched from vernacular to English. The crown was when she was head-hunted to join WBS TV.
“It was another dream come true as everyone admired WBS,” she recalls.
But she soon moved on to UBC and finally Urban TV.