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Crystal Newman is no quitter


She was working by age 15, has worked at her current job for 10 years, and is doing something she always wanted to do from childhood. Sanyu FM radio presenter ‘Crystal’ Angella Newman Kavulu is living her dream, partly because of sheer determination. But it has not always been like that.

The last born of four girls, Crystal was so pampered that early in life she could not even choose even her own clothes thanks to her three sisters who always gladly did that for her.

She was born in Nairobi but spent most of the childhood in Zambia until age 10 when the family returned to Uganda. Her father, Sande Newman, is a Ugandan pilot and her mother, Alex Nida, an air hostess is mixed English-Ugandan.

Her earliest dream was to be a ballerina, then gymnast because she was doing it in Zambia. Her first job was as a swimming instructor. Unfortunately there were no schools for such in Uganda when she returned. By senior four, she says she knew she wanted to be behind the microphone.

“In school I was very comfortable on stage as a speaker,” she says.

That was at Makerere College School in Kampala which she joined from Buganda Road Primary School and from which she joined Makerere University. True to her aspiration, she pursued a degree in Journalism majoring in broadcasting. Life behind the mic wasn’t her first love but she has grown to love it.  Her story behind the mic is all the more interesting because it started with a prank.

In 2004, Crystal stepped into a studio as a gig with two other colleagues pretending to be a girls’ group from UK. It was all for fun of course as a friend who worked at Sanyu FM lured them into it. But Crystal made a mark.

“Before I knew it I was called back for a voice test that got me a job,” she recalls.

But choosing a `work name’ was not easy as her father did not initially approve her using the family name, Newman, on radio.

“Back then the impression people had of radio presenters was they were either drunkards or not serious,” she says.

She zeroed on ‘Crystal’ because she liked it and had always thought she would call her child that.

Crystal has been married 11 years, has two girls and a boy, and approaches motherhood with the same zeal, balance, and long haul attitude she applies to her job.

“You cannot be a quitter and get married,” she says.

She also believes in tough love.

“I believe in discipline as a strict mother but I also believe in love and affection,” she says.

It is something she picked from her mum (as dad was often away from home).

Crystal Newman’s Liteside

Any three things we don’t know about you?

Many people still don’t know that I am married with children yet I am a wife and mother before anything. I love to read. I have experimented different hair styles but I have never gone short because I am not about to assault the world with my little head. I have a personal relationship with God but I don’t go to church. Surprisingly even when I was a little child, I never went to church and so I don’t feel like I am missing it in my life.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness is in phases and it is a choice – not driven by circumstances. It also comes with good health, happy children, happy husband, and with just enough. We can still be happy with so little.

What is your greatest fear?

When I was young I was scared of failure but I have learnt that it is from it that we grow. As for now, anything bad happening to my children is my biggest fear.

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