Mushema: `Rising up and having hope in life counts’
Kampala, Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | Housen Mushema is a Ugandan runway commercial and editorial model, actor and fashion producer famous for his lead role in ‘Balikoowa in the city’ and Andrew in `Second Chance’ local TV series on Spark and NTV respectively. Mushema has also walked the most popular runways in Uganda and East Africa; including the trendy Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (ASFA). He is a recipient of the ASFA 2015 as most outstanding male model and has also received several mentions as Uganda’s most revered model.
He has worked at a number of local and international fashion shows including Kampala Fashion Week 2014 and Swahili Fashion Week. He also showcased with world renowned fashion designers like Jose Hendo, Motions and Emolsam-DNA.
His modeling career dates back while a student at Makerere University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Records and Archives Management. Modeling and ushering was the most immediate and available job to cover his tuition and living expenses.
As he and colleagues treaded the walkways of Makerere University, they landed on a job advert inviting applications for models and ushers. And out of curiosity, the trio applied and Mushema was one of the few successful applicants.
Although he had mixed feelings about the job demands and the future, Mushema took it on with an open mind. His first ushering gig required him to wear a black suit and paid him Shs70,000; enough for meals for some days. For hustling campus student, it was a good start.
Working under a model management agency, Mushema in 2013 secured his first modeling gig with Abryanz of popular fashion designer Brian Ahumuza. Dubbed ‘Men’s First Explosion’ it was also Ahumuza’s first fashion show.
Mushema honed his runway skills by watching YouTube videos. He also took to the gym for a more appealing physique at a time when male modeling was fast rising in the country.
He says, “The feedback from the audience was motivating and that is how I raised my bar”.
Soon he received a call from Fast Track Productions, the producers of then-popular TV series ‘The hostel’ whilst in its fourth season where he acted as a regular. In 2016, he featured in a video collabo by Irene Ntale and Sheeba titled ‘Otubbattisa’ which he says gave him more mileage. About this time, Mushema left school to concentrate on the acting and modeling.
He says that his modeling score kept rising with continuous featuring in the ASFA and in 2015 he was awarded for the most outstanding male model by ASFA.
In 2016 he got a lead role in ‘Balikoowa in the City’ another production by Fast Track. The role required him to bring out the life of a villager something that he says was a walk-over since he had spent the early years of his education in a village setting.
“It was just awakening the village life in me and I believe that I nailed the character,” he says.
The following year in May, Mushema took over the role of Andrew Masa from an original actor in the `Second Chance’ Telenovela, a Uganda remake of the Spanish language telenovela `El Cuerpo del Desco’ that aired on NTV. For this particular role, Mushema had previously been invited for screen testing but failed. He resolved to take on acting classes to gain confidence, grasp the dynamics of acting; including emotions and deal with the problem of stammering. With 49 episodes down `Second Chance’, Mushema successfully took on the character.
He also played in a Nana Kagga directed and produced upcoming series, `Reflections’. His latest feature was in ‘Veronica’s Wish’ by Nisha Kalema that was premiered at the end of last year.
For his modeling career, Mushema has resorted to training male models and producing shows under his Jangu Productions Company.
Mushema was born and raised in Jinja before the family shifted to Kampala during his high school days. He is a Muganda who was named Mushema after his Congolese great grandparents. He attended Jinja Islamic Primary School, Catherine Primary School and Kibuli Demonstration School before joining East High School and finally Makerere University.