By Agnes E. Nantaba
Ivan Byekwaso is the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) Natural Universe Bodybuilding Champion aka `Mr Universe’. He spoke to Agnes E Nantaba about how he ignored cynicism and worked his way to the top
Any three things we don’t know about you?
Aside from being a specialist in Fitness Instructing and Nutrition Supplements, I am also a professional chef with a certificate in catering and practice for some time.
I was a footballer playing as a goal keeper. I studied largely on sports scholarships as my parents could not afford school fees but I also had to do odd jobs on construction sites to buy scholastic materials. Sportsmen especially in Africa struggle a lot to get to the top but I kept knocking until the door opens. I am aged 32 years with more five to six years in body building after which I intend to start up the biggest fitness and training centre in East Africa to give back to the community.I am a born again Christian who puts God first before anything.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness achieved from having peace of mind and achieving after a hard struggle.
What is your greatest fear?
Falling back to the hard life of lack and poverty.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have come to terms with every trait good or bad in me.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I have been through almost the hardest of situations so I can tolerate every trait.
Which living person do you most admire?
People who grant the greatest percentage of their time to serve God; Brother Ronnie Makabai is one of them.
What is your greatest extravagance?
The needy people especially street kids remind me of where I have come from so I spend extravagantly on them.
What is your current state of mind?
I am relaxed, happy, and always sober.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Work; parents accord so much attention and time to work related issues rather than molding their children. It is the very reason why we have misfits in society.
On what occasion do you lie?
With the popularity I have gained, I can afford to tell a lie to softly call off women who want me for relationships.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
At a younger age, I didn’t like my dark skin color because I attributed it to ugliness but as of now it is absolutely nothing. I have worked towards attaining the appearance that I have always yearned for.
Which living person do you most despise?
People who steal public funds for their own gains.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Responsibility towards family and respect for others.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Responsiveness to family and if it’s a wife, she should be fulfilling.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My children, Whitney Nakazibwe and William Byekwaso; my daughter was abandoned by the mother at seven months and we have been through a lot with her but seeing her grow to almost five years gives me pride.
When and where were you happiest?
Winning the title of Mr. Universe on September 5, 2015.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing, especially for God who has got me where I am; I have tried it on several occasions but failed.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Not necessarily on myself but something around me; maybe having more money to uplift other needy people.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Winning an international competition like the world cup that gave Uganda a chance to host body building world cup in 2018.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Ivan Byekwaso the doctor to treat people.
Where would you most like to live?
Many countries are beautiful but Uganda still stands out .
What is your most treasured possession?
My life and food because for me to sustain my career, I’ve got to eat every after two hours.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being in a state of lack especially finance deprives one of choice.
What is your favorite occupation?
I am fulfilled being a sportsman .
What do you most value in your friends?
Value addition and reliability .
Who are your favorite writers?
Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book `New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding’.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Arnold Schwarzenegger and John James Rambo
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Idi Amin Dada; my father was his driver for seven years and the stories he told about him showed that he sacrificed a lot to have anything good for his country.
What are your favorite names?
Byekwaso; named after my father who was a hero and now me.
What is your greatest regret?
I wish I had pushed on with my studies to complete A-level. I would be very far.
How would you like to die?
After an average time of illness to allow my family and friends take good care of me.
What is your motto?
For God and my country