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I want to own a TV network

By Joan Akello

Mariam Ndagire, CEO Trendz Studios Ltd. The performing artist talked to Joan Akello about entertainment and her dreams

What do we not know about you?

I’m shy; especially the attention that comes when you are off the stage is uncomforting. I love little children, and that my biological father died when I was in S.3 but I never had any attachment to him.  I was his only child. He was a Catholic. It has taught me that though I’m not in a relationship with my son’s father, I really want him to know what it means to have a dad.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

When you are happy inside and at peace

When and where were you happiest?

When I had my son in 2000 and the first time my song Mulongo Wange composed by Kato Lubwama was played on CBS Radio.


How did you feel at your first stage performance?

I was among the performers CBS radio invited for its Embuutu in the 90’s. When the MC announced that I was next on stage, the huge crowd started applauding. I had only one song so why were they shouting? I started shivering but later I relaxed and gave in my best. To this day, I tell MCs never to announce that I will be performing; it scares me.

What is your greatest fear?

Being misunderstood yet the audience will not wait for the right answer but I have developed hard skin. Recently my son’s dad was hit by thugs and media reported that I refused to visit him in hospital but I know what I’m doing.

Are you married?

No, I’m single and a mother to my son, I would like to have someone, that forever friend. I don’t know what God holds for me but I’m watching the space.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I’m a perfectionist; I don’t trust anybody with my work because delegating is so hard for me.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My son, previously, it was my wardrobe.

What is your current state of mind?

Anxious because the goals I want to achieve are not moving in the direction I want them to.

On what occasion do you lie?

When I lie, I feel bad inside so I always tell the truth.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I’m comfortable.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Honesty.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Honest, respectable, and dignified.

How have you managed to be the above woman?

I never want to disappoint my fans and family so I would never want to do anything that does not befit the Mariam Ndagire brand.

What do you value in friends?

Trust, and also be there for me.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I did Mathematics, Economics and Geography in A’Level with the hope of becoming a pilot.

If you could change one thing in society, what would it be?

I’d love to see Ugandan content appreciated on the continent and world over but the players are stagnant. I started Uganda Film Network after the success of my first movie Down this road I walk but I think film makers wanted to be paid. Through Mariam Ndagire Performing Arts Centre I’m training and mentoring the youths who hopefully will appreciate quality.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating the Mariam Ndagire brand.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Losing a loved one is hard that’s why I cried when Juliana lost her only son.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Dignified, respectable.

Who are your favorite writers?

Tyler Perry, Shonda Rhimes especially Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Maya Angelou especially her book Heart of a Woman. It touched my heart.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Idi Amin. I was born in 1971 during his era; Ugandans were thinking straight, disciplined, and the city was clean but the society started rotting in Obote’s regime and got rotten in this regime. Our rulers should borrow some of things Amin used to do. I think Jennifer Musisi is doing the same because she grew up in Amin’s time.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My aunt-Hajjat Nuruh Bongole who brought me up after my mother passed on.

Which living person do you most admire?

Tyler Perry, I don’t know how he does it; he is writing and directing movies, TV series, TV Sitcoms,writing his autobiogra phy and acting in some projects. I ‘m still trying to get his formula, he inspires me.

What is it that you most dislike?

People who want free things end up as thieves.

What is your greatest regret?

I never regret; I learn from mistakes and move forward.

How would you like to die?

As long as it is not painful and after I have fulfilled most of my dreams such as setting up the centre, mini studios.  My biggest dream is to own a TV network like Oprah’s.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

As me but as an American woman or a bird that sings.

What’s your philosophy about life?

Do what is good for you but do not step on other people’s toes.

What is your motto?

Be true to your dreams.

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