Celebrating Esther Kalenzi: The generous queen with music under her feet.

Esther Kalenzi is transforming our community her way.What`s your transformation story or better yet, how are you causing transformation right where you are?

ZIMBA WOMEN

By Mary Helda Akongo

Esther Kalenzi is the type of woman that Nikki Rowe wrote about. “She is a rare soul, she has this infectious energy that makes you want to run next to her, she belonged to no one but herself & to anyone that was yet to understand themselves, found the missing pieces in her presence.”

She has laughter in her eyes, music under her feet (yes, she really loves dancing), strength in her soul, and love in her heart. It is these exceptional qualities that she so joyfully relies on to go out and create a better future for underprivileged children in Uganda through her foundation; 40 days over 40 smiles.

40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation (40-40) is a Kampala based independent, youth-led, charity organization founded in 2012, to support education (literacy and expression), health and livelihood for vulnerable children.

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#1: What now??

I am almost ashamed to greet you all and say happy new year . A month has already passed and I honestly didn`t know what to write about. Not sure if it was writer`s block or just unseriousness that stopped me from scribbling unordinary things here??(*insert wondering emojis*)

It`s a sunny afternoon and I decided to write something down as I read through a new found blog by a 24 year old girl travelling the world for a living-http://girlvsglobe.com/ and listening to Do it again by elevation worship( I have had this song on replay since Jan,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dYmVphxEao ) The song is off their new album, Evidence. Go check it out. It`s beautiful and befitting for our KING.

I can`t get enough of each phrase. I want it to saturate my very being till I am bowed in a posture of worship in my writing, walking, talking, dreaming,beliefs  so whoever encounters me has Godly encounters.

Now that January is over, what next? The hype for new years resolutions is out the door.We are into the love month, what now? Do we still remember our plans for 2018??

Image result for what now images

This year I am excited about a number of things and I will share two that are close to my heat-GANG and walking a journey with a few amazing ladies.

What is GANG?In my own words, GANG is a yearlong discipleship and leadership  huddle geared towards helping young people in Worship Harvest ministries grow in all spheres. I am in GANG with amazing young people and I look forward to learning from each one of them, have great collaborations too (shout out to Mable).

PS: Our Gang leaders are soooooo cool.

Walking with a few amazing ladies which is loosely translated as mentoring. This year I believe ,this is one of the areas God is growing me in. I am no expert at mentoring,hehehe. However, with God being in the driver`s seat, I fear nothing. He makes all things beautiful in His timing and I am excited to meet with these ladies and simply do life with them.

What are your 2018 plans and how  far  have you gone with executing them?????

 

Welcome to 2018.

Happy new year.

 

Extraordinaire 10:Nzuri Textures

This month I get to share with y’all my favorite sites to go to for a little inspiration in hair,makeup,food,fashion and style.Today we focus on a blog run by two beau-ti-ful ladies,they are #TeamNatural and today they share with us their journey .

1.What is Nzuri textures and how long has it been running?

Nzuri Textures is a platform created by two natural hair enthusiasts, to show women how they can find beauty in having their hair in their natural state. In Uganda there are not so many platforms that teach and guide people on natural hair. The beauty bloggers on the internet show how they manage hair using international branded products. Unfortunately, we dont have access to those products.So Nzuri Textures strives to teach Ugandans how to handle their hair, with the products accessible to them. We have been running Nzuri Textures for 6 months now.

2.Who are the faces behind Nzuri textures?

Nzuri Textures is edited by Rowena Lubowa and Lydia Kahuga, who love everything natural.

3.How do you balance running a blog alongside your everyday jobs,being lawyers is no easy task?

Well, we cant say we are experts at this. But we make really good use of planners. We make time for the photoshoots and the editing of articles. Basically the trick is in planning and sticking to the plans.

4.Achievements since blog formation

Having a readership that learns from us and values the information that we give them

5.Lessons learnt since blog formation.

+ It’s hard to achieve something that you want,unless you make time for it.

+Listen to your readership and deliver content that they can relate to

6.Tips for natural hair sisters .

Avoid heat and enjoy water (drinking it and spraying it in your hair)

7.People /brands you would love to work with.

Brands: Kentaro, Movit, Kweli skin organics

People: Imigani, Third Local

8 .If you were an animal,what would it be?

Rowena: butterfly

Lydia : Gazelle

9.social media sites.

Blog :www.nzuritextures.com

Instagram: @nzuri_textures

Twitter: @nzuritextures

Photo credit:Nzuri Textures.

©Racheal Kizza 2017

Extraordinaire 9:Drew The Artist

Andrew Odoch joins us today for our Extraordinaire series.he is an artist whose heart and mind speaks God’s language of creation. Learn more about Andrew and his DrewTete story.

1.Who is Andrew Odoch?

I wad born in 1984 to Mr. & Mrs. Umah Tete in Nsamya a Kampala suburb. I am a son, brother, friend, relative, mentor, father and husband.

2.What is your vision for Drew Tete?

Drew Tete is crafted from my two names An(Drew) and Umah (Tete)

The Drew Tete vision states,” created by the Creator to create works of art that inspire people to achieve their purpose in life.”

3.Share any childhood memory in regards to art?

My mother’s old diary which I used to draw “stick figures” in around age 3 or 4. In primary school it was all about drawing comic book characters; Spiderman, fantastic 4, x-men, etc when I got to secondary school at St. Mary’s college Kisubi ,I was introduced to painting by Mr. Katabulawo my then art teacher who gave me my first chance to exhibit in a school exhibition, from then on I fell in love with painting and continued to grow and learn from water color to oil paint and now acrylic paint and digital painting with a drawing tablet.

4.When did you start selling your artwork?

I started selling my artwork in my S.4 when I realized people liked my work and were willing to pay for it. I remember selling some paintings for 40,000/= about 8 USD.

5.Did you go to art school to grow the skill?

I didn’t get any education in art outside my secondary school education. When it came to university I was convinced by my family to study something else since I already had the art thing held down. Eventually I graduated with a degree in Accounting and Finance from Kyambogo University in 2009. I don’t regret the decision, it gave me a business mindset, which I realized many artists don’t have.

6.When did you register Drew Tete?

In 2011, I registered Drew Tete Ltd as a company, our vision is to produce all manner of artwork as inspired by Bezelel who God annointed to produce all manner of artwork. We do graphics design, branding, signage, animation, invitation cards, commercial printing and photocopy services, interior and event décor.

We target institutions, individuals and the international market. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder; to make art is to create something that is pleasing to the eye that has never existed before.

7.Whats your take on Ugandans and art?Do they appreciate it?

Ugandans have an eye for beautiful things but the question is whether they are willing to part with their hard earned cash to acquire a piece of art and do they understand art? Initially I only used to sell actual (original) paintings but with time I realized that not many people are able to purchase expensive pieces of art, with my design skills I started to put photos of my paintings on greeting cards and also selling prints of the actual paintings at a lower price point while generating income and waiting for the right buyer and price for the originals. I also diversified my art portfolio to things like graphics design, which is an art form that people will easily pay money for because they see the immediate impact of the artwork.

8.How important is social media when running a business?

Social media has really come alive over the last 10 years and it’s not going to go away, it is only going to grow and adapt with trends and times. Top organizations and individuals now as a must, have presence on these platforms. Social media can be of huge importance to any business because it gives the business what every business needs, an audience. Now what you feed that audience is what gets you results.

In 2009, when I decided to go professional as an artist, there were two options, to have galleries sell my work or to sell it myself. I went to one of the leading galleries in Kampala ( I won’t mention the name here) and they said no, “ we don’t appreciate your style.” I didn’t quit, thank God at that time facebook was really on the rise, I started putting my work on social media to cause awareness and I also started working with a mentor Mr. Taga Nuwagaba. I have since landed some great business off facebook. This year I joined Twitter and Instagram and next year I will be on YouTube @drewtete.

9.Achievements .

I have exhibited my work at the Nommo gallery, Fireworks Exhibitions, Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) Trade Show, Bayimba International Festival of the Arts and most recently at the Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting held in Uganda. My paintings hang on walls in Uganda, Kenya, UK, USA and all over the world. My company and I have done work for notable brands like; Parliament of Uganda, American Chamber of Commerce, Non Profit organizations, churches, etc. In 2011, I was commissioned by the Central Bank of Uganda to produce painting for their 2012 calendar. We have employed over 10 people since we were registered as a company 8 years ago.

10.Future Projects.

Together with a team of young people who I mentor, we are working on a comic book called Valor coming out before the end of the year. I am working on having my first solo exhibition this December 2017. I desire to exhibit my work all over the world and perfect my craft till I harness all the potential in me and die completely empty. Lessons to sustain a start up………let’s leave that for another day

Catch me on: Facebook/Instagram/Twitter @ drew_tete

Website :www.drewtete.com

Call:+256 704211864 &Whatsapp: +256 782639282

Email: drewtete.ltd@gmail.com

©Racheal Kizza 2017

Book Launch

Ever wondered what sets you apart from the thousands of people around you? Ever thought that your not good at anything? Thought that the odds are against you everytime. It’s like the universe is hell bent on making you score last on your progress report? Then this book is for you.

Noeline Kirabo is launching her first book ,”Find your significance” where she shares her journey of discovering her significance through the highs and lows. It is clear when she was at her worst,God was at His best.

As a young girl excited about University like many of us were in our senior six vacation,her hopes were dashed to say the least.Her mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer and she had to take care of her and that ended her University dream.

Her mum was the bread winner and her being down with cancer meant no school for Noeline. How does one survive such pain, crushed dreams, “shame” when you don’t have an answer for your former school mates now at University?

Noeline beat the odds and is currently the Founder of Kyusa, an organization that empowers youth to become employable by developing passion-driven sustainable careers. www.kyusa.org and Facebook.com/kyusa

For more on this story and how Noeline made it through, come be apart of the book launch.

Details.

Venue:Innovation village,Ntinda complex

Tickets on sale at 50k and they come with an autographed book, a complimentary book and wait for it a SNAAAACCCKKKK.

Time:6-8pm

See you there.

For bookings call 0783-571457/0783-729186.

55 reasons why I love Uganda

I am joining the many bloggers writing my Ugandan story thanks to Ug blogging community and Kafunda creatives http://ugbloc.com/the-55ugblogs-kafunda-kreative-ugbloc-campaign/.

We are into our 55th year of Independence and here are my 55 reasons as to why I love my motherland.

1.I am a foodie so food had to take this spot.Uganda is a food basket.Have you had matooke in ndagala (banana leaves) with g.nut stew or meat ,fish and chicken? Try it.Did you know you can make fries with YAMS??The variety of food is insane and never boring.(Follow @AkitchenInUg for more tips)

2.Ugandans ooze hospitality and warmth.We welcome all people.You can’t get lost fwaaaa, people will help you get to your destination and even give you tips on how to avoid thugs.How cool is that?

3.The Ugandan Rolex; I honestly can’t believe it’s a big deal now.The creativity in the Rolex business is amazing.Rolex with minced mix flavored with chilli is my specialty.

4.The sunrise and sunset in Uganda are magical .It feels like God spent a little more time there.It’s simply B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.

5.The endless green cover that has no boundaries. It joins districts with trees, flowers of all sizes and colors.I don’t have to go to the Amazon to see green cover,I have it right here in Uganda.

6.The hills and mountains that sit in various districts.Have you seen Mbuya hill, or been to the Western part of Uganda?I visited Mbarara over the weekend and it was breathtaking.

7.Our weather or climate.We have almost 3 rainy seasons in a year and we are the real ”basummer” ,we have the sun out always.

8.The smell of soil when rain drops kiss the ground.That chemistry can’t be taught in a lab,it can only be smelt.

9.Great music.I am a lover of muziki and each generation comes along with it’s flavor but some flavors linger on.Like Elly Wamala , Afrigo band and Madox Sematimba.I am currently obsessed with Judith Babirye’s Mukama Talimba, Ddagala by Robin San & Fortune spiceUg.

10.Musicians joining politics!!This was unheard of but it’s happening.Bobi Wine got voted into parliament and is doing mighty exploits.#kisoboka

11.Catch phrases created from our music and current events. These become part of our lingo for example teka sente wolaba,okikolotya btw?, togikwatako. These spread like wild fire.

12.Taxi stories.People who talk loudly while having phone conversations,that woman who eats boiled eggs when traffic is at its peak,that man who fights with the conductor over 100/= balance.or the conductor saying,’aba since when temuyingira”😂😂😂

13.The parks(new & old as well as usafi)harbor taxis going to any part of Kampala and Uganda at large.As long as you know which park has what taxis,you can’t go wrong with taxis.

14.There are bus parks too which make it easy for people to locate various buses going upcountry like Arua Park,global buses park among others.

15.The entrepreneurial spirit is contagious.Any business can flourish in Uganda.Numerous entreprenuers are doing amazing things in various sectors like fashion, music, chocolate.

16.Ugandans love to associate with success.When Obama became president,children born during his era are called Obama, Rolex stalls in my neighborhood were rebranded to Obama.

17.The young people finally have a voice and are making things happen.Gone are the days when that had to look on as things happened.They can’t be ignored anymore.

18.The political atmosphere.Some of our MPs are married to the nation and doing their job too well.Did you see the fight they put up in the recent #agelimit debate that raised the #togikwatako slogan?. I am proud to be alive at such a time.

19.The revolution of the fashion industry.Many designers are making clothes that Ugandans are wearing to the red carpet,weddings and various events. Designers like Kwesh, Sylvia owori,Anita Beryl, Martha Jabo.

20.We have our own Fashion Week.Growing up I watched New York and Paris fashion weeks until Gloria Wavamunno birthed Kampala Fashion Week(KFW).

21.Modelling industry has grown too.This was an industry parents wouldn’t let their kids indulge in.Look at Aamito Lagum,girl is doing incredible things.The models signed to Joram Management are doing well too.

22.Ugandan material on the market.This is a big achievement since growing up I never knew Ugandan authors.Read some Ug literature and it’s good.Books like wealth files and called to greatness by Moses Mukisa, Forearmed by Michael Katagaya, Homegrown Love by Elma Asio & Evelyn Karungi. You can find them in bookshops. As a reader and writer, I am inspired.

23.Growth of the comedy industry.I love a good laugh and Anne Kansiime is doing a great job.Anne Kansiime gets to travel to other countries to make people laugh.Comedians like pablo, Salvador who has a one man show this month,fun factory and many more.

24.Growth of content drama series.I can actually stand watching some Ug drama series like coffee shop,lies that bind ,among others.

25.Variety of TV stations. Gone are the days of UTV😂😂 only.

26.Variety of radio stations.I have close to four favorite radio stations that play super cool music and the hosts are great too.

27.Our rich culture 1;have you experienced the traditional dances from all over Uganda??You need too.The dances are graceful, beautiful, passionate,energetic and above all,they tell the Ugandan story.

28.Rich culture 2;traditional outfits that add flair to all functions they are worn too. The baganda have gomesis,people from Western Uganda wear sukas though,different tribes drape them differently.

29.Traditional weddings that are so Ugandan.These pay attention to tribal traditions and fulfil them when it comes to dowry, dress code, and so much more.

30.Royalty talk.Our kingdoms still exist with their kings and elders.That’s a heritage that will never be taken away.

31.The beautiful cows used for meat, milk, horns used to make decor, jewellery and as dowry.

32.Freedom of worship.It is exceptional.All religions worship what they want,who they want,where and when they want.

33.Our tea.I am a tea lover .I love me some kisubi tea,ginger tea with mudalasini (cinnamon in it’s raw form not the processed one).I am no coffee person.

34.Our money which is familiar and very easy to count and tell apart.It has significant symbols that tell the Ugandan story.

35.Our anthem that is prophetic.Being a believer,each time I sing it,’Oh !Uganda May God uphold thee.”I surrender my beloved country to God.

36.Education is a priority and most parents are doing whatever is within their power to put their kids through school.

37.Adrenaline junkie activities exist in Uganda away from TV 😂. I have experienced bungee jumping and ziplining and still looking forward to many more.

38.We love to dance and be happy.That’s why the Kampala city carnival is a hit each year.

39.The advertising of Ug products gives me life and has gotten better over the years.

40.The beautiful rivers,lakes and water falls.These create magical journeys and moments as they decorate our country.

41.Variety of fruits which are juicy and tasty. Some of my favorites include mangoes,jack fruit,water melon and pineapples.Plus they are affordable.

42.Our boys are being mentored in this generation.Check out http://pkahill.com/55ugblogs-who-is-mentoring-boys-to-men-in-this-55-years-old-country/

43.Generosity of Ugandans .People rally to give into various causes for example 4040 foundation building a dorm, baby Kayla’s operation in India,Mtn marathon,Buganda run, and so much more.

44.The beautiful animals in our national parks.They add a pop of color to the greenery.

45.We are a young nation with potential and every other day ,year and month there is a breakthrough for a young person .I am proud to be alive at such a time.

46.Natural hair is a thing of the future.Gone are the days when we had to relax our hair.Our very own Ugandans have come up with products that cater to our hair with a made in Ug tag.This is exciting .

47.Numerous opportunities to make wealth in various sectors.The market is growing rapidly. some youth have take advantage of this and others should too.

48.Our uglish that is tailor made just for Ugandans.Its our very own English.’ They stole me’ simply meaning they took/stole something from me.

49.Second hand clothes that are affordable.These can be found downtown and in various markets around Kampala like Nakawa, Kamwokya and Usafi.Who wouldn’t want to be stylish on a low budget??

50.Ugandans are so nice,cool,intelligent,funny with a pinch of sarcasm.We smile and greet each other in taxis.I tried this in Kenya and my neighbor gave me the look.

51.The various restaurants owned and run by Ugandans dealing in local food.These are exciting because some times I get tired of KFC and Java’s caribbean jerk chicken.

52.Nsenene (grass hoppers).I love these insects and when they spice them up ,I am undone.Though my Kenyan friends can’t eat them.

53.Youth and women empowerment is being done by fellow Ugandans.Organisations like Kyusa are problem solvers.

54.I almost forgot boda bodas.I got a bad accident while on a boda this year but I can’t deny the fact that they are convenient and super fast.

55.I love Uganda because it is home and home is where the heart is. Everything is familiar,the people,dialects, structures,food, airtime,money.I love Uganda in all colors❤❤💙💚💜💞💟.

Photos courtesy of Kafunda Kreatives, Imigani and personal archives.

©Racheal Kizza 2017

Extraordinaire 8: Live Martha

1.Who is Martha?

Martha Ainomugisha Mugisa is a Leadership Development enthusiast who is passionate about empowering others. Her heart is sold out to youth, children and the vulnerable. She’s been married to Gideon for the last 8 years and is a mother to 2 precious girls, Hannah and Hadassah! She loves a good read,travelling and having a good hearty laugh!

2.Genesis of Livewire.

The first LiveWire forum was held sometime in 2012. Early 2012, I was visited by 3 young men who I had mentored years back. They were at a point in their lives when they were completing university and they felt we needed to meet, catch up and chat like old times and especially talk about issues of love and relationships that were a puzzle to them at that point in their lives. We agreed to meet over some nyama choma like old times. Two weeks to our meeting, a few other friends from the good old times showed interest in coming so we opened it up and decided to find a venue, and do logistics for a real meeting. I think we had over 30 young people in attendance. At that meeting, it was agreed that another meeting should happen. When I met with the initial 3 guys for an evaluation meeting, we agreed to tentatively call the meetings live wire and this is why: I had met these precious people during a time when I worked with Scripture Union Uganda. They used to volunteer during youth conferences during which one of the most popular parts of the program was a session we called live wire (intended to mean that things were discussed as openly and bluntly as could be). And your guess is as good as mine, the hottest topic during live wire at the conferences was relationships, love , sex and everything in that line. So, without really planning to, we started having regular meetings. The name has still stuck. It was only modified to The LiveWire Forum”. We have debated over the years on whether to change it but well, let’s see what the future holds. The Spark team(a group of volunteers who plan and execute the forum’s activities) was constituted and here we are. The rest, like they say, is history.

3.How do you juggle livewire and your day to day life of being a mother and managing other ventures?

From the very start, we appointed a team of volunteers to plan and execute the activities of the forum. This means that the burden does not lie squarely on my shoulders. So I have learnt to empower others to be part of the work so that the responsibility is not heavy. As earlier said, this team of volunteers at LiveWire is called the Spark Team! There is also a group of married people who are burdened about this ministry who have come on board over the years. We call them “Elders”. They are a great source of encouragement and support.

4. How often is LiveWire held?

We hold 4 forums a year usually around March, July, September and November. The November forum is custom made for those planning to walk down the aisle. It’s code-named “Planning To Say I Do”. This September our forum is happening on 30th,dubbed ,”lad_lady in Waiting.”

5.Achievements so far?

The testimonies of impact are so many. That is what has brought us this far and gives us the grace to keep going. We have interfaced with over 500 young people over the years. Seeing young people finding courage to face tough situations, make tough but life changing decisions, arise to pursue their dreams or deciding to live right is what we live for at LiveWire. Also, we have since defined our niche and focus and also gone on to expand our scope of reach. The LiveWire forum is now a program under a registered non-profit, IGNITE Initiatives (www.igniteinitatives.org), whose vision is to empower the next generation of influential leaders. We are excited about what the future holds!

6. Challenges faced.

Like earlier stated, the start of this forum was not planned. It really just happened. So, along the way when it became clear that we needed to keep going, my team and I had the challenge of deciding where we wanted it to go and how. We have had to go before God to give us direction and guidance. We have had to embark on Long term thinking and planning. This process is actually ongoing. I like what the future looks like. Our other burden and challenge has been follow up. In this kind of work, you must follow up on people and build support systems if you are to have long term and meaningful influence and impact. But because this is something we do part time and with a small team, it’s been a challenge. However, since we have decided to think long term, we are working on processes and systems to help us be more effective.

7.How does one join the forum?

LOL!!! you don’t have to recite any creed OR be a certain way. Are you a young person keen on making godly decisions on matters of love, relationships and marriage OR are you keen on discovering God’s purpose for your life and pursue it? Just attend one of the forums or join us on the WhatsApp group and you will officially be part of the family.

8.What advice do you give to youth who are struggling to find their purpose?

My first word would be breathe in and out and go easy on yourself. Every single person you see around you goes through that phase at some point in their life (especially those who seem to have it all together)! Now, you won’t believe it but your purpose is closer to you than you think. All you have to do is look around you and inside you. I believe and have come to appreciate that our purpose is woven intrinsically into every fibre of our lives by God our creator. Who you are; your personality, likes and dislikes and your experiences in life will quickly help you define your purpose if you take a close enough look. So a good place to begin is by asking the one who made you- God. In simple terms, pray about it.

9.Social media sites

Whatsapp: https://chat.whatsapp.com/KHHqtln3GQt1sJ541y1n1T

Facebook:https://web.facebook.com/groups/244871502271995/

Twitter: @LiveWireForum

Join us!!!

©Racheal Kizza 2017