Thursday, 02 July 2009 08:14
With Ugandan TV taking on a new look and the competition soaring, the quality of presenters has also improved both in terms of looks and performance.
Because news anchors have to come to our sitting rooms in the mornings, afternoons and evenings, programme directors have come up with all sorts of innovations to keep our fingers off the remote control.
WBS TV decided to dress their Luganda news anchors in busuuti (Buganda's traditional garb), NTV started preening their anchors exceptionally. But human beings being human, sometimes we end up watching the anchor and not the news. There are people you will find glued to the TV during the news hour, but if you asked them what was in the news, they would have no answer.
Below, IRENE KIIZA explores some of the faces that make an impression on us.Rosemary Nankabirwa
NTV’s Rosemary Nankabirwa is not only a sharp dresser, but she also has saintly Chinese eyes. She cuts this exotic look that is far from the sound of her name. When she says, “I am Rosemary Nankabirwa,” one wonders if they heard her right. That name for that face? There must be a mistake. But NO! She is the Rosemary that also hosts Money Matters, a business magazine that shows once-a-week on NTV.
Some say Nankabirwa, who speaks fluent Kiswahili and Luganda too, is arrogant, but others describe her as an intelligent and brutally honest girl. Just a tip: Don’t call her Rose. She is Rosemary. No questions.
WBS’s Brenda Nabiryo has been anchoring for a while. Probably that’s why we are used to her sweet clear voice. Brenda is one of the young people that took up news anchoring at a time viewers were used to veterans like Bbale Francis, Beatrice Akello and Lucy Banya. Nabiryo is articulate and rarely gets tongue slips. Unlike many anchors, whenever anything goes wrong, Brenda will always say: “We do apologise for that!” Viewers have watched her change her marital status (she is wife to marketer Apollo Muyanja), dress sizes, and family size, which make her all the more endearing to a TV audience. Josephine Karungi
This towering beauty is relatively new at NTV. Sometimes she comes off as a camera-shy person. Catherine looks good in trousers, but if wishes were horses, it would have been best to always watch her in skirts, especially the ones with little frills at the bottom. Together with Farai Makutuya, they make a good pair. Especially if one pays attention to the rhyme-like sound they end up producing as they go about their job. For some reason there is less drama from Makutuya when he is with her.
Jackie Lumbasi is UBC’s news anchor, who will always wear a wig. It turns out Lumbasi has dreadlocks, so she cannot go on air without a wig considering that the hairdo has not yet been that acceptable in our society. Lumbasi always wears makeup, mainly heavy eye shadow on the screen, yet when you bump into her on the streets, she is this happy go-lucky girl with no makeup. From the heavily primped news anchor to this dreadlocked girl with only moisturizer for makeup, they are but two Jackies.
Lumbasi also works for Capital Radio. Her deep voice also grants her a distinctiveness that sets her apart.
This lovely girl started off at Top TV and also sometimes veers into singing. She now anchors WBS TV news. Emily’s hair is always in place and I could swear that I have never seen a pimple on her face.
However, Emily more often than not has nasal congestion, something which spoils the broth. But whatever it is, she is still a darling to many viewers. “With that set of teeth,” a corporate guy says, “I will still watch, whether I can make out what she is saying or not.”
This slender sweet faced Luganda newscaster on WBS TV sounds like she belongs to the old Radio Uganda clique. But her face and smile give her away. Not even the busuuti she wears, as station policy for Luganda news anchors, can help add any maturity to her appearance.
Occasionally she ends with a word of counsel to viewers, but because of her appearance the urge to ask her to just stay beautiful and leave counselling to other people, is strong. Maurice Mugisha
He is the heart-melting NTV anchor that usually pairs with Rosemary Nankabirwa on the English news. Apart from being handsome, tall and owning a voice to kill for, Mugisha is also married to UBC TV’s Irene Birungi Mugisha. And marriage makes men look more attractive than they could probably guess. He cuts this “I am serious about whatever I do, but also desire peace in all aspects.” I am sure there are more women watching NTV because well, “Maurice is reading!” Daniel Arap Moi
Daniel Arap Moi shares all names with Kenya’s former President; probably this explains why he became popular faster than one would ordinarily expect. When one hears him say, “I am Daniel Arap Moi”, it certainly makes one look up. There is a time I waited for him to tell us his ‘real’ name.
Moi loves what he is doing. Apart from relaying the WBS TV news he is also quite entertaining. Occasionally flashing a million-dollar smile, the bellow in his voice is a great addition to the WBS news team.
Previously Pamela Nalugwa, this Luganda news anchor on NTV went away for some weeks and returned only to shock us with: “Omusomi ndi Hatima Ssekaaya. (I am Hatima Ssekaaya)” Probably that was a way of announcing that she is married to one Ssekaaya, a Muslim. Hatima is eloquent, soft and sometimes sounds quite like a disciplinarian. Although almost always in dark suits, there is something about her that will keep one glued to NTV.
Hatima and Faridah Nakazibwe, also a Luganda news anchor at the same station, bear a unique resemblance that a person who rarely watches Luganda news could easily mistake one for the other. The fact that Nakazibwe too likes wearing grey and brown suits compounds matters.