Many know Bulasio Zambaali, 33, for his deep broadcast voice on CBS FM and BBS Terefayina, but lately he is also sought out as the MC of choice at many affluent Ganda weddings, due to his quick wit and humour. Quick Talk caught up with him at the weekend:
Bulasio Zambaali…what a name!
Yeah, my name is special… Bulasio is [the Luganda version of] a Greek name, Blaise; Zambaali is a Luganda proverb: Zambaali Zasswa wa mbavu...
[He tries to explain the proverb but Quick Talk only gets lost and more confused.]
Ok! What is your typical day like?
I reach at CBS at 4:30am from Monday to Wednesday where I do a programme called Ag’okumpi n’ewala, from 6am to 9am. I read news every top of the hour and in the afternoon, I go to Ndejje University where I’m studying for a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations Management.
At 2pm, I have lunch and also help in news editing; at 4pm, I go for football training and at around 6pm, I go for choir practice… in between, I also go to BBS Terefayina to prepare for the news bulletin I read at 10pm.
That is a busy day, but hold up; did you say choir!?
[Brightens] I’m a Christian, by the way [He emphasizes he is a practicing Anglican]. I have a friend who gave me the idea to start a choir and with the help of the Rt Rev Kityo Luwalira [I sing].
[Bulasio sings with God-given Choir, based at St Peter’s CoU, Kawaala, Kazo archdeaconry - Namirembe diocese.]
Wow. The way you present yourself, you seem to also love comedy?
[Laughs:] I have been doing comedy since my Senior Six vacation with Diamond Ensemble, which was headed by Kato Lubwama (now MP); I used to admire Lubwama and Amooti Omubalanguzi. I used to find them funny.
By the way, it’s my grandmother who introduced me to comedy; she used to tell me that whenever I go to a place, I must make sure people notice that I’m present.
But when I started reading news on TV, I quit comedy for what I thought was professionalism… otherwise, me and comedy are inseparable.
But we have professional comedians.
Yes, but people cannot take you seriously in the news you read if they know you are a comedian.
You have diversified into being an MC?
[Laughs] You know a lot about me! Anyway, that’s my side business; you can’t be doing one job and get enough money.
MC, comedian, student, chorister, news anchor …
I’m a social person. I started being MC because of passion. I liked listening to people like Patricko Mujuuka, Mich Egwang and Roger Mugisha. They were good but [too] serious at what they did; so, I had to create a niche where I added comedy to the protocol at ceremonies. [Quick Talk has seen Bulasio officiating a wedding; he is rib-cracking funny.]
How many MC gigs do you have a month?
It depends; there are many gigs in December. By the way, I don’t do introduction ceremonies, because they are predictable and monotonous.
How much do you charge per session?
Shs 2m but off season Shs 1m; for people like you and my friends [laughs] we can negotiate…
Any memorable MC job you have done?
There was one I did for the Seroma family. Although I was in the USA, they paid for my ticket to return and also paid me for the work. It was very intimidating.
The wedding had many dignitaries including [Speaker] Rebecca Kadaga, [former KCCA ED] Jennifer Musisi… but I did my thing and by the end of the function, everybody thanked me and was asking for my business card.
Another was for the Buganda Kingdom official John W. Katende’s daughter; at the end of the day, I even received a handshake from the queen of Buganda.
And the worst?
I had two weddings at the same time; although one had been booked earlier, I forgot about it and booked a second gig… you can imagine! Anyway only God knows how I [pulled both of them off].
Bulasio on TV is different from the MC!
Everything has its time; on TV it is serious business but at ceremonies it’s all about laughs... I’m a jolly person naturally.
What don’t people know about you?
That I’m tough! I’m very tough at home, but I rarely portray it in public. I don’t like being undermined; I go nuts and we can fight over that. And people don’t know about my family.
By the way, are you married?
No! I’m in a relationship, but not married.
Who is that lucky lady?
[Laughs] I can’t tell you about her, but we have been dating for eight years but not officially married. I have two children; a boy and a girl.
So, why aren’t you marrying your baby mama?
The mother of one of my children is in the USA, the other one is here.
So, pick one!
Hahaha… the one in the USA doesn’t want to come back. I don’t believe in long-distance relationships … So, I either go or she comes, it seems none of us can sacrifice their career for a relationship.
And the kids; do you have time for them?
No. I’m sorry for that, but I just struggle.
You have a really good voice and sense of humour; don’t women hit on you?
Yeah, man! They do, but it’s an individual who decides.
Funny man, what memories do you have growing up?
Going to school without hope of going beyond S4, because my auntie did not have money. But when I passed S4 in Semuto and she saw how parents of best students were treated like kings, she had to look for money.
I got an admission to Mubende Teachers Training College and my aunt even paid tuition, but I didn’t go… so, my aunt disowned me.
Then [I remember] my uncle who was paying my tuition at university suddenly dying… and the day I was forced to read news, yet I was a mere presenter; this opened life opportunities in radio.
And there is the day Maj. Gen. Kasirye Gwanga gave me Shs 100,000 which I used to secure a place at United Media Consultants and Trainers (UMCAT), where I did my diploma in Journalism.
Have you ever done the English bulletin?
English news! It’s no no no; some of us who learnt English in adulthood, our English is wanting. I don’t want to make mistakes.
Hahaha! But which are these schools that you went to?
Ahh. I went to St Mary’s primary school, Jinja; Kasawo Mubanda and Ekijaguzo primary schools where I did my PLE.
Then I joined St Denis Sebugwawo Secondary School for O-level, Kazo Hill College for my A-level before joining Makerere University where I dropped out in my second year while studying a degree in Tourism [when the uncle died]. Later I joined UMCAT for a Diploma in Journalism. Currently I’m pursuing a degree in Public Relations Management.
Zambaali was born in 1986 to John Wilson Sesawule (RIP) and Mama Florence Sarah Namusisi Nakalembe in Semuto, Luweero district.