Kasule Douglas Benda is a new name to watch out for on the entertainment scene, especially the film industry. Capital FM’s Annah Nafula met Kasule for chat about work and the arts in Uganda.
He is of medium height, small bodied and a dark skinned 26 year old gentle man. The dreadlocks are not a sight you will miss too. On a lighter note, we kick off our conversation with a teaser of why this award winner has not shown up with his latest award. It turns out I am wrong, he checks his backpack and shows it off.
He subconsciously did his first directing at a school play. “During one Music Dance and Drama season in high school, I was among those who were just watching on while others were acting and dancing. I noticed a few things were amiss in my house’s play. I recall telling our house patron, Mr. Kirebwe, to fix them. My ideas were used and our play came second in the competition,” narrates Kasule.
That was the birth of my awareness; Kasule now knew the arts would be something he would be willing to pursue in the long run. At St. Peters Nsambya, he met Kiyiga Andrew who was a member of the Bakayimbira. He walked up to him and asked to joins him during holidays so as to polish his talent.
“In my senior four vacation, my parents allowed me to go spend time with the Bakayimbira, I wasn’t participating in any plays but I was just hanging out with these actors and learning everything I could. My mom always gave me transport though I wasn’t actively participating,” recalls Kasule.
Fast forward, he joined Makerere where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in Drama and Film. While studying there, he managed to get his first role in a TV drama series that was happening then on NTV, titled Tricksters. It was a nice opportunity for Kasule because it was his first paid job in the arts business. “I was paid fifty thousand on my first act. I was so excited and just couldn’t wait for the show to air,” Kasule recollects.
The Tricksters show was a kick start to Kasule’s acting career. After this big break, Kasule was invited to act in the proceeding show which was Katemba mu Kooti. The young man acted in several radio dramas like Rockpoint 256, Makomere, Oli steady among others. “At this point money was coming through and it was all good,” he says.
After school, it was a bit tough for the young actor. He badly wanted to focus on acting because all he envisioned himself was a famous and prominent actor. It was heart breaking when reality set in for Kasule as he could not get payable gigs in several months. I got desperate. I was thrown out of my house and had to go back home to my parents.
“I was scorned by neighbors who often told their children to study what was important. Not to be like me who had wasted my parent’s fees studying what wouldn’t pay off,” explains Kasule.
He adds, “Later on, I figured out a way and got back on my feet. Finding people who believe in my dream has played a big part in my career. Today, I have worked on quite a number of films, some of which have won awards and others have been nominated in different parts of the world. I also own a talents management company called Benda Bookings that has signed several actors and actresses.
I am at a part in my life where more than ever I am convinced that the Ugandan film industry is growing for the better.” Though not without trials, film makers are stepping out to the challenges and improving by the day. So are the actors and all the key players. I believe there is a bright future for Ugandan films.
Today, the severally nominated film maker delights in film and lives off it. “I am more proud of Ugandan films ,” asserts Kasule.