Former Miss Uganda contestant and now Mrs Bebe Cool, Zuena Kirema, is a presenter at NTV.
She surprises Quick Talk first, by lugging a huge cable to the NTV offices – she is from conducting an interview for Life Stories – Quick Talk thought she was too cool to lug cables around.
Then, by wearing a long black dress, maroon sweater and a veil on her head. Yes, she is a Muslim but… let’s say Quick Talk thought she was all for showing off a lot of skin. And she is so calm and soft-spoken. And she prefers to speak Luganda. We conduct the interview in English, though.
You are so calm… .
[Smiling] So many people who meet me see the opposite of what they expected. They expect to see this mad person who puts up her arms while dancing in club. But I am not like that. I have been like this [soft-spoken and calm] since I was young.
I am surprised. I thought with a husband like yours, you would be loud and aggressive.
You know he is not like the picture he portrays in public. Because of his career, he has to act like he is in charge. But he is different at home he is caring and kind.
How old were you when you guys got married?
I met my husband when I was 16. We did a civil wedding when I was pregnant with my first baby, at 18. After I gave birth, I went back to school I would go with the baby to school.
He was three weeks old and sometimes, my husband would come with me. He would sit in the car with the baby and when [the baby] wanted to breastfeed, he would contact me over the phone. I would ask the lecturer to go out and breastfeed. Sometimes when I would finish breastfeeding, he (Bebe) would burp the baby. [Zuena says she attended a university in Lubowa, near Roofings Ltd.]
Weren’t you scared to get married to a man like him?
You know when he told me he loved me and wanted to be with me, I looked at this dreadlocked musician and thought: he just wants to sleep with me and go to other girls.
[She is wearing the look – sceptical and disdainful – as she remembers the “dreadlocked muyaaye (lumpen) musician” aka Bebe Cool who approached her.]
I accepted to go on a date with him and he was telling me mature things. I thought: now this muyaaye has a good way of talking! He talked about settling down and making babies. We went on more dates and I fell in love with him. He used to give me good aice. I was Miss Bell and he would aise me on what to wear when going to meetings.
Aaah, he really got to you. No wonder you call yourself Zuena Cool. But what kind of name is that?!
[Laughs self-consciously. Clearly, she is a little shy about such a name.] That is on Facebook. I used to call myself Zuena Kirema but then I decided to be a supportive wife.
Speaking of being a supportive wife, what has the transition from being a full-time housewife to working mother been like?
I used to do baking I still do. You know my husband is 100 per cent jealous. If we are in the car and a guy looks at me, he gets angry. [Yiiyii, banange.] I had to accept this and decided to do something that would keep me at home. I love cooking and baking so, I decided to bake.
I went to my sister-in-law who helped me perfect baking. I did it for friends who brought their friends. My husband saw that I wanted to work and when he heard about the job at NTV (presenting Life Stories), he told me about it. About balancing, I’m not at work from Monday to Sunday so, I still have time for my family.
Away from all this talk about your husband and family. People say you are not-so-bright. Mbu you are all beauty and not brilliant. Have you heard them?
[Unbothered] Yes. I’ve seen [that] on Facebook. At first, I broke down when I heard it. But my husband told me: “If you listen to what everyone says, you will break down. We know who you are. You are a good mother and are bright.” This job has helped me. People have seen me for what I am.
That’s wonderful. What is your favourite food?
Posho and beans [hmm. Another shocker: her favourite food is not sushi… ?!]
[Laughing self-consciously] Yes. I like it with a little avocado and greens. Sometimes I go home when the maid has prepared something else and I make [the posho] for myself.
Uh, such a school meal! Not many people like it. Do you drink alcohol?
What’s your favourite drink?
Black. You also write white.
What’s your favourite song by your husband?
Nkwagala. But there is this new song he has done too. It is nice. It is showing on Channel O, MTV and Trace. [She could not mention the song title.]
What is your favourite Ugandan song, outside your husband’s songs?
Zuena [by Mowzey Radio and Weasel! Is there a limit to this girl’s surprises?]
Really? I thought it was sung to anger your husband.
They are praising me. I liked that I could inspire a whole song. I felt special.
Do you know that some taxis (minivans) bear your name?
Yes. People take pictures and WhatsApp them. I feel good to have inspired people. I like that some people have a good picture of me away from the tabloids.
Do you do marijuana?
[Giving Quick Talk a scalded, shocked look] No.
Finally, what is the colour of underwear you are wearing right now?
Uh, do I have to say? [Quick Talk stays silent, so Zuena says:] Black. You know I was going to peep because I couldn’t remember but then I remembered.
Source : The Observer