Solomon Sserwanja, the Scientist Who Does News

Quick Talk meets with NTV news anchorreporter Solomon Sserwanja, who mentions he studied PCB at A-level [interesting for a guy in the media] and was born at home in Entebbe, Abayita Ababiri.

This is even more interesting children born in 1986, in urban areas, did not ordinarily get birthed in homes, or banana plantations!

Why were you born at home?

I am told my mother was heavy and couldn’t make it to the hospital. She passed away in June 2012, by the way [oh, sorry].

What was your childhood like?

I grew up with my grandmother in Ntinda and I was a special child. She would do everything for me. She would wash my uniform and buy for me sliced bread for breakfast. While the others were eating lumonde (potatoes) for breakfast, I would have bread.

She used to work at Mulago (hospital) and when she worked the night shift, she would come home with bread, a banana and an egg and she would call me to her room and give me tea and the [snacks].

Hahaha! Hiding you to eat!

I was that child parents get in their twilight years [omwana ow’obukadde, the Baganda would say]. Other children gardened but I did not. I remember they would pray over me if I was going to do exams and when I joined boarding school for secondary, I remember we all cried – my grandfather, grandmother and I.

Yiiyii… you guys made such a farce! You got a lot of love and so you must have a lot of love to give. Would you want to be polygamous to, you know, share the love?

[Frowning] Polygamy? No.

Why not?

It destroys families. I will give my lot of love to my wife and if she tells me she is tired and that I should give it away, then I will.

Have you ever cheated?

Ever since I got with Viv, [his wife] no.

Ok. What is your favourite food?

I love pork, rice and French beans. Do you eat pork? [Quick Talk says she does, prompting Sserwanja to say:] I love those ribs. You could maybe add a bit of Irish (potatoes) to that.

Do you cook?

Yeah. It’s actually one of my hobbies. I watch the cooking show on NTV and did Food and Nutrition so I help my mukyala [wife] out.

What is your favourite colour?

Purple. It’s royal and magical. It makes things appear different and is relaxing.

Uuuuhm! [Hesitant to accept his summations on the colour purple]

Yes. Have you seen a woman who has worn it and they are not smart?

I don’t watch women the way men do, Solomon!

Haha, I also like pink. It is a feminine colour but I like it. I may wear pink and then purple. Some people posted on Facebook one time asking, “What’s with this news anchor who likes pink?”

The things people notice! So, can I safely say you have a lot of pink and purple underwear, seeing as you love those colours?

Uhmmm, let me see… I don’t [good, Quick Talk thinks. That would be freaky.]

Pink underwear on a man is uh-uh. Which news anchor do you aspire to be like?

Kamal Santa Maria on Al Jazeera. There is also this female anchor … I forget her name…

You can certainly remember who Uganda’s most beautiful female MP is, though.

Let’s see, I am going to tell you the MP who combines beauty with a cause, and that’s Betty Amongin. There is also Suzan Nakawuki, but no, no, no I had forgotten the most beautiful: Barbara Oundo Nekesa. The most brilliant is Alice Alaso.

You know your MPs. When is the last time you cried?

I cry a lot. I am an emotional guy. I cry when I am hurt [not a surprise, with all that spoiling from the jjajjas… ].

Hahaha, I see our headline being ‘NTV’s Solomon Sserwanja cries a lot’. When is the last time you cried though?

We are in November? I think I cried in September. It was over a family issue. Of course I don’t cry when people are seeing.

What is the least romantic thing you have done?

Not calling my wife everyday.

You call her every day?!

[Sadly] I would love to, to check on how she is doing. I get so busy sometimes I don’t call. [Hmm some men bite off their wives’ lips and still don’t feel guilty, and here is this one fussing over not calling… ]

What do you like about reading news?

The whole feeling that it is your moment to shine that you are shouldering the organisation’s whole (news) product and that everyone, from Karamoja to Kasese to Central is watching.

What do you dislike?

It is disturbing to schedule an appointment with someone and they don’t show up. Stories that need analysts, who should be experts, can also be bothersome because some do not want to talk on camera.

[In disbelief:] They will tell you: “If you want, you record my voice,” and you are like, Jesus, this is TV we are talking about. We need images. Other (would-be) analysts tell you [Lowering his voice like they do:] “I’m just telling you off record” yet you need them to be on record. You end up having the same analysts.

The final question: if you were allowed to keep only one memory, which one would you keep?

That of the birth of our first child. It was a difficult birth and it is part of the reason I love my wife very much. She was in labour for 36 hours and we were aised to take walks… .she would tell me to massage her back… .It was tough.

Source : The Observer

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