What led you into hairdressing?
Since my childhood, I have always wanted to do a job that gives me freedom. I saw how John Katende the founder of Ebonies had freedom at work. He is one of the people who inspired me while I was still acting with the Ebonies. It is because of him that I learnt that someone can only get freedom at work while self-employed.
How did you get into the Ebonies?
At the age of 10 in 1997, I was the youngest actor in the Ebonies in their play titled That’s Life Mwattu. I joined after seeing a contact on TV, I called and they liked me after the interview. I left Ebonies in 2003 when my parents realised it was taking over school.
Where did you get the money to start a salon?
I come from a family that was financially well off. While at Campus, I always had money although I used to drink too much but I was working as a site manager at one of the family sites. It was from there that I managed to secure Shs800,000 to start a salon.
Why did you close shop later?
When the salon had picked up, my parents sent me to Liberia to run their errands but when I came back, the salon had collapsed because customers wanted me and not any other person to work on them. I was disappointed. I closed shop in 2011 and decided to go to China because I used to hear many stories about it being a super power.
Why did you go to China?
Well, I wanted to go and make ends meet although I did not know anyone there. I believe in working hard and not depending on family. I first went to Japan but I did not know anyone, the only people that I could easily relate with were the Ugandan prostitutes working in Japan.
How did you meet these Prostitutes?
While in Japan, I was moving around the streets trying to figure out where to start. It was then I saw black people and realised they were speaking Luganda. I approached them and we connected after telling them I had gone to hustle in Japan.
Did the prostitutes introduce you to their business?
I was not into prostitution but I was staying with them. We all lived in one house so one day as they were preparing to hit the streets for work, one of them wanted their hair fixed but the friend could not do it well. I told them I could help and I did it well. From then, I started doing their hair at a low cost. I did it for one month before moving to Beijing in China.
In China, where did you start?
Since my calling was in salon business, I looked for a salon job but did not find any salon for Blacks. I decided to move door to door doing hair for black people from different countries living in China. I would cut hair, do dreads among other hairstyles. I did this for about three months until I found a Jamaican salon, it was the coolest salon for foreigners, I worked there for one year and quit in 2014.
Why did you quit work at the cool salon?
While at the salon, I met a Nigerian footballer called Peter Utaka who was playing football in Beijing. He made me his personal manager and because he used to pay me a lot of money, I had to follow him and move with him everywhere. After one year, he was transferred to Japan and he wanted to go with me but I refused after realising my dream was dying, I had never dreamed of being a personal assistant.
Did you go back to the Jamaican salon?
I had saved enough money working with Utaka and decided to partner with an Arab. We started a salon for black people and Arabs. I left the business running in December 2015 and decided to come and check on people back home.
Did you think you would return to China after touching down in Uganda?
Yes, I had left a business in China and I would only be in Uganda for a short time and go back. I came with my ex-wife Hayan Zziwa, a Chinese whom I married in a civil ceremony in 2014 but she left me in 2017.
Why did she leave you?
When I came back to Uganda, I realised that I could start another salon here and saw no value in going back. My wife was okay with it but then I decided to enjoy life to the fullest. I started doing drugs and drinking excessively. I became a useless person and my wife left me. We are no longer in touch.
What was life like after Hayan?
Life moved on well and the salon HairByZziwa was running. Clients were coming in. My only regret is the excessive drinking that led me to Butabika Rehabilitation Centre last year. I would drink and become a nuisance, fight in the salon with workers and have random sex among other things.
Have you found love after Hayan?
Unfortunately, apart from the random sex I used to have as an addict, I have not fallen in love again but when chance comes, I will embrace it and fall in love.
What kind of woman would you want to date?
I want a woman with brains, I do not care about how they look because I work in a salon, and I can make them beautiful.
What kind of women do you hate?
I hate women who ask me for transport to come and visit.
my salon training
“While at university, I would spare sometime and go to Tiner School of Beauty where I enrolled in a hairdressing course for six months. After six months, I did not want to be considered a fake salon owner so I decided to start business in Gayaza where I thought people were not so informed. Fortunately, I was known in Gayaza because that is where my family lived. My first salon in Gayaza had no name. I was a humble hairdresser cutting hair for as little as Shs300 and I had very many customers. I run the salon for one year and closed shop in 2011.”