A real man is he who builds for his family - Mickie Wine

Mickie Wine has been building this house for five years now. He says this house is a fruit of hard work, persistence and the need to prove to some people that he is not a loser. Photo by Edgar R Batte.

What you need to know:

Born Michael Mukwaya, a young brother of Bobi Wine, Mickie Wine is a local artiste behind songs such as Yanimba, his breakout hit with Eddy Kenzo. Other hits are Namata and Owakabi among others. From childhood, he knew that one only becomes a man when he owns a house. That kept him working hard and many times sacrificing to make sure he achieves the dream. He spoke to Edgar R Batte about how he built his house.

First, I have to tell you that I love my country. From childhood, I always knew that in order to become a real man, you must have a home and family. I promised myself that when I started a family, I would have a roof over their head.
So when my girlfriend conceived, I remembered all this and realised that a real father should be ready to build a home for his children. From that point on, I pulled up my socks. The pressure was to much that I had to move in before it was complete. At the time, only one room was habitable. I was so anxious to stay in my house. This was about four years ago.

BUYING LAND

When I realised the need to build a house in 2011, the most important thing was that I put my whole heart in the project so every penny I got was invested in paying for the land. The land is three acres and I paid Shs30m for each acre. So in total, I paid Shs90m.


Even when I knew where I wanted to build, I had no idea of the availability of land in that area but it was my elder sister who helped me identify the land. I liked it because it was near my big brother; Bobi Wine’s home in Magele on Gayaza Road. At the time, the neighbourhood was rural with gardens and trees.
While the land was quite expensive, I was hopeful that I would be able to buy it. So being an artiste, much of the money I got was from music shows and I was strong in injecting money into the land because it was something I had envisioned doing.


I also had a point to prove because many people looked at me as a loser. I wanted to show them that there was a winner in me.
Besides my elder sister, the other person with whom I shared my dream to buy land was Bobi Wine since he is my big brother and neighbour. I called him up when I was going to make the first payment on land. He did not know about my plans.


He only got to know about it that day. He was surprised and I could see the disbelief on his face. He thought that I could not afford land about 10 miles from his property. I am happy that I surprised him.
Even as we travelled to see the land, he thought it was a joke. When we got there, he did not know I was paying for three acres of land.
My first payment was Shs47m, which I had saved for a while. I paid the balance in a period of one year.

THE PLAN

My plan was not the way usual plans are drawn. It is something that was set up abruptly before we could start on the construction. I had acquired the land but did not have enough money to start the construction process but this did not stop me.
The person who drew the plan was a friend called Sam. I wanted many rooms so he planned for a house with 13 rooms.


It has a sitting room, dining room, kitchen, store, two visitors’ rooms, master bedroom, sons’ room, daughters’ room, maid’s room, two bathrooms and the house bar.
It is a double-storeyed house though from the outside, you cannot know. I built it in the British style, with no doors upstairs. It only has large windows.

CONSTRUCTING AND MOVING IN

After completing the payment for the land in 2012, I was able to start saving to begin on the construction. When I started constructing, I did not have all the money, I just decided to start anyway. I was ready for the ups and downs at the time.


I continued working hard and I did not leave the work to the workers. I actively participated in the building routines.
I knew I did not have a father or mother that could come and help me with funds to get the construction process going or continuing. I practically had no one to turn to even when materials run out.
When I got into one of the rooms of the unfinished house, I was happy that I was not spending money on paying rent so the money I would pay for rent would help me do a few other things.


At the time, there were people who laughed at me for being an artiste and living in an unfinished house.
I decided to stay focussed on my plan to finish the house and save by staying in an unfinished house. One thing I was sure of is that God never forgets his people and I trusted Him.


I did not do things the usual way. I did not even construct the house in phases.
I would build every time I got some money to do something.


One thing I have not kept record of, are the costs because they would discourage me. To-date, I am still investing money because the house is not complete.


As I work on the house, I am also working on the exterior, my compound. I love flowers and trees and I have planted some already, which makes the house homely.
I have some hanging flowers around the house, particularly at the entrance, and along the staircase. There is much more to do on finishing.


From the money I make, I make sure I save more than 60 per cent, always. And I can save by being financially disciplined and exercising self-control. I still get inspired looking at the homes of Bobi Wine and Ham, of Ham Towers. Their houses are stylish and the people who designed them took time. Right now, I live in my house with my family; my girlfriend, son, brother and sister.


I am at the finishing stage and I like unique things, for example, there is a certain type of dining table I would like to have in my dining room and the way the whole room should reflect beauty since this is the place where we have our meals as a family.

LESSONS

Supervise. I have supervised all this. The construction process has taught me how to mix sand and cement in the right quantities. You will find me pushing bricks on a wheelbarrow to where the builders want them. This has taught me so much besides saving on labour costs.
Work hard. I like the Luganda saying which goes Kola nga omuddu olye nga omwami, loosely translated as one has to work like a slave in order to enjoy the fruits of their sweat.


Participate. Today I know that if a builder uses or mixes less cement in sand then that can affect the strength of the house. I know how many wheelbarrows of sand can be mixed in a bag of cement.
Learn from others. I started engaging in building my house when I heard stories of builders stealing materials. It came true at my site when builders would steal my cement and keep lying to me that would work yet they would skip working on some days.


Be present. I did not want to work hard and be frustrated, so I moved in and whenever I had time, I participated in building. I would juggle this with my music career. My performance fee in Kampala is Shs1m and higher for upcountry performances. I charge Shs3m.

The numbers

Shs90m
Price at which he bought the three acres of land on which his house sits.

13
Number of rooms in Mickie Wine’s house

Shs47m
First deposit on the plot of land

5 years
Number of years he has been constructing his house

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