In teacher Mpamire’s class, there is no time to doze

Saturday October 11 2014

By Lawrence Ogwal

From the time he stepped on stage, costume complete with the famous cowboy hat, 25-year-old Herbert Mendo Segujja made his mark on the comedy scene, mimicking President Yoweri Museveni.

He has over the years mimicked himself to fame both locally and internationally. However, for the comedian, diversity is everything, so this year, he decided to explore his creativity through a different character - Teacher Mpamire.
Teacher Mpamire was introduced to his fans last week in a show at Venom Beach Bar, dubbed Beach Comedy.

Segujja, a professional teacher, himself believes that fame is not essential to make a character desirable in this type of comedy, referred to as forming impression. “I can make a character famous instead of mimicking a famous character.

“Mr Arthur Mpamire from whom I derived the character used to be my European History teacher in 2002 at Greenlight High School in Zzana. I grew up liking his character and attitude,” he says, adding that he had an opportunity to teach with Mpamire later at Standard High School in Zzana. A partnership he believes enabled the students excel highly.

Crediting his studies at The American Comedy Institute in Comedy Performance and Writing, Segujja says he had an opportunity to brainstorm and figure out how he could form another character.

“Having studied a Bachelor’s degree in education at Makerere University, I thought of a unique and creative character that I would act in line with that. I therefore decided to marry comedy and education,” he says.

This is how he describes his source of inspiration. “Mr Mpamire is a teacher in whose class you can’t doze off, unlike other teachers. He teaches at the top of his voice and keeps on engaging the students to repeat after him.”

This was indeed incorporated into in Mendo’s performance; he kept the crowd active making them finish some of his sentences. Mendo will perform as Teacher Mpamire every end of the month with Fan Factory at National theatre. He plans on turning the character into a TV series in the near future.

Meet Teacher Mpamire
At the launch, Segujja took to the stage in his usual costume (big hat, the fully buttoned oversized shirt and the black army boots) as President Museveni when he was invited as the chief guest and amused the audience with his jokes. After a short break, the audience met Teacher Mpamire, a geeky looking man with a yellow shirt and formal flared pants that barely reached his ankles, showing off yellow socks and multicoloured canvas shoes.

“How are you class, my name is Teacher Mpamire and I will take you through this session,” he said, wearing a serious face characteristic of the real Arthur Mpamire. He opened his briefcase from which he picked some scholastic stuff and started explaining things on a white board. Humorously he covered topics like politics, Ugandan Music, the artiste and classroom issues, amongst others.