‘People called me a thug for wearing dreadlocks’

Artiste Amani Amaniga  says he prefers shaving cream to wax on his grooming routine. Photo/Courtesy of Amaniga.

What you need to know:

  • My style. Asumani Byaruhanga Amani, aka Amani Amaniga, used to sing Jose Chameleone songs back in Primary Three. Using people’s beats, Amani graduated to making his music and he has become a household name in western Uganda. With his latest song Enkyengere, Amani Amaniga is honing his skill in playing musical instruments. The Omukiga w’omuniga singer talks about his style.

Have you ever been stereotyped for having dreadlocks?
Yes, they used to call me a thug when I was starting out.  I had not learnt to take care of them. When you do not eat right, you do not look good with hair.  Now, I look good with them. 

Back in 2019, when I cut off my  dreadlocks, people asked me what had happened. I also did not feel as good. So I regrew them .

What is it about dreadlocks?
They give one a sense of discipline. There are many things people without dreadlocks get away with. 

What do you mean?
When you have dreadlocks, you think twice about things such as fighting, even if it is about  winning battle. 

Also dreadlocks give me room to wear my hair in different styles. I love cutting my hair in the sides leaving a sort of mohawk.

And your  favourite style is....
 cornrows.

How do you maintain them?
I wash my hair thrice a week and only go to the salon when I am going to repair it. All factors constant, I repair my hair every three months. However, I always repair it when I have a show, a video or a photo shoot.

What hair product do you use?
I use coconut oil. And, I drink lots of fluids and eat healthy to keep my hair and skin healthy.

What do you think about impressions?
The way you present yourself is the way people will treat you. First impressions are important. Do not go in public smelling awfully. Dress well and smell good, that is a great style tip.

What is your favourite scent?
Club De Nuit by Dior a perfume that has a sophisticated woody, spicy fragrance with a bit of lemon, and pineapple. I also use Arabian Vanilla, an oil-based perfume.

Ever had a wardrobe malfunction?
Yes, a couple of times. When I am in a hurry, I wear my T-shirt inside out. When I find out, I leave it that way until I return home. I can never forget when I went out with different shoes. I picked the shoes by looking at the laces and figured it out at the hangout I had gone to. This was because I wear similar brands which are mainly told apart by their colour. After that, I keep each pair together so it does not happen again.

Oh! There is this one time I went to a party whose theme I did not know. I went in open shoes yet closed shoes were the entrance ticket. Because I did not want to miss it, I had to buy shoes from a nearby store. They were big on me because that was all they had that I liked. 

What is your favourite item in your wardrobe?
Shoes. There is a particular pair of purple and yellow Nike Air Jordan my most prized possession. I only wear them on rare occasions.

The other brands I wear apart from Jordans are Air Max and Air Force. I invest more in shoes than clothes. The cheapest pair is about Shs150, 000.

Do you have a specific designer?
No, if I believe something will look good on me, I acquire it. I may have different brands in my wardrobe but that would be because I loved how fit me.

Your beard, how do you care for it?
It grows fast and I get it  trimmed at least once a week  from the barbershop. I go for tapering (cutting side hair) once a month. 

Who is your role model?
Will Smith, an actor  and Tarrus Riley, a Jamaican American singer. 

Advice
• Water is life. Drink water and eat healthy food for a healthy body and skin. 

• Do not copy and paste. Not everything celebrities wear on  stage is fit for everyday life.

• Too much of anything is always bad; this includes alcohol (do not drink like you are in a competition).

• Bathe regularly, as this keeps you fresh in mind and body.  

Also, water  brings energy that tends to ward off negativity from one’s life; even by just drinking it.