Ugandan actress Nisha Kalema showed that she is a star in her own right after her stellar performance in the urban drama Galz About Town, which premiered last Friday at Bat Valley theatre in Kampala.
The 21-year-old’s turnout was the only thing to smile about at the event, which had all the hallmarks of a Ugandan movie premiere.
The movie was slated to start at 7pm but kicked off two hours late, and a technical problem cut the movie short at 10:39pm, forcing MC Charles Bukenya ‘Muvawala’ to bring the DVD auction forward.
Kalema, a journalism student with only one previous film credit to her name, nonetheless won plaudits for her real, almost flawless portrayal of Clara, the leader of three girls engaged in high-end prostitution.
The film boasts a strong supporting cast including Damalie Orishaba and Fausta Nanziri. The others are; Ronnie Lujjumba, Jakirah Ssudi, Denis Josiah and Farouq Mutebi.
Guests that included former Vice-President, Gilbert Bukenya, and former Kampala mayor Nasser Ntege Ssebagala, heaped praise on Kalema, not only for her role in the movie, but off it as well. She reportedly displayed tenacity and determination in the way she got the duo to come to the premiere.
“I was coming from a DP (Democratic Party) ceremony, when someone on a boda boda stopped me, and when I got out, she asked me to come to this event. When I looked at [Kalema], I decided I would not miss the show for anything,” Bukenya told guests, amidst applause.
Her heroics turned out to be worth the effort as Bukenya bought the DVD at Shs 1m and Sebbagala paid Shs 500,000.
In total, Shs 3.5m was raised during the auction and director Hassan Mageye won a scholarship from Kampala Film School, an affiliate of Kampala University. The event drew respectable numbers and was streamed live on the internet by Plus 256 studios.
The film’s story rotates around three girls, who have just left university, but due to lack of jobs and the pressures of life on their shoulders, resort to prostitution to lead the lives they desire.
Mageye, last year’s winner of Best East African Film at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (Ziff), has won critical acclaim for the film, a depiction of today’s society, where the predominantly young population go to all extremes to survive, in a country with a highly educated citizenry competing for very few jobs.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Observer newspaper.