Africa's queen of Comedy’, Kansiime Anne is a Ugandan comedian most famous for her show 'Don't mess with Kansiime'. Kansiime has been in the industry for close to ten years, beating many odds to make it in the male-dominated world of comedy. Some fans fondly refer to her as 'Ninja', others as 'Uganda's greatest entertainment export'. Kansiime has proven that through talent and hard work, even a girl from the rural area can make it big in the urban world
Kansiime grew up in Kabale in the Western part of Uganda. Her mother Mrs. Kubiryaba, was a stay home mum who attempted business and failed occasionally but never gave up. Her father Mr. Kubiryaba, was a banker.
Kansiime went to Kabale Primary School for seven years. “I never repeated a class, wasn't the first neither was I the last in class. I didn’t hate school enough to miss class. I was small but I was a bully, making it difficult for everyone at school. The kind of bully that jumps at you, bites you, then runs to the teacher and hides behind them saying you want to beat them yet they are the ones who started the fight. As I grew up, I changed and rarely got into problems at school,” she explains.
She loved playing the usual outdoor games like Dodgeball, hide and seek, bouncing off each other, "Daddy and mummy" (which is where they found out the difference between boys and girls). She remembers cooking in empty metallic margarine tins. “I lived the real organic authentic Ugandan African life.
I wasn't that creative to come up with my own activities, I took part in everything other kids did,” she adds.
As a child, she was given the opportunity to learn, make her own mistakes, play outside, fall and come back with a broken leg. She believes that growing up like this helped her learn how to relate with people in a community setting and to share.
What do you love about being a comedian?
The fact that it is something I am truly passionate about and enjoy doing. Every day is a new experience and I love the people that I have meet through this work.
Most memorable moment?
They have been many and I believe the best is yet to come. Among the special ones was meeting the Queen of England and receiving my first award. It was then that I realized that what I did was being watched, recognized and appreciated.
What lessons have you learnt so far? You are only as good as your last work so never settle at your current level. Keep growing and learning. Be grateful always, try to complain less because no matter how hard the situation is, there is always a positive- it could have been worse!
What challenges do you face?
My greatest challenge now is how to stay relevant and better than the Kansiime the world has come to love.
What does it take to be in comedy?
Talent, passion and hard work. If one is thinking of joining comedy just for the money, then they are setting themselves up for a difficult time.
Which other comedians do you think are doing great work?
All the characters, actors and actresses in Fun Factory. They all have powerful profiles as individuals and are extremely funny yet they manage to work together and excel at it.
How do you give back to your community?
I started the Kansiime Foundation- an NGO that seeks out academically excellent children who are from disadvantaged and financially handicapped families. We mentor and help them through school. It started in 2016 with thirty children and we hope to keep increasing the number over time as God empowers us.
What tips would you give BINGWA readers planning to get into comedy?
Discover who you are and how you want to represent yourself and stick to it. Never try to be like anyone else. Your uniqueness is your strength.
What can you tell BINGWA readers about accomplishing their goals?
Once you have set your goals, just keep your eyes glued to them as you work. Giving up is not an option. Only you can bring them to life.
What are your views on corruption?
It is a pity that it is eating up Africa this much because my belief is that we actually have enough to go around for everyone if only the corruption would stop.
What are your views on honesty and integrity? One can't be honest and have integrity just to please others. It is a personal choice and unless we keep checking our personal conscience, we will so easily lose it.
What are your views on child rights?
We are the ones to stand up for child rights. God didn't give adults stronger voices and personalities by mistake.
Role model: My mum. Without her, the character Kansiime would not exist because that character is my mum in real life.
My future plans: I am not about to stop doing what I am doing although I hope to produce a great body of work such that at some point I can afford to slow down a little.
Favourite saying: The best kind of job in life is the kind you do without knowing you are working until you receive your paycheck.
Favourite subjects: Back in school, it was Mathematics. However, my favourite subject of discussion outside of class was whatever we had read in those Mills and Boon novels. We were so fascinated by that kind of romance and drama because we knew how far away it was for us. We had been warned about relationships, so that is all we had.
Favourite colour: Red.
Favourite music: Country music.
Favourite program, cartoon or movies: The Ellen Degeneres Show, Tom & Jerry and Mr. Bean movies.
Favourite magazine, book or author: I simply read what fascinates me at that moment.
Interview by Levin Sentongo.
First published in BINGWA Magazine Issue 17 2016