The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Babe of the Week - Kyatuhaire, Television's Teen Icon

When Kleith Kathy Kyatuhaire was young, she dreamt of being on television.

But her mother dissuaded her from chasing the dream although this simply fuelled her drive further. Once, when her mother left for the salon on a Saturday, Kyatuhaire's big sister gave her Shs 5,000 for transport to the TV station.

he was 16 and risked rocking her relationship with her mother - they didn't speak for long. Her mother worried about all the attention her little girl would get from the media. Today, Kyatuhaire presents T-nation on NTV, a teenagers' programme that airs on Saturday at 11am for an hour.

"In the beginning, I never thought about payment. I loved television since I was a child and believed that one day I would be there," she says.

Kyatuhaire attended St Mary's Secondary School Kitende for her O-level. And it was during her S.4 vacation that she met Humphrey Nabimanya, a presenter of Youth Voice, a programme on NBS through her sister.

She then joined television as part of the Youth Voice team, together with Humphrey and Pizzo, who now presents NBS' Art in Music programme. After her vacation, Kyatuhaire looked for a new school for A-level and Nabimanya advised her to join Namirembe Hillside.

Perhaps a creature of habit, she only lasted three weeks at Namirembe and opted to return to Kitende, where she sat for her S.6 finals. Back in Kitende, Kyatuhaire was fortunate that the school administration allowed her to leave and host the show.

"You know [Lawrence] Mulindwa loves and spots talent," Kyatuhaire says, praising the school's director.

Although she has gained celebrity status, with fans and foes, Kyatuhaire is a down-to-earth person, who still shops from Kampala's downtown.

"I will forever shop downtown. The fact that I shop weekly, I can only find good clothes downtown because the designs are not as common," the teen icon explains.

"I love it when I walk into a place and find teens dressed like me or have their hair plaited like mine; I really feel like I am doing something great in their lives."

Kyatuhaire's breakthrough came with the Warid Telecom Uganda's Pakalast advert, which featured her as a teenage daughter always on phone with her friends much to her mother's chagrin.

Her mother's scepticism ebbed for she realised TV was a well-paying job for her daughter. In fact her friends kept telling her how proud she ought to be of Kyatuhaire, especially since Pakalast was her highest-paid advert.

But Kyatuhaire still has other challenges. For example, at a recent Miss Teens launch at Garden City rooftop, she emceed and hosted the show on NTV simultaneously. She kept repeating everything she said to viewers on TV.

When she is not working, Kyatuhaire loves reading and her latest book is Blessings by Allen Watts. She also enjoys shopping and dreams of owning a BMW X5 and a Samsung Galaxy Note. Surprisingly, styled-up Kyatuhaire is not dating.

"I want to, but many guys think it is obvious that I have a man in my life while others think I am expensive and have got everything. But very soon I will," she says.

Kyatuhaire is living her dream but says if it had not come true, she would have become a fashion designer.

"You will see me on TV even at 50, believe me."

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