The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Mr Kabaata - My Coat, Thoughts On Style Count

Richard Katumba, aka Mr Kabaata, presents Top Television's Kabaata Comedy show:

Many know him for his weird, funny dress code characterized by colour clashing and square coat. Joseph Kimbowa had a talk with him about his sense of style on and offstage.

People say you dress like a mad man:

You are right and that is how I want to keep it. In my job, I target an audience of children, the youth and old people. I, therefore, dress in a way that will prompt all these to tune in again the next day.

What is so special about the chequered/square coats?

For your information I have only one chequered coat and it is my trademark. It is my identification for both my shows and all the functions I emcee.

It has become like a uniform for me and people identify me in it to the extent that someone would pay me to pose for a photo in that coat. One time I committed a traffic offence but the traffic officer let me go after seeing my coat and realizing that it was me (Kabaata).

It [the coat] must have cost you a fortune, then:

Surprising, I just bought it at Shs 5,000. I bought that coat back in 2007 from a certain man in Mukono. Initially, I had bought it for swagg but when I joined comedy, it became my unique dress and, later, a trademark that has helped me make a lot of money. I treasure it so much. It is always in my car and it is the only piece in my wardrobe that I wash myself.

Do you ever dress gentlemen, in suits?

Many people are taken by the impression that I'm a shabby and disorganized person with no sense of style, which is okay for business reasons. But I'm a smart gentleman with a high sense of style.

In my wardrobe, there are a range of clothes. I love jeans and simple shirts, but I can dress for occasions. The Kabaata that goes for the Sunday service is clean, serious and respectable.

Where do you do your shopping, then?

For the record, I'm a downtown man. Personally, I'm not a show-off and I thus find no problem pushing beside the ordinary person, bargaining for my clothes. There are very good trousers in Owino that you won't even find in shops uptown.

You will be surprised that I look very smart in a Shs 5,000 pair of trousers, a Shs 4,000 shirt that another person would have bought at Shs 100,000. For me, Shs 50,000 can fetch me very good shopping downtown.

What about the shoes?

I believe that shoes define the man. I make sure that I put on good-quality shoes that can compliment my trousers and shirts. My shoes cost between Shs 150,000 and Shs 200,000. With an expensive shoe, a man will always look smart irrespective of what they are wearing above.

Any suits?

Apart from my Kabaata coat, I can't remember wearing a serious suit. I like it simple and I see a suit as overloading my body.

How often do you visit a barber?

I let my hair grow until people tell me that I have to cut it. The good thing is that they always tell me after every two weeks, which saves me from combing.

Do you use deodorants?

When I find a good perfume, I can buy it but they are not a must. I remember that the last one I bought did not cost me more than Shs 5,000.

How do you generally rate Ugandan men's style?

Sincerely, the youth in Uganda are very good with style. Put simply, I think that the youth are trying their best to wear what they are supposed to in their generation.

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