The Observer (Kampala)

4 December 2012

Uganda: Humble Man That Dresses the Stars

Ronald Mugisha aka Ronnie Gunz, is the man behind most artistes' costumes. He shot to fame after designing Bebe Cool's costumes during the Battle of the Champions show, Ndiisa Buti video costumes and recently for his album launch.

He has also done costumes for Coco Finger, City Rock, DJ Michael, Goodlyfe and a number of groups around Kampala. Born on independence day 32 years ago, Ronnie says October is also special because it is the same month he was arrested in connection with a murder case, and it was in the very month that he was exonerated and released after spending two years at Luzira Maximum Security prison.

Despite all the misery, Ronnie has the prison to thank. While at Luzira, he learnt tailoring skills that have made him Kampala's top costume designer for artistes. At Luzira, his sister bought him two art pencils that he used to paint faces of people.

This caught the eye of former death row inmate Chris Rwakasisi, who offered Ronnie Shs 200,000 (which came in form of soap, sugar, etc) for his face to be painted.

On Rwakasisi's recommendation, Ronnie joined the tailoring department where they printed T-shirts, shirts and flags.

"Because I had an idea in technical drawing, I also used to sketch house plans for prison wardens. I could not operate a sewing machine but after one week, I became an expert," recalls the man behind the famous dragon tie-and-dye trousers that where a darling in Uganda.

It was also while at Luzira that he got two certificates in Bible studies.

"I did all these things because I knew I was innocent and that one day I would be a free man. That is why I even rejected their offer to retain me after the DPP dismissed my case," said Ronnie.

Ronnie who also tried singing, wants to open a big workshop and train people so that he leaves a legacy. He is also looking for a good-hearted investor to invest in his efforts so that he can fulfill his dreams.

"Many musicians had not been recognizing me until Bebe Cool called me on stage during the Battle of the Champions and told the world that I was the reason he looked that smart," he said with joy as he revealed that Bebe Cool had even bought him a sewing machine to thank him for making him look exemplary during his shows.

Ronnie is also the man who designed Jose Chameleone's cowboy attire that he used to wear while riding his horse. He has also designed a belt for the Kipepeo singer.

He hopes that by 2016, he will be a very big name in the design industry.

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