13 December 2012

Uganda: Fresh Cuts Guy Aims for an Oscar

In a desperate effort to salvage their brand following an unfavorable TV news bulletin, Fresh Cuts, an elite meat-processing company, set out to make a 'hit' ad that would draw customers back to their sausages.

The story had begun a few weeks earlier when Bukedde TV's popular newscast, Agataliiko Nfuufu aired a story about how some crooks were manufacturing shoddy sausages made of rotting pig intestines. The public was disgusted and many vowed never to eat the meaty snacks again. Fresh Cuts' sales dropped sharply.

So, in the ensuing crisis management campaign, an open audition was held to get an actor who would craft and act-out a TV ad portraying Fresh Cuts sausages' superiority. One man's idea impressed the judges and has since cast the company back in business.

"Most people now know me because of that ad," Boxa Franklyn Boko proudly says.

"It is funny that I had gone unnoticed for that long."

Boko might have appeared in over 12 movies, several ads and modelled for different companies before but it is, indeed, the Fresh Cuts gig which has turned him into a celebrity. Yet the youthful actor's idea was simple - he plays a geeky, lonely guy who only manages to attract the girls by ordering for a pair of Fresh Cuts sausages in a bar.

Little did he know that it would turn out to be a famous ad and boost his acting/modelling career which spans over ten years.

Cutting his teeth

Boko's dream to become an entertainer began when he was a child; his mother, an entertainment fanatic herself, used to take him to Mbarara cinemas to catch Hollywood movies.

"My first major film was Mariam Ndagire's 2008 hit Down This Road I Walk," Boko says, recalling the minor role he played, which introduced him to some of the big names in the local industry.

Several other productions followed soon, including Strength of a Stranger and Sikyangu. But the actor, who is cagey about his age, says his breakthrough came in 2009 when he attended the Maisha Film Lab and again collaborated with Ndagire on a number of projects.

"Our short film, The Pardon won the Golden Impala award that year," he says of the Rwandan genocide-themed movie which has since been adapted into a forthcoming feature film.

The hunky and burly actor's villainous characters have since caught the attention of top local directors, including Matt Bish who cast him as a soldier in the 2010 global success State Research Bureau (SRB).

Last year, he appeared in another popular TV advert for MTN Mobile Money as a Casanova who runs out of cash while partying with an army of girls. He then calls his buddy, Hakim, to bail him out with mobile money. The ad brought out the professional dancer bit of him.

Boko is now an accomplished actor, dancer, emcee and comedian. He also hosts the periodical Uganda's Next Music Icon show on Star TV

Dreaming big

Boko, who offered this interview while smoking, nevertheless says his journey has just begun. His dream is to win an Oscar, the biggest film award in the world. And this could be sooner than expected - the actor is tipped to appear in two Hollywood productions next year.

"For now I am not about the money but, rather, building a profile," says the man who is inspired by celebrity footballer David Beckham and actor Abbey Mukiibi.

"I also yearn for a radio job and writing, directing and featuring in my own movie."

Wild lifestyle

But then, the face of Fresh Cuts admits he has to change his lifestyle if he is to prosper. He describes himself as a 'wild spirit' who likes to party hard and hang out with the girls. His antics have cost him a lot, he says. For example, he was expelled in nearly every single school he went to and he dropped out of his Bachelor of IT course at KIU.

He nevertheless, hopes, to go back and complete it. He has learnt enough lessons in the last two years and is ready to settle down.


Boko fancies RnB superstar Rihanna but says he is dating someone though he is unsure it will work out. "She is a thorny flower," he says of his girlfriend who is not the mother of his six-year-old daughter.

He credits his daughter, single mother and three sisters as his other inspirations. "I like inspiring people and I am glad I have inspired my sweet daughter to follow my career. The world should get ready for her," he summed up.

Copyright © 2012 The Observer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.