The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Quick Talk - Leila Kalanzi on Her True Colours

Actress, hairdresser, radio presenter and comedian Leila 'Kacapizo' Kalanzi does not like to be interviewed.

She tells Quick Talk: "Munnange I hate interviews," and then, as if Quick Talk might put a voodoo spell on her, wonders: "Oba onjagaza ki Diana? [I wonder what you want from me Diana]".

Quick Talk doesn't say. She's too busy being surprised by Kalanzi. First, she is cool, calm and collected.

Kalanzi is actually a lady! [Dropped jaw] Then, she speaks English! [More dropped jaw]. And her Luganda is sometimes accented! Bukedde beautifully becomes "Bukeddei" when Kalanzi is speaking to a colleague.

Where the hell is the loud-mouthed, rough-riding, booty-shaking [and not in a good way for all you men getting fantasies], poorly-groomed and poorly-behaved woman that Kalanzi is known to be?

I've two people in there. [An alter ego like Beyonce's Sasha Fierce. Unprompted, Kalanzi relays the woes of presenting a quarrelsome, poorly-bred woman]. Bannange abantu bantya - people are afraid of me. They say that "ka-woman can slap you if you meet her" naye I can't.

[Looks like Kalanzi wants to set the record straight.] So, you aren't quarrelsome in real life?

[In a "like-duh" tone] No.

[Maybe she wants to hook a husband. Kalanzi is beautiful and dresses well. Her perceived quarrelsome nature could be turning suitors away] Are you married?

Nooo! [Tsk, tsk]. I stay with my mum in Nansana with our kids. I like it that way. [Uh?!] N'omusajja naye teyefiirayo - the man [boyfriend] doesn't mind the arrangement too. [What an arrangement!]

You are not romantic.

I am. [As if Quick Talk is in on the fact that she is romantic] Come on.

Do you ever want to get married?

I don't want to stress my husband. I won't have time for him. Eno I'm on stage, at radio, then production.

What's your favourite food?

Irish potatoes and cabbage. Irish potatoes are sweet. [Quick Talk is given a lesson she didn't need but politely listens] Bannange do you know that bazungu [white people] do not know Irish [potatoes]?

They call them potatoes. [Another lesson] For them, they don't have sweet potatoes.

I heard that you were deported from the UK... [Where she spent two years].

Nooo! I came back on my own to build a house and start my family. But people say I was deported. [Kalanzi asks Quick Talk whether she has kids and proceeds to tell her what it is like in the UK]. You are so busy. You don't have time to look for a man.

You don't even have time to listen to a man akukwana - trying to get to know you. For me I had to come back. The good thing [is] my man was waiting for me. [Eh, this man that waits for a girlfriend! He is quite a man].

How long have you been together?

Many years.

What's the colour of the underwear you are wearing right now?

Black [Laughs]

[Kalanzi cuts the interview short. But before she does, she wonders why I have not asked about her parents. She decides to talk about them nonetheless.]

"I appreciate my mother. She did not sit on my talent..."

[Amen]

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