The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Mushoborozi's Pen Earns Him Gold

Every weekend, many youth countrywide are glued to their radio sets, listening to the popular radio drama - Rock Point 256.

Started in 2004 and airing on six radio stations, the drama had such a warm public reception that it now airs on 22 stations.

The drama, intended to help the youth protect themselves against Aids, and avoid drugs has already won accolades: the UCC (Uganda Communications Commission) award in the category of local content 2011, and Edutainment award, in the category of HIV prevention 2011.

And Tony Mushoborozi Saasi, 33, is now the man behind Rock Point 256's script.

"I am living in the morning of my dream. [I say] morning because I have been doing this [script writing] for a mere four years of my career life; my writing dream has just begun," says Mushoborozi, who hails from south-western Rukungiri.

In his office hang stick-on papers of different colours on the wall, detailing the order of the scenes. The serial drama targets a huge radio audience with messages about HIV prevention but crafted in an entertaining vibrant way. The youth are enticed to tune in for fun but end up learning how to live positively.

Write for life

As a child, Mushoborozi thought of himself as a writer and prepared for the trade. First, he read newspapers his mother hung on their sitting room walls. Then he read the Bible a lot - the only book they had in their house.

"When I wasn't rereading the newspapers on the sitting room walls, I was reading the Bible from cover to cover, of course jumping from interesting story to another."

Joining rock point

Mushoborozi, an employee of Communication for Development Uganda, is a Literature graduate from Makerere University.

"I have literally watched myself grow as a writer. To get well-paid for a job you could even do for free, that is bliss. It happens to few people, and I thank God for that," he says.

"Every day I remind myself how lucky I am to get a fiction-writing job, in this country," adds Mushoborozi, who joined Rock Point 256 in 2009.

He is grateful for the "unlimited opportunities" that writing has given him. Even then, he is a simple man who speaks without pomposity.

"I was never the kind of literature student who quotes Shakespeare with flair. I went to those classes to learn how to write. That's it!"

Inspiration

At every stage of his life, Mushoborozi has had something or someone to inspire him.

"When I was a child, I was inspired by the writings of David in the Psalms of the Bible. Then when I grew older, I was inspired by columnist Tom Rush.

"Then at university, I was inspired by Darryl Zanuck, the man who changed the face of Hollywood's movie industry. He is a superb writer, [who] went ahead to create 20th Century Fox which made him a true icon."

He says, however, that Ngugi wa Thiong'o, a celebrated novelist, also inspired him.

"I had dreamt of being a writer for a long time but when I read his [Ngugi's] River Between in my S.2, I knew I wanted to write."

Prospects

He is currently working on his TV sitcom, which he believes will be a great success.

"I see myself getting more and more sponsors for my TV sitcom that will change the way people perceive TV productions on the continent.

"Besides, in the next five years, I see myself being interviewed by the BBC's Harriet Gilbert about my work and new book," says Mushoborozi whose name means "someone with ability".

Interests

He likes to watch documentaries like those on Discovery Channel for their complexity and sheer "awesomeness" of God's creation.

"It just makes you feel so small, yet so special," he says.

He also loves movies and Braveheart is his favourite. As a nature lover, he likes swimming in the lake. He also enjoys riding his 400c.c Honda Steed and practising yoga, which helps him to focus his mind.

"Also, it would be rude not to add that women interest me a lot," he says, smiling brightly.

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