The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Nabwiso Upsets Nigerians

Ugandan actor Mathew Nabwiso is over the moon after beating all the odds to scoop Best Supporting Actor-Drama award at the inaugural Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCA) in Lagos, Nigeria last Saturday.

Nabwiso, better known for playing Gilo in popular NTV miniseries The Hostel, stunned Africa by beating competition from more famous and experienced nominees to bag his first award.

"I still cannot believe it. It was a total surprise to me. I feel very honoured to beat all these popular actors," said Nabwiso.

And many share his sentiments as all odds seemed against the youthful Ugandan actor. First, he was the only Ugandan nominee in the 26-category competition that attracted the biggest names in Africa's film and TV industry.

Nabwiso's main plight was the fact that he was pitted against bigger actors, three of whom are Nigerian. Clearly, he was the underdog of the five nominees.

The other nominees were: Osita Iheme, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Kalu Ikeagwu and the South African Thomas Gumede. Iheme is best known for playing Pawpaw in hit comedy Aki na Ukwa.

But it is Fabian Adeoye Lojede who was tipped as the frontrunner, thanks to his impeccable performance as protagonist in shocking South African xenophobia-themed drama, Man on Ground.

The famous Nigerian actor is also known for playing the villainous Bola in DStv drama series Jacob's Cross.

It, therefore, came as a big surprise that Nabwiso's villainous role as Ahmed, a butcher in the little-known but highly-controversial short film, A Good Catholic Girl, won him the award.

"It is by far my most controversial character and I had to risk a lot to execute it. But I am now glad it has won me an award," Nabwiso said of the Matt Bish-directed film that questions some Islamic ideologies and portrays religious tensions.

Despite having been released in 2011, Bish has never screened A Good Catholic Girl in Uganda, out of fear it might attract controversy. The short film has, nonetheless, been screening at international festivals where it has been winning awards, the AMVCA being third in a row.

Nabwiso, who also doubles as a musician and Tusker Project Fame auditions judge, dedicated the award to Ugandans and his young family. He is engaged to The Hostel co-star and mother of his four-month-old son, Eleanor Nansibo.

Meanwhile, Ugawood fraternity has since the weekend taken to social media to congratulate Nabwiso for the win. Many described him as the future of Ugandan cinema.

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