Barbra Nsangi is a diploma holder of Business Administration who has since resigned from formal jobs to become self-employed. She told Fred Hidula how she manages business alongside playing football with a university team.
On completion of her A-levels in 2011, Barbra Nsangi was helped by a friend, One Francis, to get a job in a hardware shop in Kitgum as a salesperson. She worked there between 2012 and 2013 and managed to raise enough money to pay tuition for one of her brothers who was in S3 then.
"I had saved about Shs 2.3 million which I used to support him before getting him a sponsor for his A-level," says Nsangi, adding that this was enough for her to resign and return to her home in Entebbe.
In the same year, she joined Entebbe Ladies football club "as an average footballer". While playing in the first edition of the FUFA elite women's league game against her current team - the UCU Lady Cardinals in 2014 - she was spotted by coach Tony Membe. Membe kept monitoring her, and later convinced her to sign for his side.
The Lady Cardinals' assistant coach, Simon Asiimwe, says they have closely worked with Nsangi, and noticed her game improve from the time they signed her.
"She is a disciplined and hardworking athlete who, even when benched over her fitness levels, understands and supports the team," Asiimwe says.
Upon joining the Lady Cardinals, Nsangi got sponsorship with the help of her coach. The sponsor, whom she couldn't disclose, paid for her diploma until she graduated at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Namugongo campus in October 2016.
Courtesy of her football prowess, she was given free meals, accommodation and medical insurance. The right back, who was nicknamed "Wadada" by her fans, helped her side finish as first runners-up after losing to Kawempe Muslim SS FC in the FUFA elite women's league finals, 2017.
She also helped her team reach the Uganda Cup last four, besides winning the Pemba Cup in 2015. Nonetheless, she balanced her studies with playing football.
"I could not mess up the God-given opportunity of returning to school. So, I played football while bearing in mind that I had to create time for studies as well," she says.
STARTING UP THE BUSINESS
Unlike many graduates who search for employment opportunities after school, Nsangi's case was different.
"I always wanted to become self-employed, and own a business," Nsangi says.
Her dream came true when her boyfriend gave her startup capital of Shs 7 million. In January this year, she opened up a boutique in Wandegeya, Mukono, in which she sells sports attire, including jerseys, boots, socks and whistles.
Nsangi told The Observer that she receives many customers because she is strategically located next to the university. She also alludes to the fact that her prices are fair compared to those in other towns.
"I sell my jerseys at Shs 15,000 and a pair of both at Shs 20,000. This is slightly cheaper than purchasing it from town," she says.
Nsangi has no regrets so far, and her goal is to expand her business and open more branches so she can involve her other siblings. Nsangi advises students to always choose courses that will benefit them later on in life.
"The knowledge I attained in class greatly helps me run my business," she says.
With no plan of ever searching for a job, Nsangi comfortably pays monthly rent for her shop and residential house.
CHILDHOOD, FAMILY, EDUCATION
Nsangi was born to the late Augustine and Christine Mukasa of Wamala in Entebbe municipality on February 20, 1991. Her mother passed on while she was still a baby, whereas her father breathed his last in 2008.
The third-born of five attended East Kololo primary school, but completed P7 from Shimoni Demonstration School in 2005. A year later, she joined Kololo SS for her O-level before joining Kalinabiri SS, Ntinda for her A-level in 2011.