Uganda: Standing Tall Despite Race At Nasser Road

The need to breathe and live out his love for art has always been a driving factor for 27-year-old Tonny Caesar Barugahare.

A holder of a bachelor's degree in Industrial and Fine Arts, majoring in Advertising Design, Barugahare says he loved art from childhood.

"I drew on any surface I got. On realising my love for drawing, my mother bought me a 6B pencil and an art book. That boosted my love for drawing," he says.

Barugahare studied art all through to A-Level. However, when he got to university, he realised that art was broader than he thought, stretching from wood works, textile, clay works to graphics. He settled for Graphics Design and Branding.

Past employment

Barugahare has not always been his boss, having joined the industry in December 2013.

"I joined the industry straight out of campus as a freelance designer. Then I got to work with Sylvia Owori Branding Solution for a year, January 2014 to December 2014, before moving to Forbes Advertising Company Limited for three years, 2015 to 2018," he says.

In August 2018, he started his own branding and design company - Crowcraft Limited. He joined efforts with Godfrey Lukenge Kimbugwe.

"He was referred to me by a friend because he needed some design work done for him. As we talked, I learned that he had nursed the idea of starting a branding company. Here I was, already planning on starting one and I thought it would be a good idea to have a partner with similar interests."

Clientele traction

Despite being his own boss, all is not rosy at the Nasser Road hub where his business is part of the bustle and hustle of designers, many of whom have been in business way before the young entrepreneur joined the trade.

"I get my clients through connections, from the people I have worked for before and some have followed me from my previous work places," he says.

Owing to his location, keeping clients is a battle that never ends and he says one can scream all they want about how great they are, but the reality is that consumers desire transparency and quality.


Barugahare says one of the challenges he faces is having his profession disrespected, which he confesses is a bit difficult to address.

"Nobody likes to be taken for granted, or have it implied that their job is easy. Often statements like that are made out of naiveté rather than malice, but it still stings," he says.

Barugahare says the thought of missing a deadline sends most designers into panic mode. "Ideally, I will want to avoid this, but in the event that it somehow is going to happen or is beyond my control, I always have to find a way to deal with it."

Under pay, or no payment at all, is another challenge Barugahare faces sometimes. "You work for a client and then payment becomes a problem yet work has been done and delivered. Most times clients will pressurise you for their work, but after delivering, it's trouble getting paid."

On protecting work in their trade, Barugahare says the copyright law needs to be strengthened.

"That is because as a graphics concept developer, there is nothing that protects me and my work from being duplicated or stolen. For example, I could design for a client something and then share it with them on a social media platform.

"Instead of conforming or asking for some changes to be made, they share the concept with someone else who will do the final print."

Future prospects

Barugahare dreams of owning the biggest branding and design company in Uganda, and "thereafter, God willing, continent wide". He says for someone that had worked in various companies and sometimes did work he had no passion for, becoming self-employed was an achievement.

"I can now conceptualise and bring to pass my idea without worrying about what the creative director or the marketing manager will say. It is such a great feeling. That, however, does not mean that I do not listen to advice. I do, a lot."

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