Yes, we have been here and this topic seems to be getting rather old but might also become interesting as we feed you with the names of Kampala’s rich and famous and their latest antics or purchases that will not only leave you in admiration but might also leave you frustrated because their names do not help anyone when it comes to the end of month bills and debts.
Kampala is a funny place; a place of several million people with very few of them rich and living a life akin to that of the mega stars of Beverley Hill in Hollywood!
Of course most of us less scumbags already know these public figures, the amount of monies they claim to possess and what level of status and fame their riches have earned them. But what we tend to ignore is that these wealthy moguls and celebrities aren’t just out to only top the list of Uganda’s richest; behind closed doors they are surely and steadily trying so hard to shape the country’s next elitist society.
Make no mistake, when we talk of Uganda’s next batch of elites we don’t mean trivial personas such as Sheila Gashumba or Zari’s beautiful brood(give them time) not even the Sudanese spawn that seems to have an endless supply of dollars. We mean the type who can hold at least a five minute conversation with the Queen of England without a typical ‘come again’ or those few who know how to pronounce exotic names like ‘Calais’ and ‘Cannes’ correctly and have actually been to Coachella, where they partied with their friends as Beyonce stood in formation with her eight bodyguards just a stone’s throw away. The girls have attended the annual fashion weeks in Milan, Paris, London and New York without the need of a ‘blesser’ while the boys have booked flights to Rio de Janeiro Brazil to watch the Olympics. With their tales of underwater hotel rooms, private jet trips to remote islands in the Caribbean to shopping sprees in Monte Carlo with their father’s black card not to mention the German car ‘Uncle Bob’ got them for their eighteenth. These kids were born with the real silver ‘mulaho’ in their mouths that even some white folks (bazungu) who meet them on their own turf make way for them kids! Welcome to some of Kampala’s Crème de la Crème de kids:
It goes without saying that Rajiv, son of billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia tops the list. Ugandans got acquainted with the heir to the family business when he became of age, and took up managerial roles in the family empire. Indeed, his father Sudhir never held back when it came to his one and only son; from black cards with a 30,000 pound limit to exotic cars driven on different soils around the world, there is nothing Rajiv can dream up that his father is not able to provide. He has been to prestigious schools in the UK and is currently managing family businesses that among others invest in the hospitality, real estate and education sectors. Like his father Sudhir, Rajiv is also a philanthropist, contributing to several charities.
ALEXANDER MUKONZI SALEH
Just like his father General Caleb Akandwanaho ‘Rufu’ aka Salim Saleh, Alexander Mukonzi Saleh highly values his privacy so much so that no one in Uganda knew of his existence till recent, reminding us journalists of his father’s ever infamous ‘disappearing acts’.
Despite being President Yoweri Museveni’s nephew Alexander and his cousins Major General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Natasha Karugire, Patience Rwabwogo and Diana Kamuntu are constantly reminded of their parent’s humble beginnings and true to their preaching this man, from a very tender age, learnt the basics needed for one to make it in life. Alexander’s humility has caught on and he is steadfastly moving up the ranks and making a name for himself. Of course he is helped by the connections that come with being a close member of the first family. But don’t let Alexander’s modesty fool you; his expenditure in a single expedition about town is enough to cater for two people for month or two, with enough left to invest in a poultry business of no less than 5000 birds!
NADIA KABAHITA MBIIRE
Nadia Kabahita Mbire is one of only two daughters born to tycoon Charles Mbiire, Uganda’s richest indigenous man whose worth is estimated at US$200 million. Nadia’s little sister Thandiwe Mbiire is a laid back gal but still finds time to enjoy the fruits of their father’s labour. At one time their father paid the singing duo of Brick and Lace hundreds of thousands of dollars for them to sing for the two girls who are Uganda’s version of the Hilton heiresses Paris and Nicky.
But most Ugandans had never heard of Nadia in serious form because she was probably in one of the best private schools money can take one to, and having holiday trips to various five star destinations like Dubai, Monaco, Hollywood and Disneyland! While enjoying a jet set life full of adventure, Nadia fraternized with rich and famous celebrities such as Chris Brown, Tyga and Lil Brown and if in doubt, her Instagram account is testimony enough for the beautiful heiress of the Mbiire Empire. Then all of a sudden the ‘east-or-west-home-is-best’ bug hit Nadia hard; she discovered a new fondness for all that is good at home, even getting a lifetime partner in the process.
Indeed, Nadia brought the heat to Kampala every holiday displacing so many wannabes in her wake. Strictly socializing with those of the same class and stature, she has been known to make her rounds in Uganda, occasionally in the company of her peers like Lucy Bunyenyezi, daughter to tycoon Ezra Bunyenyezi of Security 2000 and the former Uganda Travel Bureau, a flourishing Tour and Travel Company of the 1970s and 80s. It is during such fraternizing times with her peers that Nadia would, at her best, host state-of-the-art parties as she made herself at home. But now happily married to Yassah Matovu, son to ceramic tiles mogul Yusuf Matovu of Youma Builders, Nadia’s father Charles Mbiire can now properly turn his full attention on raising Nadia’s younger sibling.
THE KIGONGO GIRLS
Their father needs no introduction; he has been the National Resistance Movement Vice Chairman for the last 30 or so years. Al Hajji Moses Saku Kigongo, known for his knack for expensive rides like the Merc, BMW and Maybach, is formerly of remarkable wealth derived from family businesses that dealt in transportation and the fuel industry. But the proprietor of Mosa Group has also made substantial wealth during the NRM regime, making him one of the richest Ugandans. And for this, he will stop at nothing to share his riches with his girls Siki and Anisha, born to Uganda National Chamber of Commerce boss Olive Zaitun Kigongo. From day one on earth Siki and Anisha have been spoilt by both their parents. The recent split between Al Hajji Kigongo and Olive Kigongo might cause a dent in the family’s income but not the girls’ spending sprees since both parents are still magnanimously wealthy.
Interestingly, it isn’t the money that gives these girls status in this small circle of Hollywood look-alikes but rather the fact that they are pioneers in the world of sophistication.
Whilst we attended the signature schools of our time such as Kampala Parents, Kings College Buddo and Lohana Academy the Kigongo sisters were flying to schools with standards like the famed St. Andrews Turi in Kenya and various other schools across the globe every semester, with a guaranteed first class ticket back home for the holidays.
The distinction for them was made and other kids of lesser mortals were left ‘starving’ most times even resorting to doing menial jobs (kyeyo) during holidays to make ends meet. Mmmmh!
But that is not all; Ugandans must fully understand that just as there is chain of hierarchy amongst the big guns, the same can be said for their spawn and the Kigongo sisters are royalty when it comes to the elite of Ugandan society and no ‘rich kid’ can make it in the big league without their approval. And if you rub them the wrong way, your chances of getting ousted from the ‘rich kids country club’ is a done deal.
Beautiful, charismatic and fun, this Ugandan with Rwandan heritage is a beauty to behold and boys going gaga every time she is on Uganda’s social scene, regardless of the occasion.
A pioneer in her own right, Lucy, the daughter of tycoon Ezra Bunyenyezi stands out amongst her peers and family because unlike the typical rich kid snob, she engages her peers regardless of status, social ranking and background.
Indeed, her down-to-earth attitude has even grabbed the attentive fillers a one Henry Mulira of the prominent and Buganda aristocratic Mulira family. And overtime, tales of her beauty have travelled far and wide even landing her an appearance on the latest hit series on television “Beneath the lies’ where she worked with fellow rich kid Cedric Babu, son to Zaitun Kigongo and politician Edward Francis Babu, a former Kampala Central Member of Parliament.
Anyhow, Ugandans can only stand afar and admire this godly work of art and only cheer Lucy B along as we witness her rise to fame and stardom, since she has everything else. For the uninitiated, you can also join us as we stalk her via her various media accounts but most especially on Instagram @LucyBsmize
This eligible bachelor is constantly dodging his parents’ attempts to get him hitched and instead opts to party with his friends. Word has it that Sam had become such a party animal, painting the city of Kampala red on a daily and at times going over board, something that reportedly forced his parents Major General (rtd) Jim Katugugu Muhwezi and Susan Kabonero Muhwezi to get him a job at the Ugandan High Commission in the United Kingdom, in an attempt to get him away from Kampala and the lesser mortals he had picked along the way.
One thing Ugandans may not know is that Sam and his siblings are not only children to public figures Jim and Suzan Muhwezi but also nieces and nephews to Ambassador Richard Kabonero, Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, and city tycoon Bob Kabonero, the proprietor of Kampala Casino and several other investments.
Further to that, name any country or place in this world and we can guarantee that Sam and his sisters have been to them on their bucket lists.
Indeed, they were bred in such a way that they are a class apart. And if attending Eton, one of the best schools in the world, a centuries-old preserve of English aristocracy that has alumni like Prince William and Prince Harry, is not enough, then what else can we ask of the Muhwezis.
Not much is really known about Gloria Wavamunno’s private life, but this is expected because rarely will you find her in on the social scene if it has nothing to do with fashion.
A philanthropist like her father tycoon Gordon Wavamunno of the Wavah Holdings empire including Spear Motors, Wavah Water, Wavah Broadcasting Serrvices; generally everything that brings money in one’s pockets!
But the heiress to the ‘Wavah Empire’ has put all her acquired skills, lessons the best education can get you and the money and provided a platform for many artistes, especially fashion designers, to showcase their works.
PRINCE KIWEWA JJUNJU
Prince Kiwewa Jjunju is the first born son, born to the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and Lady Venetia Sebudandi, Rwanda’s former High Commissioner to India. A career diplomat, Lady Venetia also worked as her country’s Ambassador to Sweden.
But diplomacy may not be a thing for their royal offspring Prince Jjunju who, like many royals, espouses etiquette at the expense of other social norms.
Indeed, being sure that he cannot succeed his father, Prince Jjunju, like his grandfather Kabaka Edward Fredrick Luwangula Mutesa II, has taken the social scene, living his life once at a time.
His birthday parties every year are a must attend affair for the glitterati, as they not only offer exquisite food and drinks to the guests but also allow many well wishers and socialites to visit the home of the Kabaka.
After the regal expedition at Twekobe, the ordinary attendees return only to brag to other peers that they’d been to the palace and hobnobbed with royalty.
However, of recent the party animal in Prince Jjunju calmed down and has now showed an interest in enterprise.
All hail Prince Jjunju.
Read next Friday our second of four part series