John Paul Mugwanya, 28, began emceeing as a freshman at Makerere University, hosting the university’s biggest annual event – Makerere University Bazaar.
Having worked with Buzz Media Limited in high school, he had made a name, so at campus he had potential ‘face value’.
“When I reached at campus, there was no doubt about my ability, potential and capacity so the institution immediately took me up to help in marketing and run prior guild activities.”
He went on to become the host of the annual event (Bazaar) for the rest of his four-year stay at the Ivory Tower.
Currently, among other marketing ventures – he is an in-house emcee and marketer for Club Vegas, a premium hangout in Mpererwe.
Alongside the legendary Dj Alberto Ali, the duo hosts a music show – “Twaliwo” which airs every Sunday on BBS TV.
For primary, the ambitious marketer went to St. Joseph’s Nazigo R/C Primary School before joining St. Noah Mawagali Secondary School in Jinja for lower secondary education.
He later joined Lugazi Mixed School Naalya for ‘A’ Level.
In 2010, he joined Makerere University to pursue a degree of Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in marketing.
While in S.3 at St, Noah Mawagali, an opportunity knocked on the door, and Buzz Magazine, a popular high school publication, wanted representatives in different schools.
“Buzz Magazine was scouting for reps in various schools and luck was on my side. In fact, I was the only person selected from my school” he says.
His role was to sell magazines and promote activities of the brand within the school.
Involvement in Buzz activities, as he acknowledges, taught him a lot about dealing with people right from the common person to the boss on top of the leadership pecking order.
“I learnt how to connect, relate and deal with people. The activities I participated in exposed me to lots of people and leadership challenges,” he says.
He also met the Buzz Director Julius Kyazze, currently the silent Swangz Avenue boss, and Buzz events – “whose creativity inspired me.”
“I also learnt taking big decisions, even without consulting my boss as long as I see value in them; this taught me to be accountable,” he claims.
When he completed form six, his efforts had shown significant performance on the company to be made the coordinator of the magazine for both Central and Eastern region.
Growth in leadership came with more responsibilities, which also brought in more connections, lessons and paved way to reaching the top managers.
Besides working with Buzz Magazine and coordinating activities for Makerere University Bazaar, Mugwanga has been involved in many marketing gigs.
While at campus, he organized many functions that attracted overwhelming audience from students including Face of Makerere – a beauty pageant, fresher’s balls and hall-of-residence carnivals.
In 2015, he organized the powerful Makerere Varsity awards, which received attention from global corporate companies.
It was honoured by Prof. Tumusiime Mutebile, the governor Bank of Uganda and Richard Byarugaba, Managing director National Social Security Fund (NSSF) among other big wigs.
His continuous involvement in university activities brought him close to George Manyari, the programs director of Capital FM.
In 2015, while organizing a talent tour event dubbed “Capital FM Next Biggest Radio Presenter”, Manyali charged him with spearheading the campaign that run across major Ugandan universities.
People and inspiration
He says the persons he always looks up to are George Manyali, who occasionally tells him “there is always a position for everyone in life.”
From Kennedy Mutenyo, promotions manager Coca-Cola and Shem Ssemambo, former marketing manager Nile Breweries Limited; he learnt different marketing dynamics.
Media personalities Flavia Tumusiime and Mitch Egwang, have taught him how to live a celebrity life free of scandal and tabloid defamation.
He is engaged to Gorreth Nabirye, whom she met at campus.
On free days, they hang out together at the movies, music concerts, but for Mugwanya this is also an opportunity to network and learn from what the competitors are doing.
Mugwanya comes from a family of 6 children, and both parents are business dealers in Jinja.
Advise to those who look up to you
They should never underestimate themselves because nobody understands your worth than yourself.