A hot Thursday afternoon finds Quick Talk at Torino restaurant in Lugogo for an interview with young socialite, Sheila Gashumba. Quick Talk finds the TV personality and businesswoman enjoying a drink in the company of three friends, but she excuses herself to a free table where the interview continues.
So, what is your full name?
Sheila Caroline Gashumba, but I use Sheila Gashumba.
And what is your mother’s name?
[She is surprised and almost angry. Understandably so, since to the best of Quick Talk’s knowledge, Sheila was raised by a single dad.] Really? The interview is about me, and not my parents.
Sure it is, but my readers would like to know your mum, since they have heard so much about your dad [businessman and activist, Frank Gashumba].
[Sounding unconvinced] Okay. Christine Mukuza.
How old are you, Sheila?
[Instantly while scrolling her phone] Twenty. [Continues scrolling her smartphone for a while.] I hope this won’t take long. I need to eat. I haven’t had lunch yet. [It is 3pm.]
It won’t take long. So, which schools did you attend?
All of them? [Surely they are not that many…? Quick Talk wants to say. But clearly Sheila is bored by Quick Talk’s question, but answers all the same:] Little Angels nursery school, Taibah Junior, City Parents, Mt St Mary’s College Namagunga, Taibah College, Kabojja International, Galaxy International and I [studied] TV presenting at City Varsity [School of Media and Creative Arts] in Cape Town, South Africa.
At what level was your TV presenting course?
It was a short course.
Do you have plans for furthering your education?
Yes, I do.
And what would you study?
[Smiling. Finally.] I really cannot say that now. The world is changing so fast.
Meanwhile, you attended quite a number of schools. You must have so many friends.
Definitely. I have so many friends because I went to many schools.
How does it feel to be famous, especially at your age? [Sheila started presenting a children’s TV show when she was still flat-chested, and has grown up in the limelight]
It is nothing special really. It is a lifestyle to me and, like I said, it is not special.
And how do you handle all these tabloid articles?
First, I don’t read a lot of tabloids. As you grow up, you become stronger and you realise they have to make money. If they are not talking about you, then you are no one.
Did anyone advise you on how to deal with such situations?
One thing about public life is that it can’t be taught. You learn it.
Do you ever feel like the limelight has robbed you of your childhood?
I am still a child deep within me. I live a normal life, I don’t go out every single day. But, on the other hand, I think it [limelight] was meant for me. I would not want it any other way. I find it perfect for me.
Who is that one TV personality you aspire to be like?
I don’t want to be like anyone. I don’t want to beat anyone. I just want to be Sheila Gashumba. I do have some TV personalities I admire and relate to.
Was TV something you always wanted?
No. I never wanted to be on TV. I wanted to be a dancer. At school, I used to participate in all dances both cultural and Western. I still dance but not professionally [as Quick Talk has seen. Sheila’s Kiganda dance to Bebe Cool’s Kabulengane made quite the rounds last year.]
Where do you see yourself in twenty years?
[Amused:] I’ll be 40! Come on. I will have a family, kids and own one of the biggest companies in Africa.
A company dealing in what? [Sheila has a mobile shop that deals in hair extensions, sunglasses, clothes and other fashion accessories]
I have so many ideas, but I can’t say it here.
Oh yeah. Intellectual property. Do you have any regrets, Sheila?
I have never regretted anything in life. Even if you regret something, you won’t take it back because it has already happened. I am one person who says people should appreciate whatever they have gone through because everything happens for a reason.
By the way, how is it being an only child?
[Smiling] I get that question a lot, but I also don’t know how it feels to be born among other kids; so, I really wouldn’t know how I am supposed to feel about being an only child.
That makes sense. Ok, tell us something we don’t know about you?
What people have to know about me is already out there. What they don’t know, they are not supposed to know and I prefer to keep it that way.
Fair enough. What was the last book you read?
Book? Oh yeah. It is called The Girl Boss by Stephanie Hollman.
And which song are you currently enjoying?
Daddy Yo by Wizkid.
Uhmm, is there anything between you and Wizkid?
[There were rumours about the young Gashumba and the trending Nigerian singer.] No. I have always been single and I am not searching. I still have so many things to accomplish before getting into relationships. I am so busy and I don’t think anyone would understand that.
Ok, your new year’s resolution?
I have no new year’s resolution. I plan to live my life and continue from where I stopped last year.
The interview ends just as a waiter delivers their food orders at the other table.