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Kampala Creme: the gloves are off

Etania during confessions

Etania during confessions

The reality of Kampala Creme has now sunk in among the cast and taken an addictive grip on the Pearl Magic audiences.

The clash of generations is palpable as the ‘oldies’ and those grappling with the Peter Pan syndrome vie for dominance of the show that has picked up a big following, despite earlier reservations about the cast. Now fans of the reality show seem to be in agreement that this was a great choice of characters.

Baby Gloria and Zahara Toto, in particular, have engaged in a continued spat over who deserves the moniker of ‘young’. Zahara insists that Gloria should drop the “Baby” from her name, arguing that she is no longer a baby. Gloria, defending her youthfulness, cites her early start in television at the tender age of two.

Meanwhile, the fluctuating age gap between Gloria and her 16-year-old sister Jolly adds another layer of intrigue to the debate. Gloria’s age seems to be a topic of uncertainty, with her alternating between being 23 and 24, depending on the day. Sometimes, she is six years older while on other days she is seven years older than Jolly.

Like most women, Zahara has kept her age a secret but several public records indicate she will be hitting 39 this month – a fact that Etania used to remind Zahara to focus on her uncertain future off TV rather than continue engaging in gossip and mudslinging.

Before the premiere show, Mami Deb played the role of peacemaker, attempting to mend fences between the cast. At the premiere show at Mezo Noir three weeks ago, she even apologised to Gloria for some of the remarks she had made about her.

Wisely, knowing what she had already said, Gloria advised Mami Deb not to apologise because when she watches the subsequent episodes, she will willingly withdraw the apologies. How right Gloria was!

If you have watched the previous two episodes, the tensions just keep brewing to almost boiling point, and the heat is between Gloria and Mami Deb.  Even Mami Deb’s fiancé, Michael Cleave, the eldest among the cast, found himself stung by Gloria’s remarks about his age and the financial status of his fiancée.

Gloria said Cleave has worked for “over 70 years” and that is why they can’t compete with Mami Deb. Well, if you care to know, Cleave has not hit even 60 years yet.

Despite the sting, Cleave embraces the chaos and does not shy away from the fact that he has the money. Well, Gloria will never see Michael Cleave’s open cheque since she got fired by Mami Deb for apparently being childish. Offset, without attacking Gloria directly, Cleave said he is willing to educate the Ugandan youth.


One lingering question remains: Is Kampala Creme scripted or not? While The Observer, having witnessed the behind-the-scenes action, attests that the show is unscripted, the cast are self-scripting and acting.

Etania’s occasional offshoot remarks and the forced accents from Mami Deb and Gloria are their own initiative. The directors drive the narrative and the set locations, but the cast members are free to say whatever they say on set.

In fact, Etania has been reminded countless times about the contract she signed where anything she says and does on set can be used by the producers as and when required.

Those parties and spas that you see the girls throwing around are real and are paid for or secured by them in their own way (of course off the money paid to them by MultiChoice).

That is why Etania who admits to being the poorest of all, has insisted she is not about to throw a party for the girls, but will gladly accept all invitations except from, you know who. Yes, Zahara.


Well, who doesn’t Zahara have a bone to pick with? So far, she is still in the good books of Mami Deb but not her fiancé’s. Cleave was astonished to learn that she had been allowed by the NBS TV management and the authorities to continue doing her show.

He said in the UK, where he is from, Zahara and NBS would have been sued a long time ago. Not that Zahara seems to care, anyway. To her, the end justifies the means.

Amazingly, Zahara and Etania have never been in the same spaces at the same time until Kampala Crème, but the way they detest each other is on another level.

Etania genuinely almost wants to puke when the name Zahara is mentioned. She has repeatedly threatened to quit the show over Zahara.


You may never get to see this fight as it happened when the cameras and the mics were all off. As you would imagine, all the cast members except for Michael Cleave have designers and make-up artists on set.

And the designers have started smiling all the way to the bank as more gigs have started flowing in. But Etania has not been happy with her designer, and keeps lambasting him publicly for not paying attention to detail and talking back at his boss.

It took the intervention of the producers to remind her that public humiliation can only make the situation worse and is counterproductive, but to her that is the only way he would learn.

Kampala Crème, which airs every Sunday at 8 pm on Pearl Magic in all its unscripted glory, unfolds a captivating spectacle of age disputes, backstage clashes, and personal revelations, leaving viewers hooked on the unfolding drama.

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