From her father’s observation, Christabell Nansubuga would never become a serious person.
In fact, he nicknamed her ‘Marie Antoinette’ among other names because she was luxurious and had unquenchable thirst for money. Whenever she was unhappy, a note of shillings could restore her smile. B
ecause of this, she says she learnt the value of money at a tender age although her father always saw an extravagant daughter in her. When her parents separated while she was in senior six vacation, she realized a comfortable life could only be attained through hard work. The NTV’s property show co-host shared her life experience with PRISCA BAIKE.
When I met her in her office at Tirupati Mazima mall, the first thing Nansubuga told me is that she learnt the value of money while in primary three. Her parents, David Kitooke Mubiru (RIP), who worked with the ministry of Defence and Mrs Lillian Kitooke, a housewife, ensured their daughter had all she needed.
Nansubuga remembers being beaten by her father from home (present-day Africell head office at Clement hill) to Shimoni Demonstration school where she was for primary education before joining Kisubi High School for O and A-level. She had refused to go to school because she was given Shs 500 instead of the usual Shs 1,000.
“I think he had no money that day. We were not so rich but my father made sure my siblings and I had whatever we needed although money was central in all my needs,” Nansubuga stresses.
When she joined Uganda Christian University for a degree in Mass Communication in 2011, life had changed and she had to raise her upkeep due to her parents’ separation.
“We chose to stay with our mother but she could hardly provide for us since she did not have a job,” says the sixth born of seven.
QUEST FOR SURVIVAL
Her father continued paying her tuition but was a bit financially constrained to give her pocket money.
“I realized I needed to get a job to make ends meet,” says Nansubuga.
For a girl who had always dreamt of becoming an air hostess or a model, it was about time to try out on one of her dream jobs. In the second semester of first year at campus, she got a job as a model but it was far from her expectations.
“Modeling wasn’t easy. I couldn’t walk in those high heels from one end of the runway to the other,” laughs Nansubuga, who later settled for ushering at executive events.
From this, she was able to pay her own tuition and hostel fees for her final semester and also took care of her younger brother after their father had been laid off work.
While interning at Media Plus in 2013, Nansubuga set out to profile UPC party president Olara Otunnu.
“It was very hard getting him. I had never met the gentleman,” says Nansubuga who pestered a journalist for Otunnu’s contact.
After a week of fruitless attempts, frustrated Nansubuga embarked on a futile hunt for another prominent politician before giving Otunnu one final trial. She was finally successful.
“As soon as I met him, he asked me to start [the interview] but I hadn’t come along with a camera crew. We set an appointment and my report was a success,” smiles the Crest Group brands manager.
After her internship, jobless Nansubuga’s father was admitted with a heart disorder at the Intensive Care Unit of Nakasero hospital. He later passed away on March 13, 2015.
“My elder sister was taking care of the bills but I wished I could contribute too,” says Nansubuga, whose father’s sick days had made her forgive him for walking out on them.
He had been out of their lives for five years but seeing him fight for his life made her forget about all the resentment she had towards him.
JOURNEY TO A MANAGERIAL JOB
It was while attending to her father in hospital that her cousin told her of a friend who needed an assistant.
“I did not want to be an assistant. I had an upcoming internship that had bonuses at the ministry of Internal Affairs but my mother asked me to give it a try,” she says.
Today, she has no regrets accepting the humble job as she has grown through the ranks at Crest Group, a real estate company. Besides managing the company brand and co-hosting property show, she also writes scripts, voices, edits and oversees content before it is aired on NTV. She also edits Property Show magazine.
Her first attempt to co-host the recorded property show is her memorable moment.
“When the cameras were directed at me, I got so nervous. My mouth went dry and I did not know what to say. I just broke down and cried. Those cameras are not friendly,” laughs vivacious Nansubuga, who specialized in public relations at the university.
But with encouragement from her co-worker, Gloria Kawuma, she composed herself and confronted the unfriendly lenses which she has overtime learnt to face more gracefully.
“I am so appreciative of my boss because I wouldn’t be where I am today if he had not taken a chance on me,” says Nansubuga.
Crest Group’s Simon Wasajja says Nansubuga is very concerned about the brand.
“She doesn’t settle for less when it comes to work but she is a good person,” Wasajja says.
Besides office work, 24-year-old Nansubuga co-owns Kings Gate-based Mars Luxury boutique with her boss, Edwin Musiime.
“Mars Luxury was started to dress men who desire to look smart and trendy at reasonable prices. It is the one that dresses the property show host,” Nansubuga says.
Outside work, Nansubuga enjoys staying indoors watching movies. For her, going out is about eating a lot of junk food. She also likes listening to music while nodding her head to the songs she likes.
Although currently single, hardworking Nansubuga believes she will have settled and with a child in four years’ time.
“I hope to have achieved everything I want by then,” she says, with regret that her father died before seeing the person she has become.
She had promised him she would be somebody but he always differed in opinion as a way of challenging her to get more serious with life. Today, Nansubuga is glad to be useful and not the stubborn, noisy Christabell everybody knew back then.