Monday, 22 November 2010

Hosting Africa’s TV King – Shaka Ssali

November 18, 2010 | by Jared Ombui

As the Voice of America was marking 10 years November since the inception of Straight Talk Africa – a television talk show famous in the continent, my mind is illuminated interviewing the host Dr Shaka Ssali early 2006.

After welcoming him to 107 Campus FM studio (a students’ radio), the tall, built and dark complexioned renowned international journalist hits back jokingly “I have no clinic…” He hates the ‘Dr’ title an indication of being humble – a quality a journalist must have.

Being one of the serious interviews to conduct as a journalism student, I was tensed to host the Africa’s TV King. His voice was clear and powerful. He looked straight into my eyes. I don’t remember him blinking. On the other side, the studio mobile phone tossed with heated questions.

Anyway, the interview went on in a tiny studio double the size of an African toilet. I left the door open after-all the air conditioner was down. I didn’t want my guest to boil inside his grey suit with tiny white vertical stripes.

Shaka holds a doctorate in cross cultural communication and history from UCLA in California, USA. He received several journalism honors and a former Ford Foundation fellow.

This interview was not only a “round-table” for Mass Communication students to air myriad questions, but Makerere University, Kampala at large.

His purposed-visit to Uganda was to highlight the role of the media in building a much desired democratic space to journalists and journalism students. He emphasized that democracy as a process needs time and participation of the society. “It is not an incident or an event.”

Before the interview, there were “allegations” that he (Shaka) was an agent for Uganda’s leading opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). He later clarified that he was not engaged in any political activity or with a political party (FDC) whatsoever.

Congratulations Shaka Ssali and Straight Talk Africa for making 10 years of igniting democracy in the black continent.

Be “better and not bitter” as you listen to the interview with Dr Shaka Ssali on 107 Campus FM – Uganda, 18th January, 2006.

Listen to the audio at

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