Who is Canary Mugume? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, early life, education, relationship with Shasha Ferguson and family of a Ugandan renowned investigative journalist.
Canary Mugume is a Ugandan renowned investigative journalist with NBS Television, TV host, Radio host, and model, Graphic Designer, CEO Version 86, Fashion Blogger, and Creative Director at Fashion Republique, Professional Commercial and a Leo Africa Young Emerging Leaders Program Fellow.
Mugume’s investigative reporting is specialized in current affairs, dysfunctions of the economy, and social matters.
His latest special report was the one on one interview with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni in May 2020 amidst coronavirus pandemic.
Early Life and Education
Canary Mugume was born in Mbarara District Uganda on 7 January 1995 and the second last born in a family of four. However, at barely two months, Mugume lost his father and he was raised by a single mother.
Mugume who grew up in different parts of Mbarara attended Mbarara Municipality Primary School for his primary education, then Mbarara Secondary School for his O – Level class and Lutembe International School for his A – Level Education.
Mugume Canary has a degree in Information Technology and Computer Engineering from the International University of East Africa (IUEA) based in Kansanga, a Kampala suburb.
Mugume in an interview with MTN Pulse on why he does journalism yet he studied Information Technology he revealed that he did not choose journalism but it’s out of passion.
“Journalism chose me. I didn’t choose it. I am sure everyone is familiar with passion and profession. I am naturally passionate about storytelling. How do I shape the world from how we understand it? That’s a question that rebounded through my mind as I grew up”.
Being one of the most influential news reporters in the country, Mugume who had no journalism experience was trained by NBS Television and in less than a year, he was posted to report from Parliament and on some occasions allowed to anchor the news at the Kamwokya based media house (NBS).
He was inspired by the legendary UBC news anchor, Bbaale Francis (RIP).
His journey to university wasn’t smooth as most students who join campus straight from A-Level. He narrates that he applied to Makerere University but he was never admitted.
His failure to join Makerere did not deter him from moving on as he embarked on the hustle. Mugume took the grind to Equatorial Mall where he was working at a Mobile Money outlet.
Luckily, he was offered a scholarship at the International University of East Africa where he pursued Information Technology and Computer Engineering.
“After my secondary education, it took me three years to join the university. I applied at Makerere but I did not get admitted. To keep me busy, I got a Mobile Money job at Equatorial Mall. Eventually, I got a scholarship at the International University of East Africa and I studied Information Technology and Computer Engineering.
Work and Experience
Canary Mugume began his journalism journey right from his Primary School times. One of these opportunities was reading news, children’s parents were connected to Radio West and there was a search for an articulate child who could read news tailored for the interests of children six years old to thirteen years old.
So, Mugume read news from P.5 to S.1.
This news would be read every Sunday. Without hesitating, as he has done all his life, Mugume offered his services. To his surprise and delight, this child of a widow learned that he would be earning 2000 shillings per broadcast.
To Mugume who sometimes went without breakfast or lunch at school, this seemed a fabulous amount. He would hold onto this gig from his primary five to senior one, accidentally imbibing a love of journalism that has since dictated his every career decision since.
The public generally recognizes his fast-paced TV delivery on Coronavirus updates and from breaking news scenes of tragedy and interest. But Mugume is not just a TV journalist; he is an all-rounder who has never cut ties with his childhood radio roots.
Mugume presents ‘The Big Talk’, a Saturday interview programme on NXT radio. But on top of that, in a newsroom full of many talented colleagues, he remains one of the most sought after voices to record radio news and scripts. All that started at Radio West in his childhood in Mbarara and it has never stopped.
Forced to relinquish Radio West presentation as he began studying at Mbarara Secondary School for his Ordinary Level Education, Mugume became one of the founders of a newspaper in that school. Newspaper in this case meaning had written notes that would be posted on the school notice board.
Quite soon, his “newspaper” caught the attention of Mbarara School English and Literature teachers who legitimized his efforts. They invited him to read his “news” every morning at School parades. This was the beginning of stepping out of what can be the anonymity of radio to become locally well known. The rush of being recognized for his work had begun and Mugume still relishes it.
A fan of legendary newsman Bbaale Francis who anchored the news on Uganda Television (UTV) and later Uganda Broadcasting Service (UBC), Mugume started to dream of a career on TV for himself too.
He gets emotional when he recalls his childhood and teenage struggles, “I sometimes think I would not have suffered as much as I did if my father had seen alive. I only got to hear of him from his siblings and my mother but he does not seem like the sort of man who would have allowed his children to suffer if he was there.”
He credits that early tragedy for spurring him to never give up even when the odds seem stacked high against his dreams and ambitions. Like when he had to sit out three years after completing his Advanced Level studies at Lutembe International School in Entebbe because his mother could not raise his tuition for university.
This hiccup in his academic journey did not slow down Mugume’s determination to get onto television.
Mugume Canary then joined Pastor Kayanja’s Channel 44 in 2014. The tour of trying to find a TV home had started somewhat unsuccessfully at the New Vision’s Urban TV.
Despite Angelo Izama’s mentorship, he could not break through to get a chance to show his talent before the camera.
He was surprised when he got the call from Next Media Service’s proprietor Kin Kariisa tapping him to join NBS TV on December 16 2016. Having been a trainee at Urban TV, Mugume was determined this time to prove that he was more than capable.
He blew through the six months’ probation with the energy and restlessness that characterizes his work to this day.
In one of the depth interview that ran on Sanyuka TV NBS sister television, you can learn about the investigative piece that got him trailed by former boda boda rider chairman Abdul Kitata’s henchmen.
He has profoundly covered top political issues in regional politics including the Rwandans, Kenyan and Ugandan elections.
In May 2020, he had a one on one interview with Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and as a political reporter Mugume believes in holding power accountable through telling the untold stories about African governments.
Before the interview, Canary confesses, “I felt as if I had a fever. I felt like I was not myself. I was thirsty and I felt like I needed a glass of water. I had butterflies in my stomach.”
When President Museveni strode into the interview room with his face mask on, the situation got worse for Canary. “I had prepared for the interview for more than three days. I had written down what I wished to ask him. Seeing him, all the questions in my head seemed to vanish.”
Then Canary remembered who he was how he had reached this point in his life and how many journalists work their entire careers and never get this chance and resolved, “I must make the most of this for those who cannot be there.”
Canary Mugume is currently the Chief COVID-19 correspondent at Kamwokya based station NBS Television, a media house owned by businessman Kim Kariisa. He anchors the new daily bulletin specifically dedicated to coronavirus and airs at 4:30 pm EAT, Monday to Friday, and is also the host of the extended broadcast on coronavirus that airs every day at 8:30 pm EAT.
Mugume is also the host of a popular Saturday political radio show on Nxt Radio titled ‘The Big Talk’, which seeks to go beyond the headlines of the biggest stories of the week, in-depth conversations with biggest names in current affairs committed to exposing the audience to unique angles of stories and engage with diverse and original perspectives.
He also writes a column in the Nile Post, news portal every week titled ‘My Parting Shot’. Mugume is passionate about digital media and the role of journalism in changing perceptions in Africa.
Mugume Canary is a Kampala city model who has enjoyed significant success. He discovered that he can be a model in October 2013 after a test shoot by Buzz magazine, directed by Ssentongo Hassan.
He was then scouted by Kat Modeling Agency, a Kenyan based modelling agency, signed up, trained and then thrown to the world to go shine.
He was trained to be model; therefore, he mastered the art of walking on the runway, the confidence and attitude towards the cameras.
He points out that his biggest professional achievement in his career has been the respect he has earned from people. “I enjoy certain privileges because of the work I do and I have built a good reputation.”
Mugume is the CEO Version 86, Fashion Blogger and Creative director at Fashion Republique. He used Jackie Kembabazi a famous model for awareness at the time he launched his www.fashionrepublique.net.
Commenting on the views describing male models as gay, Mugume rule out that it’s untrue.
“It is a wrong stereotype that Ugandans use because they know absolutely not much about male modeling, it is a new thing in the country, that has to be embraced with time, people choose to be gay by themselves, but not all male models are gay and if one is gay and at the same time a model, it is a coincidence, the same way you will find an engineer who is gay.”
Family and Relationship
Canary Mugume is currently dating Shasha Ferguson, a city Socialite and former WBS TV presenter. According to Canary, their relationship is a committed one.
By then the two met, Mugume was working with Buzz Events Company, they both came to the station to promote and handle a teens show one thing led to the other and they both caught up in a relationship vibe.
He was struck by the then 17-year-old Ferguson’s beauty. Mugume who has dated Shasha Ferguson for six years now reveals that he met the love of his life, adding that their courtship has been unique and vibrant and their relationship continues despite the cheating rumours.
- Self-discipline is Mugume’s best feature he’s proud of.
- Honest person and
- Very patient