Zahara Toto: “am I too loud? I don’t think so”

Zahara Nalumansi, popularly known as Zahara Toto is one of the most prominent TV personalities in Uganda. She hosts the Uncut show on NBS TV as well as the Lunchtime Music Mix. She spoke to Youth Blitz about her TV journey and inspirations.

Last time I interviewed your colleague, Anatalia, she was coy about her age. So, the first question is: How old are you?

Hahaha (laughs). I was born around 1985. There, there so calculate my age. I am still young.

Tell us something about your family

My father was a truck driver while my mother was a businesswoman in Kampala. I grew up in Makindye near Kampala. I went to Makindye Nursery School and Kibuli Police primary school.

Where you into drama as a child?

Yes. I acted in school plays and participated in traditional dances in my school. I have always been an entertainer. Later in my secondary school, I joined the popular dance group, Obsessions as a singer and dancer.

When did you first appear on TV?

It was in my P7 vacation. Someone connected me to WBS TV where I read news on the Kids Show. At first, I was overwhelmed by the occasion but later I gained confidence. I also did T-nation at NTV, a show for teenagers. I was connected to NTV by a friend who has since passed on, Rosemary Nankabirwa.

What drew you to TV?

Like any young person at the time, I was drawn to TV because it would make you famous. Even at school I was a celebrity because of hosting a TV show.

Some people say you are too loud on TV. Is that your style?

It is my style. I am not a quiet person. But I don’t think I am loud. I just nag sometimes. I have met many people who appreciate this style of presentation and I think it is fine.

Some people say that you are very unforgiving of celebrities on Uncut. That sometimes you go overboard.

Well, I think we try to be fair to the people we talk about. In many cases we even call them or invite them into the studio to give us their side of the story. But like you know, not everyone loves being the focus of gossip. So, there are people who will insult you and threaten you simply because you talked about them.

How do you deal with such people?

Sometimes you can reach out to them and tell them that there is nothing personal between you and them. For others, you just ignore.

How do you handle the fame that comes with being a prominent person?

It is not easy. Sometimes we get people stalking you. These are your fans. Then there are people who insult you and say all sorts of things. These you ignore. But it is not easy being famous. People expect you to live like an angel. They think you don’t have emotions or faults.

Lastly where do you see yourself five years from now?

I will be a big media personality in the region. I will have my own fashion line and may be a production house. I think the future is bright.

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