He describes himself as a down-to-earth person but dares add that it depends where he is. If it’s an official setting, Vince Musisi is a film director, cinematographer, video and sound producer, social worker, a father and a lover of my country and tourism. Otherwise, he is simply spontaneous.
At what point do did you get drawn into tourism and travel?
From my late father; I’m the last born of 20. He was 81 when I was born. He is the late Godfrey Mugaluka from Luwero Triangle, Masuulita area. I spent so much time with him as the last born, even his grand children were older than me.
When he got drunk he would tell very old stories. As such, I spent much time with people who had travelled all over and I thought they were over exaggerating due to drunkenness.
I kept questioning a lot but I knew something was right but eventually I ended up with a foster family that helped me through school. This was a retired family that came to retire in Africa.
The family was from USA. They started touring Uganda whenever they wanted to. I was either a driver or a son travelling with foster parents, and I realized that you cannot run away from something as special as this country’s treasures.
When I eventually became independent, I figured out some things that my father and my foster parents told me. I learned so much and I have not even done 20 percent of what they told me.
What are the five places you have visited and would gladly return to?
First of all, the home where I sleep, then as far as tourism places, I tell you western Uganda is so close to me. The beauty there is great, the crater lakes, the hot springs… you can see like five activities a day and are near each other.
In one day you can see falls, hot springs, food, again women and culture. That’s is what I call the wild world west which you enter through Fort portal, Bundibugyo, Queen Elizabeth, then Mbarara, eclipse monument, continue to the equator and then come back.
It’s never enough. Then number two is Kidepo. It is the classic home for lions. You will never get enough of it even if you visited five times. Number three is Ssese.
As a Muganda (a dominant tribe in Central Uganda), in Ssese there is culture. There exists Ddamula that was the first court of justice. There is an ancestral place of Jajja Luggo and a court of Jajja Kiwummulo, the father of Kiwanuka, Mukasa, Kibuuka, Nakayima and all the warriors of Buganda Kingdom.
There are the caves, then Omweso game. Ssese competes with Kidepo when it comes to sunset. I feel like Kidepo’s sunset is too cinematic, Ssese’s sunshine is too romantic.
The sunset reflects in the water. In Kidepo, you will see the sunset, the mountains and savannah giving you a three-layer frame with different colours. I love Jinja because it’s near and very affordable; it has every activity that you want in a very short period of time- food, falls, and adventure.
Then Entebbe because it was our first capital city. Very few people know that the first airport was beach and colonialists used to land on water between Lido Beach and Spenah Beach. If you want to know the stories of this country, visit Mengo. It is the centre of the legacy of clans, food, love, cultural, hospitality and civilization.
You are a big time foody, let’s talk about food…
Food is culture and before you learn about everything in life, you first come across food. The best friend you have in life is food, from your mother’s breasts to more food.
Its preparation intrigues me; the temperatures and time… you mess with those factors in respect of culture, you will never be able to come up with good African food.
For example, the process of preparing matooke is auto culture, it is self-explanatory. Once you miss a step, then you are gone. Everything comes from itself: the banana leaves, the fibres, the banana leave stock or cluster remnants. The foreign objects are only 2; the cooking pot and the fire place.
I love food not because of gluttony but I take food as tourism. When we travel say to Kitgum, people will order for chips but I will go for local food as a tourism item. Food is medicine, eat food that is fit for your body, it is the source of all healing, all that to me is food.
How do you selfless enjoy the food you like and still stay in shape?
I don’t think I’m in shape really? If there is anyone that is successful in changing how they look, is you and Benon. But in defence, I am an active person all the time. I like walking and swimming.
I have lost 17 kilograms in one and a half years intentionally. I avoid everything fried, soda, chips and dairy products. Then, I am happy which cleans up my heart and mind because you can be with a good body but with a tough face.
Which are those places you have gone to as a cinematographer and they left an imprint on your memory?
It comes with the time of the day. I love Jinja in the morning. I like seeing fishermen on running waters during a sunrise. Cinematography depends on audience.
Being a professional, I wasn’t trained to focus on one thing; I focus on the need of a client. I have been to Alaska, Washington and seen beauty. I have seen mountains. In Uganda, we have Ruwenzori but as a cinematographer, if a client wants that, I will still give it to them but as a traveller I want to find more.
What would you like to see and appreciate being done differently in this tourism sector?
I wish they taught us about Kiyira River, Nalubaale, Ssese island as opposed to the Canadian Prairies. The first pandemic in Uganda is not Covid, it was the tsetse flies (tsetse) and mass graves are there.
After they had killed all the flies they took the monkey there to see whether they would die and they didn’t. That’s why there are a lot of monkeys in Ssese Kalangala. These are stories we have to know before we visit places so that we may respect them.