Housen Mushema: An actor making a difference ― 2021 Janzi Outstanding Male Actor Award winner
Written by Derrick Asaba on December 13, 2021
Changing roles yet the actor remains the same is a riddle to the mind. But this is what the Ugandan actor, HousenMushema has grown up to give life to.
Mushema, 29, is Ugandan runway, commercial and editorial model, actor, fashion producer and farmer.
He was born and raised in Jinja. He is a devout Muslim and the fourth and last child in the family. His parents are from different regions ― Part of his family comes from the Arab side of Sudan and his mum’s side is mixed with a bit of Oman Arabs.
He grew up in an extended family of about 14 siblings and also used to have cousins around. That written however, he spent most of his time in boarding school right from P.3 to university.He says he was not a stubborn kid.
“I was that kid that would just sit in the corner and see everybody do their stuff and some thought I was weird. My life was mostly lonely. I never kept friends because my family moved a lot between Uganda and Sudan so I never made lasting friendships as a result,” he said.
He went to schools like;Jinja Islamic primary school, Old Kampala primary school, East High School in Ntinda and later joined Makerere University where he studied Records and archives management.
While growing up, his father wanted him to do sciences but the leverage art had in his blood outlived his father’s vision of him. Mushema only needed to find a way to monetize the talent which required building a brand by working with different producers and directors at inception.
“I didn’t even know I would be an actor though I loved watching movies and reading. I always wanted stories and pictured things coming to life when I read books as a child. Now that I think about it, I think I was all along playing a movie in my head and God said I needed to put this on screen,” he told Quick Talk.
There is much to know about his Acting Career
Mushema started acting in 2013 with a Shakespeare play called ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’. He was then given a regular role to act as Musoke Ryan aka Sokeon the fourth season of ‘The Hostel’ that aired on NTV Uganda.
Progressively, he was called by the same production company and given a lead role as Balikoowa in the local comedy series, ‘Balikoowa in the City’ that aired on Spark TV.
In May 2017 he took over the role of Andrew Masa from an original actor in Second Chance Telenovela, a Ugandan remake of a popular Telemundo, El Cuerpo del Deseo.
He also acted in other Television series as Patrick in ‘Sanyu’, as Duncan in ‘False Dreams’, as Ben Ssali in ‘Power of Legacy’, as Ian in ‘Mistakes Girls Do’, as McKenzie Mulumba in ‘Reflections’, and also acted in ‘The Lukkas’.
He acted in theater plays as Josh in ‘Love Neega’ an AMK Productions by Misfits in 2019, in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ a play by William Shakespeare in 2014.
Mushema’s debut film role was as Michael in a 2018 drama film ‘Veronica’s Wish’. Thereafter, he acted as Anthony in ‘Bed of Thorns’ and as Zilaba in ‘November Tear’.
In June 2018, Mushema together with actors Eleanor Nabwiso, Matthew Nabwiso, Richard Tuwangye, Roger Mugisha, Cleopatra Koheirwe and Jenkins Joel Mutumba, were hired by Development Channel to promote the African Child Poverty Alleviator Program (ACPA) in the on-going Economic war. They were all given a No Dropout tablet to use in the fight against poverty during the Economic war.
He has also acted in a number of music videos as a video vixen such as Afrie’s‘YodiYodi’,‘Otubattisa’ by Irene Ntale and SheebahKarungi in 2014 and in ‘Kyanagwe’ by Leila Kayondo in 2017.
Just like he inspires many and equally liked by multitudes, he also has people figures that he notes the same opinions of. Internationally, he likes Mark Wahlberg, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Kevin Hart and Viola Davis. Locally, he likes Abby Mukiibi, Michael Wawuyo, Matthew, Eleanor Nabwiso and so many others.
His Best movie of all time amongst those that he has acted in, is Veronica’s Wish but his favorite movie is Rush Hour (first released in 1998, starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan).
He however wishes to act with Ugandan actress, Natasha Sinayobye. He says that Sinayobye is such an amazing actress with great energy.
Since the first time Mushema acted, the role ofBalikoowa in ‘Balikoowa in the City’has always been the most challenging character in his career. He leans this against the fact that he was portrayed as a village boy who had come to the city yet he honestly isn’t a villager.
He is largely inspired by the passion he holds of acting and creativity. Cleaner and bigger though, he hopes to build something different in the Ugandan film industry though it is somewhat delayed by his engagement in many different productions. “I want to explore more into sitcoms,” he revealed earlier this year in July.
But with what is mostly portrayed in movies, especially those that have romantic episodes, how do actors sail through finely? At least for Mushema, he has some experience and openly shares.
“There is a scene where I was with a girl in bed and then the director cut the scene, but my manhood had misbehaved yet I had to leave the bed. I just had to tell them, ‘You know what guys, I will find you. Let me first freshen up,’” he said.
At some point in time, he rejected roles that had kissing elements when he was in serious relationships because he felt like he couldn’t act certain characters. On a lighter note, these relationships have not worked out yet he lost jobs. He says he will never make this mistake again.
He was a budding runway model
His father being a prominent tailor in Kampala, Mushema was introduced to fashion. While in his second year at Makerere University, his father became ill. This pushed him to find a job to pay for his tuition.
He started modeling in 2013 and his first modeling job was as an usher at events before walking the runway or appearing in any magazines. He was later on signed by Joram Model Management in 2015.
His stupendous modeling strides won him the most outstanding Male Model Uganda at the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards in 2015. He too, appeared at number 7 on SatisfashionUg Magazine’s 8 most revered male models in Uganda in 2014.
He has worked at a number of local and international shows including Kampala Fashion Week 2014, PurpleRyan hub, Malengo Fashion Show, the Swahili Fashion Week, The bride and Groom Expo 2014/2016, Genesis Night by Hellen Lukoma (2014) and Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (2013/2014/2015).
He has appeared and done photo shoots with biggest magazines like the Bride and groom and the Flair magazines. He has worked with numerous designers including Jose Hendo (New York), Martha Jabo (Uganda), Motions (Rwanda), Emolsam_DNA and so many others.
He produced the Hijab and Kanzu fashion show in 2016 and co-produced The Vintage fashion show alongside JoramMuzira in 2017.
With all the best he could do as a runway model, time ticked out and cannot do that anymore. He only does runway choreography for other models and produces fashion shows intermittently. Film has taken up most of his time.
When the ‘Good’ couldn’t be kept blinded at
His debut role in Veronica’s wish led him to receive his first nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Uganda Film Awards 2018.
He was nominated as the Best Lead Actor Male in the ZAFAA Global Awards 2019, Best Actor (Film) in the Uganda Film Festival Awards 2018, Male Model of the year (Uganda) in the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards 2017 and won the Outstanding Male Model Uganda in the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards 2015.
Mushema won the Outstanding Male Actor Award in the 2021 Janzi maiden Awards hosted at Kololo Independence grounds.
He is still single. “I have tried dating but failed, because of time. Dating needs time. I have a lot of other things to think about. If I am to have someone, I want someone who really understands me, the kind of work I do and is willing to be patient,” he said.
He says that a lot of ladies hit him up but he doesn’t reply to them when they approach him unless it is for business.
“Sometimes I even just hide from them. But of course some get through and we have one or two dinners and if they are genuine, we can date but most of them just want to be friends,” he said.
In his free time, he goes to the gym, runs and plays soccer. He tries to keep healthy as much as he can. He also watches a lot of movies, mostly to learn. He also likes cooking pilau, posho and beans, fish, beef and can definitely cook anything.
Besides Film, Mushema is a farmer. He grows cotton in Lira and Soroti, as well as fish farming in Kayunga.
Noting that he has featured on a queue of Uganda’s top movies and stamped his hand in various artistry engagements, are facts staid enough to validate the opinion ― he is one of the ‘Top-notch’ actors Uganda has.