#WCW: Record FM Presenter & Deception Actress Pretty Katende’s Triumphant Fight To Success.
Written by Derrick Asaba on October 20, 2021
Growing from a little girl to womanhood, taking different routes to bring food on the table, balancing work and family with the spirit of triumph time ever; summarises her life story ― Pretty Katende.
Born to Hajji Yusuf Katende and Hajjati White Fatuma, Katende attended schools like Nkoyoyo Boarding Primary School Matale, Kinaawa High School (Mugongo), Kibuli Girls Secondary School, Nansana Secondary School and Makerere University.
She grew up as a Sports girl which named her amongst the sports pillars of the school she went to, especially during her early years in Primary. She was a Netballer and Sprinter, which she attributes to the fact that she was so thin.
Her dramatic character was never dormant even while in school. Katende says that she was mostly a dancer and because of dance, she managed to scoop a multitude of gifts.
Like she notes, her school life was very okay not until she encountered financial blockades along the way. After finishing her Ordinary Level, her father wasn’t able to educate her more.
Trying out every hustle to survive
Young as she was, but with a dream to study on, Katende never allowed this disillusioning moment to ruin her dreams. She decided to work so that she could earn a penny to finance her education.
“I started working for myself at a very early age when I had finished Senior Four. My dad didn’t know because I kept it to myself. I had demands as a girl and also had to fund myself during the Advanced level,” she recounts.
At first, her father was against this. He actually suggested that she should break off but Katende insisted not to throw up the sponge.
In her Senior Four vacation, she assisted in the Electoral polls process which position equally paid her. She used this money to go back to school in Senior Five however, to a school where the fees weren’t heavier than her pockets would carry.
She offered a combination of History, Economics, Islam and Luganda (HEI/L). In this time, she was employed at a shop in town to sell Compact Discs (CDs). She had to change schools because she couldn’t manage the school fees at some point.
She finished her secondary school successfully but had to sit back for more than five years before she took the next step to join University.
Amidst selling CDs, Katende developed an idea to start acting and also record songs. As she reveals, she was influenced to sing by a few friends since most of them were doing the same.
“I sang for fun and because of the bandwagon. Since I love trying things, I decided to try it out too. That’s why when I dropped it, it never bothered me. I am a businesswoman and I can’t invest in something where the income is low,” she says.
She remembers that she also performed at different night events alongside musicians; DJ Michael, Chameleone and Gen Mega Dee who she worked with, so much. She could go together with her sister, sing and earn some money which was very okay then.
“I basically did things for money because I knew what I wanted. I started singing while in High School and sang for three years. Immediately when I finished Senior Six, I decided not to sing anymore,” she narrates.
She thereafter joined (UFTI) Uganda Film and Television Institute (ceased operations) where she graduated with a Certificate. She thus halted going back to school and continued to work.
When she featured as ‘Lillian’ in NTV’s ‘Deception,’ she used the little money she got to go back to school. She joined Makerere to pursue a course in Film Production.
However, when she had finished her first year, the project closed. This necessitated for her to hustle again to pay her tuition for the second year which made her study but, with dead-year breaks.
The year 2009 opened a new chapter of an actress that was yet to be a love for many people through her lively discipline. It was in this year that her poise, versatility and stiff passion for film was given more life.
Katende’s biggest breakthrough was via the popular TV Drama Series, ‘Deception’, a movie in which she acted as Lillian. However, Katende had previously acted in movies like, ‘Valley Of Love’ which was her debut movie to feature on.
Important to note about her journey, on top of shielding an acting talent, was sparked by the fact a friend, Kafeero bridged the space between her talent and the film house through reference which eventually birthed her film story.
As days shone brighter and brighter every unfolding, so it was in her acting career. She has since starred in movies like World of love, I am Human, Room 120, Malaya Ensajja (Casanova), Akabate, Valley Of Love and TV Drama Series of Deception and Trick Stars.
Her success in the Film Industry has always been timelier than her failure, a factor she attributes to discipline and deliverance she certifies when it comes to work demands.
Katende intimated to Record FM that her acting journey has been as good as a testimony which has reversed the would-be challenges to lessons. “All has been well because I act out of passion. So my downs are my lessons,” she says.
With one of the factors to weigh one’s contribution in the Entertainment Industry being recognition, Katende has stepped this milestone. She was nominated in the Uganda Film Festival and Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) as a Best Actress and won in one.
She says that, “Acting is a sacrifice: there is a role I had to play as a barren woman, which required putting on some weight and also as a cleaner. Even the pricking above my eye was due to acting in ‘Deception’ which I later liked.”
A voice behind the microphone
Besides acting, Katende is a Radio and TV personality, screenwriter, Film director, mother and a businesswoman. She has since dived into film production and seldom acts.
Katende is one of the female presenters at the Kampala-based radio station, 97.7 Record FM and co-hosts the ‘Big Evening show – Ababba’ alongside Masasi Masasi and Ezzy Yeezy.
She also runs a fashion house ‘Pretty Fashion House’, a production studio ‘Prettykstudios’, a counsellor at Pretty K Hearts and also manages Prettyzkitchen where they do deliveries and outside catering.
Katende revealed that she started her radio journey at a Nansana-based radio station where she worked for a month’s period. She, after this, rested a bit and then started screen acting.
After her internship training at Metro FM, she was contacted by Record FM’s Station Manager, Wilberforce Mpiima. She was mentored for about two months and later started working on the evening show in the middle of 2019.
“Radio takes away my stress. Even when I have had a bad day, I find relief when I get to the radio microphone. I am still in the media up to when I can’t. I love radio and whenever I do something new, it inspires me to know and do more,” she says.
Katende is happily married and has four daughters.