By Joan Salmon
A master of ceremony or MC as we commonly refer to them is seemingly the brick and mortar of any function, or so we believe. Over the years, these persons have become a necessity at every function that your choice determines the quality of your event. While not anyone can wear the MC hat, we have seen several that have ruined functions yet they professed professionalism.
Some go as far ‘hijacking’ the whole event to the extent that nothing happens as long as they do not ascent to it.
Adnan Muyimbwa remains angry, to this day, at the spokesman that insisted they take their photographs in a certain way on his introduction ceremony. “He was insistent that we should carry the ‘kabo ka’muwala’ between us as we took the pictures. Apart from the basket being heavy, I would never, on any day, take a photograph like that as though the basket is what I had come for.”
Richard Tuwangye, an MC that is majorly given to weddings, says the whole idea of the modern way of doing introductions is so messy. “People are putting themselves under immense pressure to be creative which is getting out of order. I find them a spectacle.” He says that in the name of being creative, they end up overstepping their bounds. “The MC is supposed to piece the event together for a fluid flow. As such, you need not be the photographer, videographer and the one in charge of food at the same time.” Tuwangye however says that the traditional way of conducting kwanjula is better. “Everything is in line with culture and the MC may have to correct the couple in case they are missing or overstepping boundaries. Seeing that I love fun, I chose weddings because there is no formula.”
Jackson Twinomugisha, a spokesperson cutting across the cultural divide, agrees with Tuwangye on the role of an MC saying they are coordinators but also guides that see to it that the ceremony flows well. “That is why they will call the owner of the event so that the person tells them how they want the day to be.” Looking at the way spokesmen are always trying to improve their creativity, bordering cultural distortion, Twinomugisha says that in a bid to preserve culture, the Katikiro called them to guide them on how introductions should flow. “For example, functions ending late in the night was one of the things he told us to amend.”
However, he points out that each home is different. “While some will flow with culture, others may do some things that are not necessarily in line with it. For example, there are those who hire dancers for the day and while in cultural lines we would do away with them, we have to respect the fact that the owner of the event has paid for their services hence let the matter rest. Another common occurrence is for the senga to give the muko his flower then he and his people go into the house for the preceding events. While some still do it, culturally, it is that the son is first accepted into the home before being brought out to the public,” he explains.
However, Twinomugisha says that there should be no reason for the MC/spokesman to refuse someone to do what they desire, such as singing as you take the cock to your brother-in-law when the song is not immoral. “At the end of the day, we want to strike a balance but most importantly, fulfil the needs of the client.”
We have seen some elements, more so photographs taken in a certain way during an introduction thanks to spokesmen. However, Tuwangye decries such rigidity saying you cannot do one event in the same way you did the previous one. “Every event has its own DNA but many do not appreciate that. It is the reason why a lot of what happens on those events is not memorable. We have emptied events of class. Inasmuch as it is a traditional event, it is not meant to be devoid of class,” he comments.
Twinomugisha says the other issue is that several spokespersons are not trained but want to make a living out of the trade. “You will obviously see the difference between one that has gone to Bulange (this is where some of the trainings are done) and one who has not.”
Tuwangye adds to the discourse saying that some MCs are not in the trade because they are passionate about it but due to the fact that there are several events in town hence an avenue to make an extra coin.
He also shares that the other issue causing a rise to MCs with questionable character is that we are in a society where there is a class spectrum. “Nonetheless, one must have a mood board of the kind of event they desire and how they envision it to be. Then look for the person that can deliver. While many people may market their skill or trade, you can always find out how they perform, thus get one who suits your event. That can be done in various ways such as through referrals.”
He says that it is because of this spectrum that inasmuch as it is business and one would want the next function, he knows where his kind of flare works. “So if an event is brought my way but I do not fit the bill, I go ahead and recommend another.”
Getting to people to find out if an MC should dictate how their even flows or even the photo poses,
Matilda Katana says that should never happen.
However, Myers Agaba says it is okay, “He is the boss.”
On the other hand, Shallon Ninsiima say you should agree on the programme line up before the function. “He basically manages time.”
Grace Tendo is vehemently against the idea of someone calling the shots on her day. “I do not want anyone telling me how to run my day or which pose to take.”
Flawa Flawa is in for striking a balance. “To some extent, yes, because most people do not know how to pose for photos or the traditions of the events.”
Catherine Akampurira says that as a professional, he can advise. “However, the couple has the right to take the advice or not.”
Edina Kawuma will not hear of it. “No way, free flow is always the best. I love spontaneity.”
Maureen Musimenta is simply appalled that MCs have got into the habit of pushing their tastes on the couple. “They do that a lot lately. I wonder why.”
Raymond Twesigye says the habit is akin to a security guard at the church determining how a sermon should be conducted during a church service.
Kenneth Ntulume says if the MC is good at what he does, he should know some good poses. “But at the same time allow the owners of the function liberty to do what they want because you never know what it means to them.”
Loy Dianah Kiwumulo will not have any of that. “No way. He should wait for his wedding to dictate what should be done. Otherwise, let them allow the couple to enjoy their day.”
Kasirye John Paul wonders if the MC has also become a photographer.
Angel Mayanja Tumusiime believes that it should be a joint effort for both the couple and MC, especially when it comes to the bit of taking photos. ”Otherwise, the MC should take over things such as time keeping, how the speeches flow and ensuring the guests’ morals is boosted.”