Albeit I had seen him in photos before, for a while, I longed to meet the man behind the brand Katende Muhammad photography whose name rings a bell to most of those that follow the events industry especially when it comes to weddings in Uganda.
Eventually, my lucky day came on Saturday, 17th June 2017 when I finally put a face to a name that had for long been resounding in my ears. When it comes to some of those that know the brand name ‘Katende Muhammad Photography’ like do, one may think he’s had it smooth or easy rising up the ladder to be among the leading photographers not just around town but across the Central Region and beyond.
Well, that’s not the case. Katende intimates to www.mikolo.com that it wasn’t easy building his brand to level it is at right now. “I first went to pioneer mall but it was expensive there, so I left and came here (at Kiira where his offices are currently located),” he said.
Apart from the uniqueness of his work, Katende Muhammad seems to share a history with some of the best photographers across town. Like Oscar Ntege, Makula Pictures and Mozart—Katende has his photography roots born with Paramount Images who happens to be their parent employer before they all quit to start their independent brands.
“I worked with Paramount during the time when I was still a teacher at City Side College, Makerere. So I was a teacher and doing photography as a side job,” Katende recounts.
“At that time, I had a small studio called Virtual Images which was not doing well, so Paramount would hire me with my equipment to work for him. He would send you to a school, you do the work and deliver a finished product and he would pay you like 400,000 which was a substantial amount of money at that time,” he added.
“After some time I left Paramount with a videographer called Ronald who also works with one of the leading TV stations in the country,” Katende recollects.
“Many thought I wouldn’t afford Ronald’s services because he was such a top class videographer. They thought that I would fail and go back but I stood the test of time and that’s when they stopped anticipating my return back to Paramount.”
In fact, Katende reveals that he “got the idea of naming the company” after his “own name from Oscar Ntege” who had earlier parted ways with Paramount to start his own brand. Oscar Ntege is a name that sounds very familiar in Uganda’s photography industry and for those that long for his service can book for him via www.mikolo.com.
“With a marketing background to my CV, I knew exactly how to build my brand and push it on a large scale. I was all over the place in the media,” he narrates.
Since then, he has not looked back and today, he boasts as one of the biggest brands in Uganda’s event photography sphere. Katende further reveals that the biggest wedding he has ever covered had a throng of 2500 guests in attendance but as a photographer, Aisha and Adnan’s wedding stands among all.
“When I look back at the photos for that wedding and think about the cameras we were using, I realise that they are even better than what we have now sometimes. Whenever I look back and look at the wedding, the pictures, the lighting and everything—it was just perfect,” he delightfully speaks of the event.
As he turns to his computer to search for some photos from Aisha and Adnan’s wedding, I flip through another photo album, but wow!!! Indeed, he has mastered the art of photography. Perhaps, it’s even safe to say that artistry runs in his veins.
Aside from being a passionate and a successful photographer, Muhammad Katende is also a family man who is married to Zamarad Twaha, together with whom their introduction made the rounds in both electronic and print media at the start of this year.
In fact, it wasn’t too long after that the couple treated us to an exquisite pregnancy photo shoot that Mikolo featured and are now blessed parents to a pair of twins, attaining the titles of Ssalongo and Nalongo respectively like the Baganda culture suggests. “In fact, someone called me and asked whether I was going to add the ‘company name’ to each of their names,” he smiles.
Katende tells Mikolo that it was a year after meeting Zamarad when he asked for her hand in marriage and with the introduction done; I posed a question to him. When do you plan on walking her down the aisle? Could it be this year?
“No, we are not planning the wedding for this year because we currently have a project we are working on that takes most of our financial resources but once it’s done, it will be the next thing on the agenda.”
How many children would you want to have? “You know women these days, they don’t want to give birth to very many kids but for me, I’m still producing. My wife (Zamarad) only wants four. Another pair of twins and that’s it but me I want more. I don’t know where that argument will end.”
Maybe you will exercise what Islam teaches. “When that time comes, then I will explore my options. But for me I need like eight—so I don’t know whether she will give me the remaining four.”
Is Katende looking forward to becoming a Hajji one day? After explaining the Hajji principle that involves making Hajj before you earn the title, he reveals that probably “in two years’ time, God willing” he will be there. “So I’m neither a hajji nor a sheik.”
Lastly, what’s your opinion about Mikolo as a platform? Katende reveals that he has known the platform before it’s rebranding from “The Wedding Wolf”. “Mikolo is a brilliant platform. I think it has now got the audience it needed. If you can push it further, it will be the biggest platform of its kind and the audience is still being built.”