Staff Spotlight: Francis ONYANGO
This month we spoke to Francis ONYANGO, an actor with PMC-Uganda’s show Sotakai (“Footsteps”), to learn about stepping into a new art form through radio, and how the Sotakai drama team has become a family.
What is your name, position, and how long have you worked for PMC?
My name is Francis ONYANGO, I’m an actor in the English language drama Sotakai (“Footsteps”) in the role of Apollo.
What is your favorite thing about working at PMC?
We, the Sotakai English drama actors and producers, are a real family. I really enjoy the togetherness and I look forward to the next time I have a recording slot. I also always look forward to the time I will get to interact with my fellow actors. The staff at the PMC office are also very friendly. You can’t tell who supervises whom. Just incredible.
What is a normal day for you at PMC?
My normal day at PMC is simple. I get notified of the times when I am needed and when I get there, there is always a hot cup of coffee. We then go through our lines and eventually go to record and depart afterwards. One very funny moment I recall was a day we were asked to do a crowd scene in the market. We sounded and looked so funny in the studio.
What is one of the biggest challenges of your job?
I have had no major challenges so far. There are just times when I am out of town for my personal work during recording week. This becomes an inconvenience to the other actors and actresses, as well as the producers. I feel bad at such times, yet it’s also hard for me to forego such trips. I sincerely thank our producers because I am not the only one that gets into such a fix and yet they always manage to reschedule for our sake. In a way, it’s as if they work around us, not the other way around.
Why did you decide to work for PMC?
I am an artist by profession and when the opportunity came, I felt like it. I had not done radio drama before. It just felt right.
Tell us a little about your childhood, family, or favorite things to do outside of PMC.
Wow! My childhood had a lot of mixed fortunes. I was born in Kitgum district in Uganda. My father worked there as a teacher. We then moved to Omoro district (formerly part of Gulu district) where my father was a head teacher in one of the secondary schools. The war that saw the emergence of the current government then broke out and there was a lot of confusion. Our dad was then forced into exile in Kisumu, Kenya. We went through a lot of tough times with our Mum. Warfare is no joking subject.
We are eight children in all, and I am the fifth in the family. I have two boys, 10 & 3 years old. My wife is a lawyer by profession.
I am a chorister in St. Paul Choir Mbuya. I love that part of my life very much. I am also one of the elite puppeteers in Uganda. We famously produced the Si Mimi Show that aired on Urban TV in English and Bukedde TV in Luganda. That too is an extremely important chapter of my life. I am very much in love with the camera, both video and still.
I love sports. In my heyday, I played all sorts of games, depending on the school I went to. I did athletics, soccer, basketball, and especially rugby.
Generally, I am a fun-lover and I love to eat good food.
Is there anything else you would like to share about working for PMC?
About PMC, I would love it if Sotakai came to the cameras or if the cameras came to it. The cast is very interesting and I always picture them on screen! Sotakai’s Atapai village and Songa city sound very interesting and bring a lot of imagination to my head. If given the chance, I feel we can also do short puppet clips, because the mes