Mr. Philip Luswata is a performance industry giant. Before I met him, I would always hear people refer to him in order to validate their point in arguments. They would say, "Even Philip Luswata agree's" or words to that effect. It was and still is, as if, when this guy agrees then who are you to talk against it. When I finally met Philip, he smiled and shouted, "Oh you are the Aganza I've been hearing so much about!" I wanted to reply with the same but my respect for our age difference wouldn't allow me. Instead I laughed and shook his firm hand.
What I love about meeting actors or performers in general is that usually before meeting them you've heard so much about them and the rendezvous is simply a confirmation or annihilation of those perspectives. I was eager to meet Philip simply because of this. His reputation preceded him so much that I even forgot that I hadn't yet met him.
When I finally got my chance to chat with him I was inspired by how he navigated some of the performance industry challenges. Rather than wait for government, donors or some other 'hand of god' to reach down and mitigate certain issues like performance spaces, actor training, and lack of productions, instead he decided to be that change. He wasn't about to sit and wait.
The theatre and film industry is small in Uganda. The older generation performers face the same challenges as the younger emerging artist and perhaps even more because funders are always looking for new faces or the stories are just for a younger generation. So unless one is actively involved in creative endeavours they will either become simply guests of honour at awards ceremonies, references in books, or grand parents that talk about the 'good old days'. Philip Luswata is one of the few whom you will still find performing, writing, teaching and actively engaging in the arts. He shares what he knows and is flexible enough to embrace the new as well. When I look at him with his own studio, company and doing what he loves - it forces me out of the 'fear bubble' . Don't just wait or rely on some outside force to push you to the next level. Push yourself. The will find you on the way.