It takes a lot to make pictures and stories come to life in unison, but Shafik Nekambuza does effortlessly this through incredible voice overs. I did have a chat with him. Here’s how it went;

Mr Shafik, thank you and welcome.

Thank you for having me.

  • In a few words, kindly describe for our readers who Shafik is, as brand and all.

Well, I am normal, that’s what I can say. It depends on which term, as a human being, I am a very nice guy. I’d consider myself a very nice guy.

  • So, you do Voice overs, scripting, how did you get into the business?

Well, I was young. I was actually in senior six vacation. You know that thing of hustling, and you are looking for what to do, I actually had the vision to be on TV around that time. So I was writing concepts, so along the way, I met people who actually liked my voice.

  • So, you said ‘Bye Bye to TV’?

No, It wasn’t ‘Bye Bye TV’, so one day I go to this agency, so there’s a guy who recognized my voice.  And at that time, I had already started doing V/Os for free where I was just getting lunch money and I didn’t know that I was actually being used.

  • And you’d be kawa!

Yeah, and I’d be kawa, but then this guy was like, hey you can do this; uhmm, so just try it out, and the rest is history.

  • So, that was around 200..?

Uhm, I’d say, 2014/15 there.

  • How has the journey been so far? How would you describe it?

After campus, I grew fast, I grew very fast cuz I developed a skill of being an audio producer, and also a copywriter which helped me a lot.

  • You speak of audio producing, are there any notable projects that you’ve worked on maybe songs that are out there, that are really..

In terms of audio production, I do more contemporary advertisements, radio commercials, documentaries, and all that.

  • Nothing mainstream?

Uhhm, when you say mainstream, I have worked for big companies in Uganda for different campaigns; I had Stanbic Uganda “A Better Tomorrow”, I had MTN Pulse (the very first one); that one I take pride in it, I did everything; from the two/ three voices that were involved, and the audio production.

That brings me to the very question I was gonna put to you that, You have done quite a commendable job with the Adverts for some of the biggest brands on the land like Stanbic Bank, MTN like you’ve mentioned and Next Media Services (Because its home), which one in your own words was your most outstanding work to date? But of course like you’ve mentioned, its MTN.

  1. While starting out, who’s that one person you looked up to or aspired to be like when it comes to voicing stuff?

It depends on which aspect; since we are talking about voiceovers cuz I have a lot of different other things I do, I would not say I aspire to be like somebody. I just aspire to work at different levels, I feel like I have over-exploited Uganda, and so I am trying to bridge out of Uganda, probably South Africa, and later the ultimate will be one of the channels in the U.S.

  1. So the plan is to go global?

Yeah Exactly.

  1. So, when someone approaches you to do for them a Voice Over, how’s the process like? From the time they approach you to the time the product is delivered to TV/Radio thought process of creating a successful V/O concept?

The process is quite simple; you send your script and then you tell me the direction you want it to take and then I get to voice that. I get to voice your vision; you just tell me.

  1. By the way, did you go to school to learn these things or you too are a product of YouTube academy?

No you do not. But you home school. Some people have it, some people don’t but everybody can be a voice-over actor. Because we all lie, we are all actors, we lie when we eat sugar from our parents when you cheat you lie, so we are all actors in a way, because voice actors are basically actors. But then there are some I would say natural born given voices like mine where you don’t have to act like your voice is actually there; cuz I’ve seen a lot of people who actually have amazing voices but they cannot deliver. Uhm, but in some countries, you can actually go and learn but in Uganda, there’s a lot of YouTube. What you can do basically when you are home is to just repeat what the other person is doing in an Ad, if you are quite interested. If you see an Ad playing, you say it yourself again, it is something I used to do just for fun.

That as well answers what I was going to ask you next; what does it take for one to join the V/O industry?

Uhm, one is to start on your own, before you can go to the studio to wanna learn, just start practicing; by the time you get into the studio, you are very okay, you are very good. Personally, I had an amazing voice before the studio and I was an actor, so by the time I reached the studio, I was just having a blast, being around and being surrounded by microphones.

  1. Like any other industry, I do believe there are challenges, so what are some of those that you as a Voice Over artist have seen over the years?

Reverts from clients. Clients will always have tight deadlines, and they want you to be available yet you have other things you are doing. Cuz for some, this is just like a part-time job, for example for Next Media Services, am always around, but there are some jobs that require me to go out, those ones are quite hard because you are not there, you are not available, they are not paying for that particular time.

  1. Asides from voicing, I do understand you are the brand manager for Sanyuka TV, Salam TV, and Next Productions Limited, what’s it like to head three of the fastest growing brands?

It’s amazing, it’s awesome, actually, it goes to the team that I work with; the team makes it better.

  1. If you were to have children, what would your reaction be; like if they told you they’d wish to venture into what you are doing at the moment?

If it’s a boy, I wouldn’t mind. The boys I would not object. Basically, I would not object to any of the dreams of my kids as long as they wanna do it. Because at the end of the day, a lot of people are earning money not from being doctors and what, other things are actually paying, so it’s a mindset that we need to change.

  1. For one seeking to join the voice over acting industry, what some words of wisdom would you share to them.

Don’t wait for the opportunity to come, chase it, along the way you’ll find the right people that will push you to the right direction that you need.

Thank You for your time.

Be sure to connect with Shafik Nekambuza on social: Twitter, & Tiktok. He also hosts “The Fix” on Next Radio every Saturday 6AM to 9AM. You can catch him on there as well.