Statement on Sheilla Gashumba
I awoke to a message from Sheilla Gashumba, of a recording of my phone call with a client. Then a few seconds after that, my phone received a flurry of messages. I started receiving the screenshots of malicious social media posts that had been made by Sheilla Gashumba. I was startled of course. All my friends in the Public Relations industry reached out as well to check in with their advice. I listened to all of them, with the majority advising that I ignore her and not tell the world the truth. That it will blow over. And it will.
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I run a company called Adris Digital Africa that specializes in Public Relations and Digital Marketing (though often the need to dabble in Experiential and Creative arises,) solutions for SME’s. Young brands that want to play in the same marketing space with Multinationals, but lack the resources to hire a Creative, Public Relations, Digital Marketing, and Experiential agency separately, come to us for solutions on how to get there on a mini budget. It’s a wild sport, but it’s the niche we chose, for the same reason. And we are good at it.
But before I founded Adris Digital Africa, I worked at Vision Group. I thought my love for writing would give me the life I wanted; turns out I was fiddling with a Hollywood script, because writing in Uganda gets you to the middle class, but not past that. So to suppress the cravings of my writing penchant, I made a decision that it would become my second hobby after football (MVP Guiness Night Football 2019 people, I’m really good at my hobbies haha.) The editors at Kampala Sun, especially, appreciated my love for words, and how I twirled and made them sing. So they requested that whenever I had the time, I should write a piece or two. I obliged and have always made time. I have since edited International Magazines like African Secrets, The Opportunity, The Urbanite, Miss Tourism Uganda, Satisfashion Uganda, and wrote and edited copy for print papers like New Vision, The Kampala Sun among others. For those who don’t know about Kampala Sun, and are elites, you are a fala; because Kampala Sun was Social Media before Social Media became Social Media. A platform for wit, satire, and hard core ‘lugambo’ delivered on a bed of delectably poetic ‘luzungu’. And Vision Group, because it gave me my career catapulting job, will forever be my home. A great learning environment that has left its doors open to me, and understanding that I am busy, but that I wish circumstances were different.
My first year in self-employment (2017) was fruitful. I organized and executed the most successful Ice Cream and Cake Festival event of all times, on all fronts (Experience, Public Relations, B2B, Branding, name it.) After that, a Russian company contacted me to spearhead a model hunt that we executed under the guise of Miss Pearl, a beauty pageant, and even that was a success given client objectives. The company, then called MuleyiPr also executed the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards Digital and Public Relations. We also got a stint on the same contract, to make money bags Jack Pemba rise from the proverbial ashes, to grace, and he did. Then there was the Socialite William Bugeme’s Gold and White Party at Guvnor that sold out, courtesy of us. We have since promoted so many events, but those are memorable ones on the PR and Digital Front. We also continued to organize our own events, the Celebrity Road Trip For Charity (because….CSR,) the first edition of the Kampala Night Run, the Road To The Nile Corporate Gala, among others.
We have executed successful product launches for Multinational companies like Japanese Ceramics Company, Asahi Eitto Bizex, and Italian Furniture and Interior décor Shark, Visma Group, and run digital accounts of prosperous online brands like Kaisha Dog Trainers, The Urbanite, among hordes of other Public Relations and Digital Marketing contracts that I spearhead as a CEO of Adris Digital Africa. But thank God for this accusation, you wouldn’t have known.
THE GASHUMBA JOB
I am not close to Sheilla Gashumba, but we are acquaintances. Ours has been a budding business relationship. In January, I was contacted by a client who identified himself as Felix, and said he was an associate of Sheilla Gashumba. His job brief was on phone, and he asked if my company (Adris Digital Africa) could ‘put Sheilla Gashumba back in the limelight. He explained the problem statement, which was that Sheilla Gashumba was out of the news ever since she left NTV. So the brief entailed the need to give ‘Sheilla Gashumba’ top of Mind Awareness, so that she’d be able to secure endorsement contracts after the end of the Africell Stint.
I worked on a strategy, and the bill came to 20M. He said that ‘his clients’ would meet it. Yet he cut contact for about a month or so. But between that space, Brian Morel, Sheilla Gashumba’s Personal Assistant and a friend, contacted me. I met Sheilla Gashumba at Speke Apartments, and we sat besides the pool. She wanted me to help write a proposal seeking ambassadorship/endorsement from brands. My brother Brian Ahumuza alias Abryanz, while advising me today mentioned how she’d at some point asked for my number, but perhaps was too proud to reach out in person. Anyway, we talked strategy and her expectations, and even formed a Whatsapp group to execute properly. Yet she kept on dilly dallying and never got around to paying; citing a flurry of meetings.
A month later, I got contacted by Felix, the Sheilla Gashumba associate. I asked for an official email brief of the job, and he said there won’t be need, since his client was willing to pay for every phase of the strategy. I briefed the spin department, and we gave them about 8 story angles, and they chose one; ‘Trouble in Paradise.’ It was safe, yet compelling and alarming. They of course kept on insisting on more vile angles, like abortion, and group sex, which I advised would put the brand in a bad light. Since the gist was coming from Sheila Gashumba’s camp, it looked plausible. So I shared the story we agreed on, with different twists and gists, with different media houses, saving the most interesting one for my people; the Kampala Sun team.
Of the budgeted 20M, I received 1.5M and after insisting and demanding screenshots of the work (which is Standard Operating Protocol before payment in the PR world,) I forwarded the necessary work and continued engaging other media. My Pr team was paid. And I waited for the rest of the balance because of the ongoing and planned interviews on NBS, NTV and other media houses, only they cut contact after. When I contacted Sheilla Gashumba to do the rest of the scheduled radio, print and TV, interviews, she feigned ignorance about it. Yet shortly after that, I saw her doing interviews on TV as dated and prescribed in the plan, atop using segments of the news jerking strategy we shared with her team on her social media.
About Tina Fierce.
Tina Fierce is a close friend, a passionate mother, and hard worker. We share so many hustle values, and the love for dogs, and occasionally she comes to me for stories and Lugambo since I have so many celebrity friends. I had projected that the Sheilla Gashumba camp was actually targeting her, because the strategy had over 20 media houses, yet her associate kept on insisting I should record a video meeting with Tina Fierce. I gave her the report as a friend. But I didn’t pay Tina Fierce, because those who know her work ethic. When I mentioned the people who needed money to Felix, it was to mentioned the different departments like the Press Release Writers, the PR spin doctor, the reporting and analytics manager, among others. It wasn’t the media like alleged.
If in trying to earn a living, by doing a job I was paid to do, I harmed you, Sheilla Gashumba, I apologize. But the job was perceived as just another of the many celebrity jobs PR agencies get; where musical artistes, and socialites come to us in need of solutions like that. Usually because you and your ilk have nothing positive that is newsworthy, we usually work with the client to enact a scandalous spin that will get them in the news. We run so many campaigns similar in nature to the one we (thought we )were running for you, and that perhaps misinformed us. We apologize for the damages caused.
This is not a battle of who is right or wrong, it is simply an explanation that i believe my clients needed.