By Vanessa Babirye Gloria
Studying a course in law was not Fiona Kemigisha’s first choice, but it was the choice of her parents. In pursuing the course, she intended to fulfill their dream while trying to put a finger on her own desires that edged toward digital media.
In 2013, Kemigisha graduated from the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Law program. She immediately headed to Kenya, where she did her internship in Nairobi. She later enrolled in a post-graduate diploma in legal practice at the Kenya School of Law. To practice law in Uganda and Kenya, one must attain a diploma in legal practice.
She is grateful for the four years she spent pursuing a Bachelor of Laws course at UCU because she says it provided her a platform to keep the right company and meet friends who have remained invaluable in her life.
Upon her return to Uganda, she was employed at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, where Kemigisha put her professional learning into action. Her initial intention was to spend five years in this job and then switch to something else. And she almost hit her target. She left the agency just after four years.
While practicing law at the immigration department was rewarding, she felt her heart belonged somewhere else. That place was digital content. She had a side job of creating digital content, which she sold to clients, and hopes of full-time work there.
The force with which the covid-related lockdown came in 2020 was the push that Kemigisha needed for her to throw in the towel at the immigration directorate. Uganda imposed a lockdown last year, from March to June, where movement was only permitted to staff it considered essential workers.
Being home more for Kemigisha meant more acquired skills in creating digital content.
“I got to a point where I realized that I needed to do something that didn’t just make other people happy, but myself,” the 31-year-old says.
Watch: “Kemigisha interview about self-employment” (more than 2,500 views)
Under the digital platform business name of Fiona Kemi, Kemigisha shares everything from natural hair care tutorials to her own journey with her hair. She started her journey on a WordPress blog, where she shared about alopecia (hair loss) and hair care.
Eventually, when her content gained traffic on social media, she began sharing videos not just about natural hair, but about a complete lifestyle. She uses YouTube channels and Instagram to engage with her followers. She helps clients find the necessary hair tools, products and designs a customized hair care regimen to help them grow healthy hair.
Watch: Kemigisha talking about her natural hair (nearly 1,000 views)
Nyonyozi Murungi, a content creator and a friend of Kemigisha, said when her friend told her about quitting her formal job, she got concerned.
“I was afraid about her life outside work, but Kemigisha is a creative woman; you can’t help admiring how her brain thinks,” she said. “She’s unstoppable. I love how her content has helped all of us nurture our hair and relationships.”
Though her parents were concerned when she was quitting her job, they supported her in her new venture. Kemigisha says: “They let me be when I chose and that was all the support I needed from them.”
The ball is now in Kemigisha’s court to turn her passion more fully into finances to support herself.