A teenage girl in her S.6 vacation has written a magazine to promote Uganda’s tourism sector abroad.
Irene Nakitende, 17, the author, launched her magazine at Sheraton hotel on Friday.
The chief guest was the Minister of Tourism, Maria Mutagamba, as escorted by the Economic Planning Minister, Henry Banyenzaki, and Amos Wekesa, the Uganda Tourism boss and founder Great Lakes Safaris and lodges.
Titled “African Secrets”, the magazine chronicles the lifestyle, tourist assets, culture, origins of Africa and African countries and the lives of ordinary African peoples.
Speaking at the launch, Irene said she came up with the idea because of her love for Africa and its rich culture.
“I needed to make that journey to discover myself. The longest journey one can make is in oneself,” she said.
Urging the audience to love and appreciate their origins, Irene said she was personally fascinated by the culture of the Rwandese and Dinkas of South Sudan on which she published articles.
Still at its first edition, Irene promised to make the magazine free and accessible to everyone at a later date.
She asked parents to support their children achieve their dreams.
Her parents, Mr and Mrs Kakonge, said their daughter got the idea three years back when she was still in senior three.
“When she told me about, I felt it was a good thing for this country and decided to support her to the very end,” said Mr Kakonge.
He explained how he introduced her to people who introduced her to government officials including the Tourism board, ministers Mutagamba and Banyenzaki, whose support made the magazine a reality.
In his turn, minister Banyenzaki said he was fascinated by a confident teen that he decided to help her in whichever way.
“It is confidence that leads to success. The confidence with which Irene entered my office and presented her idea, confirmed to me that she would really make this magazine.”
He bought her Magazine at Shs 2m at the function.
Minister Mutagamba, on the other hand, was overjoyed that a young girl could teach her about Africa yet she has been around many years.
“They say in every generation, a genius is born. Maybe, Irene is the genius of her generation,” Mutagamba said.
She said her American friends had already liked the magazine and would promote it abroad.
Mutagamba further noted that she was in talks with different airlines to have the magazine on board and accessible to every passenger.
“People have been telling me that taking pictures of our animals and marketing them abroad is not enough. They say, “we have already taken your animals, we can’t leave them here and come to your country to see them”. But this magazine about culture could pose a new trend,” she observed.
Mutagamba said she gave a questionnaire to African Americans in the US and most of their answers explain how they treasure and cherish the African culture-their roots.
“I sure, people will want to come here and met the people, see how we live and do things. This is an additional advantage to the tourism industry.”
Minister Mutagamba promised to make Irene the Youth Ambassador of Tourism in Uganda.
Meanwhile, the team organising Miss Tourism this year, invited Irene to work with them and get to experience more opportunities the industry can provide.
Miss Uganda Foundation led by Brenda Nanyonjo too promised to work with and help Irene achieve more on her project.
Miss Uganda 2015, Leah Kalanguka, was also in attendance.
Irene’s magazine was bought at Shs 5m by the highest bidder during an auction.
Other guests contributed different sums of money ranging from Shs 2m downwards.