Ruth Kalibbala Bwanika, is the bubbly, interactive and funny woman behind the Twezimbe programme that she co-hosts on a weekly morning show on Dembe FM and Spark TV.
Kalibbala, as she is commonly known among her fans, is also a seasoned actress, who has performed for more than 20 years. As the entertainer continues to thrive in her respective careers, she seems not to age.
In fact, last week, a social media user made a Facebook post wondering the secret to her youthful looks. Kalibbala is 40 years old, yet, she could be mistaken to be in her early 30s. “I take good care of my body by exercising and watching the kind of food I eat,” she says during the interview.
She exercises about five days a week by jogging, skipping rope, doing pushups as well as the Sukuma dance routine.
For meals, Kalibbala is very particular about what she drinks and eats.
“I take a lot of water in a day as well as eat a lot of fruits. I also squeeze my own juice everyday which I carry to work in a big bottle,” she says.
Her lunch normally comprises boiled food including Irish potatoes or vegetables. She rarely drinks milk or eats starchy foods.
“I do not like eating bread, rice or posho,” she says.
Rather than eating food during dinner, she opts to drink black tea mixed with honey.
On occasions when Kalibbala is craving a particular food item away from her usual diet, she will only eat it on Friday which she terms as her “cheat” day.
Besides following a strict diet, Kalibbala attributes her youthful looks to also staying away from stress.
“Stress is the reason married women grow old. Those things of always minding your husband’s business, snooping on him, inquiring who he is always with are the things that take a toll on women’s appearance and health.,” she says, adding, “ I live my life by chasing my own dreams, goals and so does my husband. I let him be and this is why I am never stressed. ”
In addition, Kalibbala loves to pamper herself. “I love spoiling myself. It is why even at my age, I experiment with different fashion trends and hairstyles. Today, I will have long braids and next week, I will have cornrows,” she says.
Kalibbala believes that women should not lose themselves or stop doing certain things they love because they are either getting older or married.
Her motherhood journey
Kalibbala is married to Charles Ssensuwa Bwanika, who shares a similar passion of acting and radio presenting. The couple are parents to seven children aged 20, 18, 16, 11, eight, five and three years. Kalibala had her first child during Senior Six holidays in 1996. She was about 20 years at the time. “My father was very disappointed in me. I remember him crying after learning about my pregnancy,” she says. Her mother had earlier passed away when she was 14 years old. Kalibbala is the third born out of eight children.
Her partner was supportive and could not wait for the arrival of her child.
After the birth of her daughter, she resumed school in 1999 to study a two-year diploma course in secretarial studies at Nkumba University. Over the next years, she continued acting, a passion she had pursued from an earlier age and even went on to act when she had more children.
The now proud mother of seven confesses that motherhood does not come easy as it is a full time job.
“Parenting is a demanding role. In one way or another, the children always have to be priority. If it is class days, I have to be there at their respective schools, helping out to do homework and comparing notes with their class teachers, among other responsibilities,” she says.
Back at home, Kalibbala tries as much as possible to be involved in doing different house chores since her husband hates the idea of maids doing everything.
“I will cook, clean the house, tend to my children, among other things,” she says.
Kalibbala says planning and sticking to a timetable helps her juggle various responsibilities.
“If I am supposed to do something at a particular time, I ensure to do it without failure before moving onto the next task” she says.
Going back to school
As way of boosting her academic career, Kalibbala went back to school to study a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) for three years and graduated in 2017.
The experience, she says, was exhausting and overwhelming.
“Things were not easy. I had to juggle academics with my role as a wife, mother and the morning show on radio.
“There was a lot of coursework, research and beating deadlines,” she says. At some point, she even thought of opting out. “This was around my second year after having a baby. The load was too much to carry having to look after him, going for classes and work,” she says.