In Summary

TWO OF A KIND: One is chatty and the other reserved, but Nicholas Arthur Ssebuliba and Isaac Asuman Olenga Muwonge work perfectly together. Their friendship started in a fight and, as they tell Desire Mbabaali, they still fight. But, they cannot do without each other. They co-own Fikaka Interiors, a woodwork company at Bwebajja on Entebbe Road.

Nicholas Arthur Ssebuliba

How would you describe Isaac?
Indescribable! Tip of the iceberg: there is not a man I have as positive and as forward going as he is. He is optimistic. Individually, he has shaped me, and he is open. When it comes to ideas, out of him they flow like the Nile, and when he brings up an idea, implementation is always the next [thing]. We are past friendship; he is a brother.

When did you meet and how did you become friends?
We met on a football pitch at a youth camp in 2015. We had a fight on the pitch! We were on opposite teams. We disagreed on everything. He was argumentative and so was I, so we exchanged words. After the match, there was just a connection between us and conversation started flowing. We both had a drug and alcohol background and we had come to camp for the wrong reason – girls.

How has your friendship grown?
We instantly became honest with each other. We fought like anyone else does, but we would pick the positives out of the fight. He is the kind who would say no when 99 people are saying yes. But, to grow from that point to now, everything was just flowing. We grew together in spiritual and physical aspects.

Do you have a nick name for him?
Oh yes! I call him mutwe (big head) but I always attach a positive end, ‘but with big brains’.

Do you know what he is most scared of?
Yes, he is most scared of failing. He is scared when nothing is going on. For example, when there is no work at the workshop. You should sympathise with me who has to deal with him every day, it is like dealing with Idi Amin Dada.

What is the craziest thing he has done?
We went to Lujaagwa Island and he talked me into going to the forest. We were new in the place; a forested island. Midway into the forest, we lost our way and found ourselves at the end of a cliff, surrounded by water and I thought to myself, this is where a horror film starts.

What is the craziest thing that you have done together?
One of them is, we went to the swimming pool and all we had gone to do was take a picture of us jumping in the air. So, we got a friend to take the picture, and we jumped about seven times in order to get the perfect shot.

Have you ever had a fight?
We have never gone physical, but we fight every day. There are times we even shout at each other furiously, but I can never be angry [with him] for more than 30 minutes.

Have you ever teamed up to fight someone?
Yes, every day. Every morning, we purpose to fight together and when you come with a story against Isaac, I will defend him.

How often do you meet, outside work?
When we come back from work, we either meet at my place or his place to talk about how the day has been, and what we shall be doing tomorrow.

When did you and become friends?
We met at a youth camp while playing football at around 3pm in 2015. Like you know football, something happened and as we were arguing with the opponents’ team, he was also on the team.

Isaac Asuman Olenga
How would you describe Isaac?
I call him my best friend, my brother and a person who likes listening. No one listens like Nicholas, and he respects me.

When did you meet and how did you become friends?
We met at a camp while playing football at around 3pm. Like you know football, something happened and as we were arguing with the opponents’ team, he was also on the team, and that is how we met.

Do you have a nickname for him?
I have many nicknames for him but my favourite, derived from the way he loves eating, I call him ‘food alarm’.

Do you know what he is most scared of?
He is most scared of being alone.
What is the craziest thing he has ever done during the time you have been together?
To this point, there is nothing like crazy with Nicholas, the guy is crazy. But to pick one, we were on a taxi and the conductor was warning on how he would punch me. Nick was seated behind, and he asked the conductor, ‘do you want to stop eating meat, or do you want to just eat pumpkin?’ When the conductor asked what he meant, he said, ‘I will punch all your teeth out’.

What is the craziest thing that you have done together?
A lot. We were one day doing an outreach, preaching to people in Busembatia in Iganga. I was scared when we ended up in a witchdoctor’s compound. The witchdoctor said, “I don’t need to hear anything from your Jesus.” He showed us his god but Nicholas continued preaching. It got heated up to the point that the man said, “I am going to get a panga and cut you into pieces.” By that time, I was already on the main road, but Nick was still preaching… so now I started pleading with him to leave the witchdoctor alone.

Have you ever had a fight?
We fight, either in the in the morning when we have to agree on something or in evening when we are retiring. I always ask him about his plan for the day, and sometimes when he shares the ideas, it feels like I am talking to my five-year-old brother. So I tell him to think beyond that, and sometimes he says I do not value his ideas. But I tell him how I feel, and that can sometimes trigger a fight.

Have you ever teamed up to fight someone?
Yes, we do. Our mantra is, ‘stand in my weakness and I will also stand in yours; cover my weakness and I will cover yours’. When a third party comes with words against him, I always tell them we need to seat the three of us before you tell me anything.

How often do you meet, outside work?
Every day.