It can be pretty difficult to move from a country one made a name in to another country to start building the same name from scratch all over again. It also impacts one’s family and also the social circle one has gained over the years. All that did not stop Ugandan radio personality Rebecca Namitala, commonly known as Lady Bezo, when an opportunity in Rwanda came calling. For 15 years, Lady Bezo had built a name in Uganda as one of the most popular radio personalities, her strong and vibrant voice blaring over speakers in taxis, saloons and in personal cars. Having worked on a number of radio stations, including Bob FM, Kampala FM, and the now defunct Hot 100 FM, where she cut her name in the radio industry, Lady Bezo was a household name in Uganda. When she made a breakthrough on radio in 2007, at the time, she made headlines when she switched from a Christian TV and radio station, to the new hip hop and secular Hot 100, which only targeted a teenage audience— two extreme worlds. At the time, hip hop was associated with ‘bad behaviour’, thanks to the influence of American hip hop stars who portrayed it as a genre for ‘gangstas’ and all. It didn’t take long for Lady Bezo to win over her audience, with her ‘accented’ English that quickly endeared her to listeners. She intrigued many with her ‘Americanised’ accent, some wondered if she had returned from abroad or if she is a hip hop artiste herself. Her radio moniker, Lady Bezo, also made many wonder whether she was from Uganda or not, little did they know her radio name ‘Bezo’ is a short form of her name ‘Rebecca’, or ‘Becky’ if you wish. Lady Bezo pioneered a fully hip hop show on the new station which in many ways shaped her career. She describes it as the ‘most eventful’ show she has ever done. “When I went to do that show, my bosses at the time told me to change my botanical name and get a youthful, hip hop slang name. That is how I got the name Lady Bezo,” Lady Bezo says, explaining how her radio name came about. The 42-year-old has since been known by her radio moniker. In August 2022, Lady Bezo embarked on her radio journey in Rwanda, joining the Kicukiro-based Royal FM and currently presents the morning show; “Kigali In The Morning”. A go-getter Lady Bezo’s first radio job on Kampala FM, the first English Christian radio station in Uganda, is one she got out of sheer determination and guts. That was in 2002. “I began radio in my senior four (O’ level) vacation. I was at home, waiting to join high school. I didn't have a job like many of my friends. Because I really love singing and dancing, I used to listen to radio presenters a lot,” “As I waited for my exam results to come back, there was this particular radio station I used to listen to. It had particular presenters, but all of a sudden I listened and probably for a week or two, this particular presenter was missing,” recalls Lady Bezo, who at the time was just 16. She got the number the radio station normally gives out to listeners to call in and requested for the directions to their premises. “I actually went there. I told my mother I was going to do something in town. I was 16-years-old, so I told her I needed money. She gave it to me and told me to come back home early,” she says. At the station, they asked her what she wanted and she said she wanted to see the boss. They inquired if she had an appointment and she said no, but it was an emergency. They told her to sit and wait. The receptionists took their time but eventually the boss came downstairs “A very huge tall guy showed up and asked— ‘What do you want?’ I told him, I want to work. ‘Where?’ on the radio, that's why I'm here,” I said. She explained that she had been listening to the station the entire holiday and literally knew how the radio operated, what the presenters say on the radio, the slogan, the frequency, the content and everything. Amazed by the young woman’s courage, the station manager took her to his office and interviewed her to see if she was good enough. For three minutes, she was asked to talk about the September 11 bombing of the World Trade Centre twin towers in the U.S. “I utilized only one minute. I didn't know how to talk for long,” Lady Bezo says but luckily, the boss said she was good enough and immediately took her to the studio and introduced her to the team, among them, Ugandan radio veteran Valerie Oketcho. Since it was a Christian radio station, her radio name was ‘Becky, the Abundantly Victorious’ and that marked the beginning of her radio journey. She has since never looked back on this journey she describes as incredible. Made for the limelight From childhood, Lady Bezo wanted to do something that would put her out there in the public -radio, television or whatever. “Maybe I didn't want to do radio exactly, but one thing is for sure, I wanted to be in the public. Why? I used to always be in the mirror. My mother always told me you spend a lot of time talking to yourself in the mirror. We don't know why,” “It's a beautiful morning and if you are definitely having a bad morning, you can actually wake up and do some running,” a young Namitala would be talking to herself in the mirror, baffling her mother. One thing for sure, her mother knew that she was talking to a certain audience, an imaginary audience. She even went ahead and bought her an empty blackboard to use back at home, to ‘teach’ and express herself before an imaginary crowd or empty chairs. “She always knew that maybe I'm going to end up being someone that is there in public, maybe a teacher or something. I always showed signs and indications of somebody who loves people and I enjoy people really,” The bachelor’s in mass communication holder, from Makerere University, says if she wasn’t a radio presenter, she would have been an accountant, just like her father and siblings, who all followed in his footsteps. “I’ve always wanted to be an accountant because I admired my father’s life in the bank and the journey that he had. I always envisioned myself being in the bank, among those beautiful ladies—the bank tellers you see when you come to deposit or withdraw money,” Lady Bezo says with a smile on her face. Coming to Rwanda Her journey to Rwanda is one that came out of challenging herself when the opportunity came calling. “Personally, I love challenges. When I'm no longer challenged, I don't feel like I am making any meaningful value. It is really important for us to recognize that there are always opportunities out there for us,” “For you to decline an opportunity is to say that you don’t want to work or venture out there and learn new things and involve yourself in new stuff,” Lady Bezo says. In Uganda, she felt like she had done it all. Worked on radio and TV, both Christian and secular, met everyone, from CEOs to celebrities and all. She wanted to start the next chapter of her life. “I felt like, what next? An opportunity came up that there was a slot for an English radio presenter. Someone tapped me off and asked me ‘do you think you might be interested?’” “I said ‘oh my God, Rwanda! I have been there before with my pastors to sing and dance. It was an experience of a lifetime but that was just a week. So you want me to go there and live my entire life in Rwanda?” She had two months to think about it and while still pondering, another call came through informing her that the opportunity was closing down and she needed to make up her mind to take it up or not. As Christian, Lady Bezo believes that God does things in mysterious ways. She seized the opportunity, packed a few things and headed to Kigali. On the other hand, she was comforted by the fact that Rwanda and Uganda are close neighbours. It is not like she was heading to Oklahoma, Canada or Alaska, in her own words. It's just next door, she could even pick things she forgot the next weekend. Since she arrived in August last year, she has been doing her best to settle in. One can easily tell that she is already comfortable, except for a few language-related glitches here and there. “Whatever I feel like I'm not comfortable with, I always tell people to help me. I can actually, relate with what I'm comfortable with, what I'm usually accustomed to, mainly the food, then probably the lifestyle, hanging out,” “I'm a prayerful person, I love praying and praising. I look for areas where there are people who energize me and I'm full of vibes really. I love places where I can actually go and vibe,” Lady Bezo says. Start out early Lady Bezo advises young people who aspire to be on radio or TV to start out early because these are professions that are nurtured early on because when you are young, you are passionate. “The earlier you do it, the better. For many of these things that we actually do, if you don't do it earlier in life, you always feel an emptiness because your voice had a passion to speak to people,” she says, adding that if you're naturally born to do something, no matter how many times you try to brush it off, you will still go back it. That, Lady Bezo says, pretty much applies to every field and sector. Most importantly, look for mentors and role models you look up to in the area you are passionate about and always seek their advice. It helps to mold yourself. While at it, use the platform you have to empower others, especially those coming after you. Many times people call or reach out to her to help with advice because they listen to her daily and she uses that opportunity to talk to them and also mentor young people who get inspired by her to pursue radio. Her secret, no matter how devastated and disappointed she may be, whenever she goes behind the microphone, she puts behind it all and gets into her best spirit ever. And because the opportunity to work on radio came for free, she is always looking to give others, especially young people, the opportunity by mentoring them.