Manwell Mwaka is a young engineer with nascent signs of deep shutterbug talent. The 23-year-old portrait photographer showcases his craft on his blog; seventwelvephotography.wordpress.com and on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/SevenTwelvePhotography
You completed your undergraduate studies [at the University of Nottingham campus] in Malaysia. To most Ugandans, that country is synonymous with an escapist CNN ad. Was it a truly Asian experience for you as well?
No, I’d say there are other countries that are truly Asian. It is a really nice country apart from the racism. But their tourism is right on point.
How does the racism manifest itself?
It may be a second world country but the people there still have third world mindsets. They are still getting used to Black people and I do not blame them. I think they first saw Black people in the past 10 or 15 years. So they are also just getting used to the idea. The Nigerians there do not make it any better; Internet scams and all. That makes Malaysians think all Blacks are like that.
How did you develop an eye for photography?
I used to edit most of my friends’ photos a lot. It is something that came naturally, you know playing around with features on iPhoto and all. That was until I got to that point where I asked myself why I was editing other people’s photos yet I could take my own. I had to find a way of getting a camera. Thankfully I got one for a graduation gift.