From her young years, Brenda Maraka loved everything artistic. She loved music, played a violin, and took a penchant for art in school. As a teenager, she developed a keen interest for developing designs and costumes for plays and beauty pageants in school, and it was after this finding that she discovered who she really wanted to be-a fashion designer.
That was way back, as an Advanced Level student at Trinity College Nabbingo. Prior to this, she had attended Namasagali College, a school reputed for moulding many of Uganda’s top names in the arts industry.
While there, she had learned a thing or two about fun and fashion, and the transition to Nabbingo enabled her employ these skills. After school, she was spoilt for choice on where to go for higher studies, seeing as many people clamoured to take her on scholarship basis. Eventually, she settled for the London Academy of Design and Dress Making.
It was not long until Brenda found her breakthrough. While still a student in London, she showcased at the Uganda International Fashion Week in 2003. She has moved on since then to mega projects, like dressing the contestants for Miss Uganda and Miss Tourism Uganda.
Recently, she dressed up Lupita Nyong’o and Phiona Mutesi for the Queen of Katwe premiere. Due to her excellence in the field of fashion, Brenda clinched the Art, Fashion and Culture Award at the 2011 Young Achievers Awards. She considers it a worthwhile experience.
“Winning the award made me feel like I was on the real track. I felt motivated going up the podium and being in the presence of two presidents. It is not something that happens everyday” she said.
She applauds the awards, saying they are a great way to encourage young people to pursue their interests and a great way to make them feel validated. She goes all out to encourage as many young people to nominate someone or themselves.
Having harnessed experience working in two different markets (London and Uganda), she believes there is something about the Ugandan business sphere that is very favourable for indigenous young entrepreneurs, which is absent in the larger markets that they badly seek.
“Uganda offers limitless opportunities. There is room to define who you are” she said in an interview with The Independent.
She urges young people to do what they love. In case you don’t achieve targets this way, atleast you derive satisfaction. She loathes the modern Ugandan saying “Tusaba Government Etuyambe” because she is testimony to the fact that anyone can start small and grow big.
Brenda has a mantra that we all could borrow a leaf from; Always make sure you are climbing the right hill.