Ntare Guma Mwine Mbaho, 52, is a Uganda born Hollywood actor who was recently appointed as Cultural Tourism Ambassador from the diaspora by the government of Uganda.
Ntare Mwine currently stars in the TV series The Chi and also starred in the Queen of Katwe alongside Kenyan Hollywood Osacr winner Lupita Nyong’o. His latest appearance is in Farewell Amor which is due to premier later this month.
On his recent visit to Uganda, The EastAfrican’s Raymond Tamale spoke with him about his new role, rising to Hollywood stardom and giving back.
Preparing for his new role, Ntare Mwine toured Uganda including the Murchison Falls National Park for two weeks during Christmas.
What’s your view on Uganda’s tourism potential?
The sky is the limit. Really am sitting here in Murchison Falls Park, and I have been coming here since I was a child, and the roads were rough and bumpy, but there is still a steady flow of people coming and now am here 40-years plus years later and there are four-lane roads being constructed through the park and new lodges so there is a lot of development because there is so much potential.
I am excited to have this role as a good will cultural tourism ambassador, to promote the beauty we have here to the rest of the world.
What do you bring as a tourism ambassador from the diaspora?
I think the point of having ambassadors is to spread the word about Uganda and its many gems. So on this trip I brought eight US friends with me, on their first trip to Africa and they chose to come to Uganda first.
These guys have had the time of their lives. The children are all teenagers and they have had so much fun. There is no greater thing than bringing people to your home to experience not just the food and culture but the landscape and the people.
One of the things that struck them most was not just the beauty of the place and the people but the hospitality.
Where do you think Uganda is getting it wrong in terms of tourism because we have a long way to go to catch up with other countries.
I don’t think we are doing anything wrong. We have gone through a lot and we are still making top of list of the best places to visit in the world so I don’t know if that’s doing something wrong. (Uganda placed a high No. 30 in the latest New York Times 52 Places to visit in 2020 ahead of Kenya at No. 40.
We don’t have the numbers to match other destinations but that doesn’t mean we are doing something wrong because you know sometimes it’s good to have what you have here it feels exclusive when you go to these other national parks where you feel like you’re in a traffic jam because there so many people pouring in even us we have limited slots for the gorilla trekking.
They keep it limited for a purpose to preserve the environment so I think we are doing things the right way. I don’t how many other African countries ran the CNN 25 most beautiful places in the world.
What can Uganda do to penetrate the US market?
I think me bringing these eight people today for this trip is that they are going back and will spread the word and if you look at their Instagram pages they are all posting stuff about their trip that is changing people’s perception about Uganda.
What is your best tourism site?
I don’t know if I have a best, I haven’t seen everything. I have to say Uganda is one of the most incredible places I know because you have the Mountain Rwenzori, Lake Victoria, the source of The Nile to the Equator, Bwindi, Hot Springs of Semuliki and Kitagata, a collection of birds that you find here in Uganda is incomparable to anywhere else and this temperate weather.