Losing both parents at the age of 9 on the onset looked like it was a dead-end for Sylvester Kabombo. But a caring and hardworking auntie stepped in to take care of him and his siblings only for her to pass away in 2007, the real hustle started when he started staying with his grandmother.
“Life as an orphan is hard, orphans were stigmatized then but we built strength walls, we never put on the victim cloth even for a minute”
That explains the word choice in his music album title “Ezange Ziva muntuuyo” (We hustle to earn a leaving) that has now become a popular clothing line among the young people of Uganda.
Sylvester learned how to work hard at a young age. In primary school, he started his music career managed by his cousin Peter Sematimba who introduced him to Dj Berry a household name of the 1990s, his friends were family, they supported him all the way – as a teenager, Sylvester had an opportunity to perform at school parties and at trans-day pubs at Sabrina’s, Sax-Pub and DV8, there he had a guaranteed platform and an audience.
“A few years back I started making clothing merchandise for some of my songs with an aim to push my brand forward not knowing that it would get this far to become a brand with a big clientele worldwide as far as Turkey, China, Switzerland, America, Germany, Dubai, Qatar and many more! I am happy with the achievements so far.”
“People’s perception in Uganda when one get wealthy they believe that they are either Illuminati or corrupt but this is not the case many people have worked their butts off to get where they are right now. ”Sylvester says
This label is to encourage the young people of Uganda to work hard. He believes that there is no shortcut t success, hard work, creativity; investing time to recreate is the only way to success.
“When I produced my first T-shirts and jumpers I just wanted extra bucks but then the feedback I got was positive but so many costs were involved, opening up a shop and all the costs that come with it. My bag was my shop and I was the billboard. My friends wanted a similar shirt, their friends wanted a piece of that clothing item.”
The chain has grown beyond what he imagined. He was shocked when his friend called him to tell him that he had met someone in Istanbul putting on his T-shirt.
Beyond just clothing, Sylvester seeks to inspire the young people of Uganda to work hard and aim for excellence. For a generation of instant everything and quick fixes, this message could not have been timelier.
While other businesses decry client scarcity, he struggles with supply; there are stock challenges in Uganda. Sometimes the importers do not have quality T-shirts and Jumpers.
He believes that the only way this will be solved is when he launches into a large scale where he can import his own products.
Sylvester hopes when this barrier is overcome, he can have a shop that has a variety of merchandise; bandanas, caps.