UCU student mixes entrepreneurship with artistry
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/07/ucu-student-mixes-entrepreneurship-with-artistry/
By Patty Huston-Holm
Creativity and resourcefulness have long been part of life for Onyong Yubu Prince. So, for the gospel singer-turned university student, it was only natural that he should jump at the chance to do something new – like writing children’s books.
He is one of more than 300 Uganda Christian University (UCU) students and staff members who were engaged in the UCU Literature Department mother tongue translation project – an initiative designed to enhance literacy and increase excitement for reading and writing among Ugandan children. At the end of 2018, nearly 700 stories had been translated into 26 mostly-Ugandan languages.
Onyong, a student in UCU Journalism, Communication and Media Studies, wrote one of those stories. It was entitled “How to become what I want.” After that, he translated somebody else’s story called “Arrow of God.” Lastly, he wrote a final book entitled “Satan is a lazy man,” which became popular in a short amount of time. Within a few months, he sold more than 200 paperback books for 8,000 Ugandan shillings (around $2.25 American) each.
Onyong, age 24, acknowledged his success is as much about his overall reputation as it is his literary talent.
“I’m famous in northern Uganda,” he stated. “I have been a gospel singer since age 17, writing and performing my own songs.”
His notoriety is connected to his appearance and his talent. He openly discusses his size. He is small in stature and will remain so throughout his life – the result of a birth defect caused, he said, by medicine given his mother before she gave birth. It has hindered relationships with some.
“I am still discriminated against because I look smaller than most people, but it doesn’t bother me,” Onyong said. “God loves me, and He wants me to prove to others that I can achieve through what He has created in me.”
Onyong’s success also is about social media. With Facebook “friends” at a maximum of 5,000 per account, he has three Facebook pages. From there, he makes connections for performances and has made contacts to sell books in English, Lango and Acholi languages to schools and children ages 10 and below.
Onyong is uncertain where his career will take him when he receives his bachelor’s degree this October, but he is hopeful about getting a television anchor job.
His favorite scripture is I Corinthians 1:7, which addresses shaming the powerful. It gives him courage.
“I have accepted Jesus as my personal Savior,” he said. “He always answers my prayers.”
To learn more about the UCU mother tongue translation project, go to https://www.ugandapartners.org/2018/10/mother-tongue-translation-project-elevates-literacy-for-ugandas-children/. To support UCU students, programs and facilities, go to www.ugandapartners.org and click on the “donate” button or contact UCU Partners Executive Director, Mark Bartels, at firstname.lastname@example.org.