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The Modern Mutembeyi- Photo Essay


The Modern Mutembeyi- Photo Essay

By Tutu Tusiime

In Uganda, a mutembeyi refers to a retailer of goods who physically walks around carrying their merchandise, as a means to reach physical customers. Mackline Asiimire is a 27year old Businesswoman and owner of Mackie’s Kollection. She also serves on the National Youth Council as Secretary for Sports and Culture.

Mackline also describes herself as, a Modern Mutembeyi, or one who uses technology to conduct business and reach their customers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, physical business centres were closed for many months, leaving business owners desperate. 

It took Mackline flexibility and learning to weather the storm and come out a solidified and successful Modern Mutembeyi. These photos (credit: author) follow the story of learning and adapting one’s business operations to fit circumstances.

Asiimire Mackline’s fashion store Mackie’s Kollection at Trade Centre in Ntinda-Kampala where several retail businesses are run physically.


Business centres were closed down for at least two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns that were declared in Uganda in 2020 and 2021, which left many business owners with no access to their merchandise and no way of earning.

Mackline, regretted choosing business over employment, adapted to selling and physically delivering whatever people needed such as COVIDEX, at the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to survive since her business was closed down.

Mackline, waiting for physical customers in vain after business centres resumed operations. Many shops remained closed while those that were open had fewer customers.

Mackline at a training conference by Faraja Africa Foundation, targeted at entrepreneurship empowerment of youth with digital skills and sustainability; one of the business programs created by government and the private sector to incubate youth-led businesses and ideas, before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mackline and a friend started an online business hub called Kampala Mall after the first lockdown in 2020 as a way to adapt their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. She learned more about running a successful online business and tailoring it to one’s target market.

Mackline takes pictures of her products, edits customers’ sizes on the pictures and markets them directly to her contacts as well as on her personal and business WhatsApp status, Instagram and Facebook pages.

A customer scrolling through the online platform of Makie’s Kollection on Instagram where orders can be made through direct messaging, payments made using mobile money and products delivered using boda-bodas.

Mackline, a successful Modern Mutembeyi stands in her shop as business goes on online, just like several retail businesses now that have operations on platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook

As a youth leader, Mackline champions training and sharing her business knowledge with other youth and business owners.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Tutu Tusiime and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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