Messe building

Messe bought more land from renting out my house.

Most people think that to start building a house, you need to have all the money stated by the architect but Nicholas Mpirwe aka Messe tells how he got his dream house using the meagre earnings he was getting at that time.

Nicholas Mpirwe, a comedian, musician, and bar owner, got the idea to start building in 1997 from Peter Sematimba’s Semat Production in Makindye.

He had called us to the studio for payment for a musical tour we had done. It was partly his home and it was beautiful. He gave me Shs2.7m for the three shows I had done. After the payment, I used part of the money to buy a car and I saved the rest to buy land.

At that time, I also operated a music studio called Mega Tracks, along Jinja road where I also earned money. So I used my savings and part of what I was earning at the studio to buy my first plot of land in Munyonyo in 2000. I bought it for Shs2.9m. It is 50 by 50 feet.


I paid Shs1.5m upfront and when the person I was buying the land from saw that I was interested in the land, he told me to pay up to Shs2.8m and forewent the Shs100,000. I was encouraged and started saving for bricks and cement.


I started the construction process with Shs1.5m. with it, I was able to start digging the foundation. My site supervisor, Ismael, was very encouraging.

He would tell me that even if I got as little as Shs50, 000, I could buy two bags of cement and it would build up to some level. If I earned about Shs100,000 I would buy two trips of sand and deposit it at the sight. This enabled the builders to continue doing their work.

Demolishing the house.

However, when I built the bungalow up to the ring beam, I realized that I could not see the lake (Lake Victoria) which was the reason I had bought land in Munyonyo. One of the builders advised me to demolish the house and rebuild it as a double-storied one and have my master bedroom face the lake. We did that and we started afresh.


I did not demolish the whole house because I had built a strong foundation. So just demolished some walls and added more pillars with strong concrete and many iron bars.

It took me six years to complete the house. At the time I worked at Dembe FM where I earned Shs400,000 a month. I also worked at Viper Room where I earned Shs300,000 a month. On the side, I did comedy under Amarula Family as well as music performances where I would earn on average between Shs150,000 and Shs200,000.

I earned Shs800,000 on the whole and I could afford to deposit Shs500,000 a month, on my construction project. Sometimes I saved a lump sum, for example, if a certain building phase required about Shs3m I would save it and then deposit it for the items I was required to buy.

In 2004, I moved into the garage. But I would feel challenged. Every time I passed through the other rooms, I would tell myself that they needed to be cemented and plastered.

I started buying bags of cement and before long, I had finished the ground floor. I went on to start saving to finish the slab because water had begun sipping through the walls and threatening to spoil what I had just finished. So I constructed the beam.

By this time I was saving with Cheap Hardware in Bbunga. With time, they could trust me so they would give me material and I pay later. Slowly, I managed to roof the house.

I was glad I had the lake view. I would invite my friends but they started complaining that the place was not complete. They told me to complete the upper part too. I looked for money and completed the house. I completed my five-roomed house towards the end of 2006 and I used about Shs150m.


I stayed in my house for two years, then one morning someone walked up to me and asked if he could rent my house. I thought about it; I had a small family and could afford to rent a small house.

I vacated it and rented it out. When I rented out my house, I started saving again. My tenant had paid rent for a year. He has paid me Shs11m.

More land.

After getting money from renting out my house, I immediately went to Jomayi Property Consultants and bought a plot of land in one of their estates in Katale-Sseguku. At the time, the plots went for Shs10m. I made a deposit of Shs6m. After a while, I paid another Shs2m and he wrote off the balance. He gave me my land title.

I have another plot in Zzana. I also bought it from a real estate company. Working on radio lets us know these people personally and I have used that advantage to acquire that land. I paid for it slowly. It costs Shs15m but I started by paying Shs5m. I bought another piece of land in Kitende.

Construction on two sites.

I started constructing in Katale in 2008 and I am building slowly. At the time I earned a monthly salary of between Shs2m and Shs2.5m from Amarula Family and from radio, at Dembe I earned a take-home of Shs900,000 and Shs700,000 from The Basement (which had rebranded from Viper Room).

I sacrificed Shs2.5m to start constructing at Katale. Today it is five years since I started on it and I am at the wall plate. I am running two sites at the same time, both storied houses. I am depositing at a hardware shop. In the future, I want to get to a point where I earn Shs8m from the rentals I am building.

learning points

Nicholas Mpirwe shares what he learned while constructing his houses, he also gives tips on construction:

There are so many lessons I have learned as I build. You need to be at the site as builders are constructing because they will either steal your cement or put less of it in the concrete which means the house will not be firm enough.

What I do is I build every Saturday and Sunday when I know I have time and can supervise my sites. By 6 am I am at the site and then call on the builders.

Buy material from trusted dealers.

It is also good for you to buy your materials from trusted hardware shops so that you do not get fake products. You have to be careful when choosing builders because not everyone who claims to be a builder is one. Fake ones are all around you

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