Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



James Harris, better known to wrestling fans as Kamala, the Ugandan Giant, passed away Sunday due to complications from COVID-19. He was 70.

Harris adopted the Kamala (originally Kimala) persona in 1982 in Memphis’ promotion. The character was a Ugandan headhunter who had worked as a bodyguard for deposed Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

Kamala was an effective monster heel, and agile for his size (usually billed as 6-foot-7, 380 pounds). The role was not exactly PC: Kamala worked barefoot, carried a spear, wore a loincloth and spoke by grunting. He had a "handler." Announcers referred to Kamala as a savage, or a beast. You couldn’t use that persona today, but it made Harris a living.

Memphis wrestling legend and long-time WWE announcer Jerry Lawler invented the character. The introductory video below was shot in Lawler’s backyard, not the African bush.

James Harris was a respected performer and a good man. Kamala, RIP.

Thumbnail via Getty Images

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