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How Prof. Kyeyune’s Gifted hands got him to Pope Francis

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A life changing experience

On 27th November, Pope Francis made his maiden visit to Uganda. Among the particular areas he visited was the Catholic Shrine at Munyonyo and the Uganda martyrs shrine at Namugongo. It is at Munyonyo that Prof. George Kyeyune, a member of Staff of Makerere University met and shook hands with the Pope.

Prof. Kyeyune made the sculpture of Andrea Kaggwa, one of Uganda’s martyrs, killed at Munyonyo during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga. We caught up with Prof, Kyeyune, who is still living in the glow of the life changing experience of meeting one of the top religious leaders in the world- Pope Francis.

Getting started
Prof. Kyeyune, a proud Professor of Fine Art in the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art, Makerere University is all smiles after successfully executing the assignment to make a monument of one of Uganda’s martyrs, Anderea Kaggwa that Pope Francis blessed and unveiled at Munyonyo. He successfully bided for the project alongside other sculptors.“The Polish Priest at Munyonyo, Father Marian Kajubi Golab, wanted a sculpture to commemorate Anderea Kaggwa who was martyred at Munyonyo. Several sculptors were contacted and asked to present marquees, and budgets. I emerged winner of the contract,” explains a jovial Prof. Kyeyune.

Throughout the interview, Prof. Kyeyune had a sparkle in the eye and smiled a lot especially when talking about Pope Francis. Prof. Kyeyune is from the catholic faith and dedicatedly wears his Rosary. He was delighted to take on the job, which he says gave him an opportunity to come close, so close to the Pope that he could make out the pores of his (Pope) skin.The sculpture in The sculpture of Anderea Kaggwa at Munyonyoquestion is thus far the biggest piece of work that Prof. Kyeyune has laid his gifted hands on. It was sponsored by two catholic families; the family of Mr. Joseph Yiga- a known business man in town and the family of Rtn. Emmanuel Katongole of Quality Chemicals.  It took him two and a half months to finish this work, which he considers to be one of his masterpieces. The seven feet highsculpture depicts a closer to life image of the deceased Kaggwa. It stands tall at Munyonyo for all to see. “I recommended seven feet. I wanted a monument that would not be dwarfed and one that would not be too big for the building, but also something I would manage to do. When it was done, people swarmed it, kissed it and did all sorts of things. I was gratified,” he reminisces.

Prof. Kyeyune emphasises that the sculpture is designed to bring out the last moments of this particular martyr who is said to have been tied on a log and his hands cut off moments before his death. “He died a painful death but at the same time he was not resigned. He was hopeful, looking forward to a better afterlife. That kind of resilience is what I wanted to infuse in the monument and maybe this is what people were responding to,” Prof. Kyeyune contentedly explains. The monument is made in bronze, a mixture of copper and brass.  

Meeting the Pope
“We were made to rehearse and told to walk in a certain way, not too fast, not too slow,” Prof. Kyeyune gives a hearty laughter as he recalls the drills. “As a staunch catholic, I was very much part of the entire experience of the Pope’s visit and the climax for me was when I was able to get very close to him and shake his hands,” he adds.

Prof. Kyeyune receives a blessed Rosary from Pope FrancisThe Pope was given an explanation of this particular project especially the history on how Anderea Kaggwa met his death because of his commitment to the Christian faith. “What we gave him was a small version of the big sculpture to take home. He asked some questions for clarity especially in relation to the death. One of the sponsors of this sculpture explained to the Pope that Kabaka Mwanga insisted not to have any meals until Anderea’s hand had been cut off and brought before him,” he narrates. History has it that the King’s order was executed by Mukaajanga– the Executor.

It was during this dialogue and explanations that Prof. Kyeyune took a keen look at the Pope. “I had a close look at the Pope because of this extended discussion and it was spiritually uplifting. I was a different person after. He is very ordinary in the human sense, but he has this clout of a Pope which makes the spiritual dimension overwhelming. In this presence, I quietly said a prayer to God, thanking Him for so much,” he asserts.

The aftermathProf. Kyeyune proudly stands next to the monument upon its completion
“Some people suggested that I should not wash my hands. Many came to shake my hand to get the first experience of the Pope’s blessings. My sister, Catherine Namyalo was the first to call. She was astounded seeing me on television while following the proceedings of the Pope’s visit. Other people came to hug me in the days that followed the Pope’s visit. It was as if I had carried some attributes of the Pope with me,” Prof. Kyeyune recounts amidst laughter. The Pope gave him a Rosary which he has since decided to frame and hang in his house. He is grateful to the project sponsors for considering him for the historic opportunity.

The benefit to Makerere University
“One of the reasons I suffered a lot with this work is because our studios are not well facilitated. We lack a lot of basic equipment. We certainly can do much more with some financial aid. I thank the Presidential initiative, it has given us some materials and tools but we need more,” says Prof. Kyeyune. He explains that the project was ambitious, necessitating some components to be done outside Makerere University. He worked with a team of students to accomplish the task and is grateful to Makerere University for allowing him to use the facilities. And as such, Prof. Kyeyune has committed to giving back a percentage of the proceeds towards renovation of the studio at the Margarett Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art.

The project also presented an opportunity for him to try out a mixture of beeswax, paraffin wax and sap from a tree to mould the sculpture. “I used this combination for the sculpture. It makes the wax softer and easier to mould. This is an ongoing experiment. At the moment I am still trying to establish the right proportions. This is going to be my next level of research,” he says.

Prof. Kyeyune during the interview at his office, Makerere UniversityOther works
Prof. Kyeyune is part of the team that sculpted the CHOGM monument and the monument of 50 years of Uganda’s independence. Both these monuments proudly stand at Uganda’s Parliamentary gardens. He worked with Maria Naita on these pieces. He was also the overall in-charge of the team that designed the current legal tender in circulation, right from the 1,000/= note to the 50,000/= note. Within Makerere University, some of his works are visible in the monument of the late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.

Story by Marion Alina

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Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates

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The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (5th L) and Principal CoVAB-Prof. J.D. Kabasa (3rd L) with L-R: Mr. Byakatonda Patrick, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, Mr. Felix Okello, the Mace bearer and Dr. Samuel Majalija at the CoVAB@50 Celebrations Commissioning, 17th June 2021, Nakyesasa-Namulonge.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) on Thursday 17th June, 2021 commenced celebrations to mark 50 Years of Veterinary Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Services (HESTIS) in Uganda. The blended event held at the Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa, Namulonge as well as online was presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma and First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES), Hon. Janet Museveni both represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

The event, held as part of Makerere University Centenary Celebrations (1922-2022) was a moment of celebration for 1,930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs who were awarded certificates in recognition of completion of their respective courses. Owing to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instituted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the students from Incubation Hubs in Atiak, Butaleja, Mubende, Nakyesasa, Sheema and Wakiso were awarded their certificates virtually.

In her remarks read by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Hon. Janet Museveni thanked Makerere University for supporting grassroots level development through groundbreaking innovations under the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development-Skills for Production Enterprise Development and Accreditation (AFRISA-SPEDA) model.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.

“I am extremely pleased that Makerere University, through those innovative approaches, has developed and launched the alternative approach to building human capital and transferring knowledge to enterprises in communities.

“I would like to encourage all those involved in skills development to adopt methodologies that transform those trainees that go through these programs in ways that enable them also transform the societies they live in” read the Minister’s remarks.

She further noted that commissioning of the CoVAB@50 celebrations was both timely and rewarding. “The commissioning of the college innovations indeed has made meaning. This is a true path to growth of an Academic and Development College of the University, and we congratulate you again.”

Addressing the congregation as Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CoVAB alumna and incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) under the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero upon her recent appointment. “We thank His Excellency the President for identifying you. Science is in good hands.”

Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK
Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK

Prof. Nawangwe urged Dr. Musenero to address the structures of managing research and innovation in Uganda, “including the role of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the apparent need to establish a Research Council for Uganda.”

In the same breath he thanked the outgoing and pioneer Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumuwesigye, for his role in ensuring that the ministry is empowered to carry out its mandate.

The Chancellor congratulated CoVAB upon training the bulk of Veterinary Doctors in Uganda over the last 50 years and more recently, Laboratory Technologists at the highest level. He recognised Makerere University‘s obligation to contribute to the economic self-determination of Uganda and thanked CoVAB for conducting research that addresses hindrances to national development, especially in the livestock industry.

“The anti-tick vaccine is one of such innovations which will solve the huge problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the college is researching and we thank you for the enthusiasm” he added.

Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.
Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.

The Chancellor commended CoVAB for being the vanguard of transformation of the grassroots communities through the SPEDA model. “I urge Government to fund this important initiative so that it can more meaningfully contribute to solving the big problem of youth unemployment.”

In her remarks, Dr. Monica Musenero commended the Principal, CoVAB, Prof. John David Kabasa for fulfilling the College’s dream of enabling the masses who drop out of the education value chain as well as those who complete education but have no skills for livelihood, to attain certification in agribusiness entrepreneurship.

“Many people attain academic success and write papers, publish and they become professors but without demonstrable impact on their nation. You have shown by the thousands that you have touched nationwide that indeed you are a professor of national transformation. Congratulations,” remarked Dr. Musenero.

She therefore congratulated the teams at CoVAB and AFRISA upon successfully conceiving and executing a model that is non-traditional, informal, not easily understood and not documented in any textbooks.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).

As Minister, Dr. Musenero noted that witnessing thousands of individuals from across the country whose skills had been honed through a university programme receiving certificates gave her a lot of hope and material to embark on her tenure with. “I will be looking forward to harnessing these resources as we initiate work on the next leg of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country under the President’s Office.”

The invitation to the Principal, CoVAB to present students for the award of the ordinary diplomas, ordinary certificates and artisan certificates was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba. He congratulated the awardees upon successfully completing their respective courses and graduating with evidence on an enterprise.

Prof. Kabasa clarified that the approach used to train the day’s awardees was not simply a vocational skilling. “The combination of action research with knowledge transfer, skilling, plus assessment and accreditation processes done by organs like the DIT (Directorate of Industrial Training, MoES) has given us this result, for the University to provide true leadership and transformation of the community.”

Present at the celebrations were the Director, DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick and the Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES Madam Elizabeth Bateme who have worked through the Academic-Community-Public-Private-Partnership model to ensure that students graduate as entrepreneurs with micro enterprises.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.

Prior to presiding over the ceremony, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports officially commissioned the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre – Nakyesasa.

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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

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A male researcher inspects a maize cob in a demonstration plot on 13th August 2010 at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Wakiso Uganda.

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) on 7th June 2021 released the seasonal rainfall outlook for the June-July-August (JJA) 2021 period. Contained in the outlook were advisories to various strategic sectors of the economy.

Particularly, the advisory to the Agriculture and Food Security sector was;

  • JJA season is often part of the normal dry season in the areas of South-western, western, parts of the eastern, and central Uganda. The farming communities in these areas are therefore advised to be vigilant during post-harvest handling by considering proper drying of the harvest on clean surfaces, use of tarpaulins and drying on racks;
  • Preparation of good storage facilities of produce to avoid compromising on quality and safety;
  • Channeling of the run-off water into the gardens in order to maximize on the soil moisture conservation;
  • For those areas where near normal to above normal rainfall is expected (most parts of northern and eastern Uganda), farmers are encouraged to continue with regular weeding, pest and disease surveillance and control;
  • Due to the expected enhanced rainfall in those areas, water logging and proliferation of fungal and bacterial crop diseases are likely to occur.
  • Open drainage channels around household and gardens to reduce risks from stagnant water causing damage to root tuber crops;
  • Flash floods and waterlogging are highly anticipated to occur in low lying areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall such as Katakwi and Kapelebyong. Therefore, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property;
  • In Karamoja sub-region, where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.

Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors

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URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.

MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.

Eligibility

  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
  3. Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.

How to Apply

Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.

Confirmation/Approval Process

MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.

NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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