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Mak Mourns Iconic Literary Alumnus Prof Rubadiri

  • In General
  • 19 Sep 2018 - 2:23pm
  • By Mark Wamai
  • 4,742
A collage of the Late Prof. David James Rubadiri's photos and some of his literary works. Courtesy Image:The Writers Guild-Kenya Facebook page

We have learnt with the deepest sorrow imaginable of the death of Prof. David James Rubadiri.; Africa’s celebrated poet, scholar and diplomat and even more immediately Makerere University’s very own son. We would like to express our solidarity as the Makerere University with you all at this time of grief.

Makerere University deeply mourns the passing of an iconic literary figure, whom all Ugandan school children know by his poems “Stanley Meets Mutesa.”, “Yet Another Song” and Death at Mulago.  The entire University fraternity and in particular the Department of Literature feels a deep sense of loss and a special attachment to this poet and teacher for the distinguished service he gave to Makerere University and the Ugandan nation as whole to the extent that most Ugandans know him as a Ugandan scholar and poet. We know that Ugandans have agreed to think of him as Ugandan by experience and Malawian by birth.

We also know that Prof. Rubadiri loved Makerere and Uganda deeply and made no secret of his great pride in Makerere as his alma mater. Apart from his long illustrious career here at the University in the Department of Literature, he was our ambassador wherever he went. He always spoke of Makerere with great love and loyalty.

Rubadiri’s love of letters was nurtured here at Makerere and some of his most known work such as the Anthology: Poems From East Africa was edited with his teacher and colleague David Cook while he was here at this University. He was among the young African writers of the 1960s who made an indelible mark on the African literary landscape and its political conscience. Makerere also honours Prof. Rubadiri as one of Africa’s earliest talented writers; a poet who keenly identified with the humanity of Africans in his written work.

Prof. Rubadiri distinguished himself as an indomitable son of letters in East Africa. A writer who stood tall in his literary achievement. We will remember and honour him as writer who many of us studied during our formative years at secondary school here in Uganda  and most profoundly as a scholar who made us feel proud to be Ugandan.

The Literature Department here has the most pleasant memories of their interaction with him when he taught here. He was extremely gracious, warmly generous, hardworking and meticulous with detail. He loved the subject of Literature and it was most natural that this shone through all he did. There are numerous stories about classes filling to capacity with students who just came from different departments to sit at Rubadiri’s feet and watch and listen to him teach poetry.  We are grateful that he was part of us. We will miss him deeply. We hope too that we will continue to pass on what we learnt from him to our students.

The literary fraternity here and all over the globe mourns Prof. Rubadiri deeply but we mourn with hope encouraged by the legacy this great mind left behind.

May his soul rest in peace.

Yours Sincerely

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe


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