Connect with us

Humanities & Social Sciences

Mak & Wits Forum on Sidelines of NAM & G77 Summits Debates African Agency

Published

on

On Friday 19th January 2024, Makerere University in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand’s African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS) held a Forum based on the theme “Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices.” Dubbed the only academic event on the sidelines of the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government, and the Third South Summit organized under the framework of Group 77 (G77) and China, the event was among other objectives aimed at giving a platform for youth to discuss the notion of African Agency.

Providing an overview and conceptual understanding of the forum, Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala, Director of ACSUS noted that African Agency is an important notion particularly in the gradual shift from a bipolar to a promising multipolar world. “We are celebrating the end of what we describe as American hegemony, and now moving into a phase where there is a semblance of multiplicity of powers emerging globally.”

Describing agency as “the ability of Africans to advance their voice globally”, Prof. Khadiagala noted that this agency had since the decolonization period of the 1960s been subject to the dilemma of either advancing as 50-plus sovereign African States or as a collective. He nevertheless opined that “there is no real effective African Agency if we are not talking about Agency as a collective enterprise.”

Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala (Left) and Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Right) interact during the Forum. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala (Left) and Prof. Josephine Ahikire (Right) interact during the Forum.

Prof. Khadiagala therefore paid tribute to the first NAM Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in April 1955 for inviting Africa to the discussion table even before several States had gained independence. He equally acknowledged the G77 Meeting of 1979 held in Arusha, Tanzania as having given birth to “the new international economic order”, which became a rallying point for the promotion of global economic reforms. This new international economic order, he added, was unfortunately dealt a harsh blow in 1982, when the powers in Washington and England insisted that they would only negotiate with individual Nation States.

The abyss that NAM and the G77 went into after 1982 notwithstanding, Prof. Khadiagala noted that the hosting of the NAM plus G77 and China Summits in Kampala and the subsequent assuming of the Chairmanship by Uganda was worth celebrating. He regarded this shift as an opportunity for Africa to seize the moment, begin to set the agenda and be in the driver’s seat of the Non-Aligned Movement, and not just be guests at the table where key decisions are made as has hitherto been the case.

Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration who moderated the forum thanked Prof. Khadiagala and ASUS for partnering with Makerere to organize the event, noting that it is in tandem with a project focused on the Historicizing and Rethinking Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences at Makerere University since 1922. The publication from the project, he added, deeply interrogates the topic of African Agency.

Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi moderates the Forum. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi moderates the Forum.

He further noted that whereas no NAM Youth Summit had been organized at the Kampala Edition, the outcome of the Forum, a comprehensive report, will highlight the voices of youth, “Interrogating the question of the African Agency as it is playing out at the moment in the NAM and G77.”

In addition to the report, Dr. Kaweesi shared that an edited volume of the book based on the Forum theme will be published within the year. The book will be a publication of Makerere University and the University of the Witwatersrand.

The Deputy Director ACSUS, Dr. Bob Wekesa noted that the longstanding collaboration between Makerere and Wits affords both institutions the opportunity to advance partnerships in terms of joint research, exchange of faculty and students, and joint fieldwork. Turning to the timing of the Forum, he added that the “NAM and G77 Summits provide an opportune moment for us to demonstrate in real terms that we are actually very pragmatic and working towards tangible areas of partnership.”

Dr. Bob Wekesa makes his remarks. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Bob Wekesa makes his remarks.

The Chief Guest at the Forum and Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Prof. Josephine Ahikire thanked the key parties in the collaboration between Makerere and Wits for convening the event and expressed CHUSS’ commitment to support similar initiatives.

“We are really committed to advancing what we have called the African Voice and African Intellectualism. This is why when we talk about NAM, especially in the fact that it is described in the sense of what it is not, ‘Non-Aligned’, I think ‘What are we aligned to?’ should be the most important question” remarked the Principal.

Prof. Ahikire further emphasised the need for we the Africans to go beyond the buzzword of decolonization and mean business by revalidating African epistemologies, African indigenous knowledge systems and African languages. She therefore called for the creation of many more spaces such as the day’s Forum to articulate the African visions and what is referred to by the notion of global south.

The Chief Guest and Principal CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Chief Guest and Principal CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire.

“Somebody asked ‘Who is an African?’ that question is as political as you can imagine but definitely, the answer and the solution is in the definition of what you mean by African, whether on the continent or in the diaspora, the voice around critiquing global marginalization, and sometimes it is self-marginalization especially when we negate everything that is African” said. Prof. Ahikire.

The Principal added that beyond the toll on human life posed by COVID-19, the pandemic demonstrated that African indigenous knowledge systems offered precious lessons that we ought to take forward. “There was a reminder to return to humanity, to Ubuntu, and the things that began to matter were not actually things (property) but new ways of living humanity. Those are the kinds of lessons that we could take to defining and envisioning our futures and not always lamenting.”

Panelists from Left to Right: Dr. Bob Wekesa, Advocate Francis Gimara, Dr. David Ngendo-Tshimba, Mr. Benon Hebert Oluka and Dr. Charles Batte. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Panelists from Left to Right: Dr. Bob Wekesa, Advocate Francis Gimara, Dr. David Ngendo-Tshimba, Mr. Benon Hebert Oluka and Dr. Charles Batte.

Following the official opening ceremony, the Principal was gifted a copy of the book “Africa’s policy towards the US: The Biden Era” edited by Bob Wekesa. The event also served as an opportunity to launch the book “China’s Footprint in East Africa: Pessimism versus Optimism” written by Bob Wekesa.

The Forum was also enriched panel discussions based on the themes; African agency towards global South powers and The intersection of Agenda 2063, EAC policies, and the global South. The combined panel discussion from the themes was moderated by Dr. Gardner Rwakiseta Herbert from Julius Nyerere Leadership Center (JNLC) and featured as panelists; Dr. Charles Bate from Tree Adoption Uganda, and Mr. Benon Hebert Oluka from the Global Investigative Journalism Network of the African Union Media Fellowship. Additional panelists included Advocate Francis Gimara, Dr. David Ngendo-Tshimba from Uganda Martyrs University, and Dr. Bob Wekesa.

Some of the participants pose for a group photo. Left is Prof. Julius Kiiza one of the presenters of the day, while one of the panelists Dr. William Tayeebwa is Second Left. Some of the Forum Moderators are Dr. Eunice Akullo (Rear: 7th Left) and Dr. Gerald Walulya (Rear: 8th Right). Seated Right is one of the Forum Coordinators Ms. Ritah Namisango. Mak & Wits-ACSUS "Africa in the Global South: Advancing African Agency, Amplifying African Voices" Forum, 19th January 2024, Council Room, Level 3, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the participants pose for a group photo. Left is Prof. Julius Kiiza one of the presenters of the day, while one of the panelists Dr. William Tayeebwa is Second Left. Some of the Forum Moderators are Dr. Eunice Akullo (Rear: 7th Left) and Dr. Gerald Walulya (Rear: 8th Right). Seated Right is one of the Forum Coordinators Ms. Ritah Namisango.

A second panel discussion tackled the theme Amplifying African voices: media and summit diplomacy and was moderated by Dr. Gerald Walulya from Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University and featured Dr. William Tayeebwa from the same Department. Dr. Eunice Akullo from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration then moderated a presentation by Prof. Julius Kiiza of the same Department on the theme Gender and youth perspectives on African agency in the global South.

The Forum was coordinated by Dr. Edward Silvestre Kaweesi, Mr. Solomon Winyi, and the Principal Public Relations Officer Ms. Ritah Namisango.

Click the video below to watch full proceedings of the Forum

Mak & Wits (ACSUS) Africa in The Global South Forum – Sidelines of 19th NAM & 3rd South G77+China Summits

Humanities & Social Sciences

CHUSS Biannual Newsletter Jan-Jun 2024

Published

on

The Principal CHUSS, Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Welcome to this edition of the CHUSS Bi-Annual Newsletter. The issue highlights major activities that have unfolded in the college between January and June 2024. It covers major thematic areas of Teaching and Learning, Human Resources, Knowledge transfer and partnerships.

Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala
PRINCIPAL

Continue Reading

Humanities & Social Sciences

Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over CHUSS Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nkabala

Published

on

Prof. Josephine Ahikire hands over CHUSS leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala on 31st May 2024 in the CHUSS Smart room. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

“As outgoing Principal of the biggest college, the most vibrant college, the college with the power of the word, the college with the power of language, the college with the power of vibe, I hereby hand over to you Professor Helen Nkabala Nabalirwa..”

“I extend my congratulations to Prof. Helen Nkabala, the incoming Principal and I pledge full support in her new position, so that at  CHUSS, we remain on the move”.

That was  Prof. Josephine Ahikire message as she handed over  the  instruments of power to  the newly elected Principal for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala on Friday 31st May 2024. Nkabala pledged participatory leadership and assured attendees that CHUSS will continue to excel.

The afternoon handover over ceremony held in the College Smart room was witnessed by  the University Secretary and Director Human Resources represented. Prof. Nkabala’s family (mother, uncle and sister, her spouse Mr. Nkabala) witnessed the occasion.  The Principal College of Natural Sciences Prof. Ireeta Tumps, Head GAMSU Prof. Sylvia Nanyonga Tamusuza, staff  from Makerere University staff tribunal, Prof. Amanda from CEDAT, also graced the occasion. Members of CHUSS management and staff including Deputy Principal Dr. Eric Awich, Deans, Heads of departments, coordinators, support and administrative staff attended the ceremony.

I have enjoyed my tenure says outgoing Prof Josephine Ahikire

Prof. Josephine Ahikire said, CHUSS has created a cohort of leaders especially women to take it on.

“I have truly enjoyed my tenure as Principal and I send my appreciation to my Deputy Principal Assoc. Prof. Eric Awich, the Deans and heads. We delivered as a team right from the top to the last person. Now  that public universities are being run as government departments Prof. Ahikire called for  collaborative spirit  from all administrators, college and schools  and departments  to be able to deliver” .

Ahikire paid special recognition to Makerere University top management for their unwavering support and for  creating enabling environment  for members of  CHUSS to deliver what they  pursue as their  mantra, CHUSS on the Move.

“ I learnt one thing from the current Vice Chancellor that not all people need to line up to have a document signed. So, I removed some of those benches from the Principals corridor. Not all people have to sit and wait for a travel form to be signed”, she said.

Prof. Ahikire receives a certificate of recognition from the US representative Simon Kizito. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Ahikire receives a certificate of recognition from the US representative Simon Kizito.

She also extended gratitude to the  donors who have supported the college especially  those supposedly unmarketable fields around the humanities and social sciences. She noted that as the rest of the donors  pursue the marketable fields along the neoliberal agenda, the soul of humanity  is falling apart. She pointed out  the Mellon Foundation and the Gerda Henkel Siftung for being at the fore front and whose funds  have been used  to create vibrancy at CHUSS.

Giving an overview of her hand over report, Ahikire said the role of the Principal is guided by the Universities and Tertiary Institutions Act  and the College statute whose functions are stipulated in there. CHUSS, she said, is one of the biggest units of the university offering the oldest disciplines which provide the key for unlocking the human potential for development.

In the report, the Professor  highlighted human resources status in the college comprising 11 prof. 26 associate professors 44  senior lecturers, 87 lecturers and 70 Assist lectures, 26 administrative staff and 52 support staff noting that, the college was still bottom heavy with more assistant lecturers than lecturers.

The report also indicated the college assets in terms of office equipment, furniture and computers mostly acquired through projects, subvention development fund or furniture and fittings.

The report further highlighted the college wide projects in terms of how they operate through the Principals office, stores and assets register, the budget performance, ledger for each project, the project balances and the cohorts of PhD training.

Prof. Ahikire receives a gift from CHUSS Deans presented by Dr. Baluku Martin. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Ahikire receives a gift from CHUSS Deans presented by Dr. Baluku Martin.

Major accomplishments

Prof. Ahikire reported that in the recent years, the college made progress in terms of staff  promotion and most were still in the process . “In the last three years, a total of 87 members have been promoted. Six professors, nine associates, 35 senior lecturers, and 37 lecturers”.

She said, the college has one of the biggest student population in the university adding that, there has been improvement in terms of graduate output. .

“In the last graduation, we had 30 PhDs. I have put the graduation trends, especially for graduate programs, and the fact that we have really improved, means that supervision level has improved, the processing of examination has also improved, and the processing of results has also improved. And that is something that everybody in this room can actually own.”

 Notably, she also reported that the college was  able to pilot a students’ management system.

“When I came into office, you’d ask this student, what is the progress and you’d never know how to track. So as of now, at the touch of a button, you can know that if this student submitted a thesis or a dissertation, this is where it has reached”, she explained.

Prof. Ahikire displays the plaque from the college presented to her in recognition of her exemplary service. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Ahikire displays the plaque from the college presented to her in recognition of her exemplary service.

Among the  challenges, Prof. Ahikire highlighted  the limited  teaching and office space, accreditation of courses, limited human and financial resources including  grant and research portfolio,

In terms of the issues to consider, Ahikire stressed  the need to pursue  the research- led agenda  and graduate training, and expressed the need for the academic board to be facilitated to serve as a driving force behind CHUSS research agenda. Ahikire called upon  staff to  first have the research agenda, and then mobilize resources and have Graduate training as a pivotal aspect of research and  to continuously upgrade the infrastructure.

Prof. Nkabala hails Predecessor for laying foundation. Assures that CHUSS will Continue to Excel

Assoc. Prof. Nkabala appreciated the outgoing Principal for laying the ground.

“A very good afternoon, friends. It is with a lot of humility that I stand before you this afternoon, taking over what that is already done. I would like thank my predecessor, who has just handed over, Principal Emeritus Professor Josephine Ahikire, Thank you for laying the ground, and thank you for handing over. Friends, I would like to start by acknowledging the core people who make what CHUSS is”. Nkabala aknowlegded.

Incoming Principal, Assoc. Prof. Helen Namabalirwa Nkabala making her remarks. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Incoming Principal, Assoc. Prof. Helen Namabalirwa Nkabala making her remarks.

Nkabala also recognized deans, heads, administrative, support and all staff for leading CHUSS to where it is assuring them that college will remain on move.

“ I want to give you my assurance that while I know that change is difficult, I cannot lie to you that there is no change. We have changed and you have seen that. But CHUSS will continue to excel with your support. What we did, is to change the driving seat, but you are the engine”, Prof. Nkabala assured and remarked that  she counts on the Professors to offer support and guidance.

“So it is up to us, me and you and Prof. Ahikire as one of the critical Professors and others. I want to pay allegiance and also assure you that for CHUSS to go forward, we are looking up to you to offer   academic leadership. So when we come please accept us. You rightly noted that e are bottom heavy, I will continue from where you have stopped and do my best”. Nkabala promised adding:

“I will reach out to all the leaders and I want to assure all the staff in CHUSS,  that I will reach  to each and every one of you. So, dear deans present, heads of departments, I will request that we have an entry meeting in each and every school and department. We are 16 and we shall talk together to see how we carry on this work that I start today”, she asserted.

Prof. Nkabala's uncle (Left)  and mother (Centre) witnessing the handover. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Nkabala’s uncle (Left)  and mother (Centre) witnessing the handover.

Nkabala also called on the office of the university secretary for support.

“I was excited when I heard the US pledging total support, underline the word total support, because Professor Ahikire  said, you give them funds for one course, yes, yet we have 37 programmes. So, when I knock on your door on Tuesday, because Monday is a public holiday, please receive me”

Stating that she hails from a very humble background, Nkabala requested staff  to be friends to  work together and  to see the continuity in a very peaceful way.

University Secretary Recognises Prof. Ahikire for exemplary leadership: Counsels on leadership qualities

Representing the Makerere University Secretary, the Deputy University Secretary Simon Kizito offered reflections on leadership dynamics during the handover ceremony.

The Secretary began by acknowledging the universal truth that despite our religious teachings, we all stumble and make mistakes. Drawing a parallel between these human imperfections and the challenges of leadership, he emphasized the importance of continuous learning and growth.

The University Secretary's representative Mr. Simon Kizito giving his remarks. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The University Secretary’s representative Mr. Simon Kizito giving his remarks.

He  shared bits of wisdom collected from his own experiences. He spoke of the inevitability of conflict in leadership roles, urging leaders to approach conflicts with a positive mindset, viewing them as opportunities for resolution and growth

With a touch of vulnerability, he opened up about the loneliness that often accompanies leadership positions. “It’s not easy,” he admitted, “to make tough decisions and stand by them.” But he offered reassurance that in the face of solitude, there lies an opportunity for leaders to make a positive impact through their actions.

The University Secretary spoke of failure as a natural part of the leadership journey, urging leaders to embrace setbacks as stepping stones to success. He reminded the audience that time is finite, urging leaders to make the most of their tenure by prioritizing effective time management and delegation.

Mr. Nkabala (standing) husband to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala witnessed the handover. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mr. Nkabala (standing) husband to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala witnessed the handover.

The Secretary emphasized the importance of self-care and the acceptance of feedback in maintaining effective leadership. With genuine warmth, he expressed gratitude for the exemplary leadership of outgoing Principal Ahikire, promising continued support for CHUSS under its new leadership.

He expressed his confidence in the future of CHUSS, reaffirming the collective commitment to excellence and growth at the institution.

Director Human Resource Grateful for Ahikire’s leadership says, Change is Inevitable

Represented by Makubuya Godfrey, the Director Human Resource Makerere University guided on the need to appreciate  that change is inevitable.

“In a leadership, things happen for a cause. And once they do, then the leaders have to accept because God is in between whatever is happening, either for or against. So as this has happened, that change is coming and we are glad it’s coming, you know, we know at a given time it will happen”,

The Director appreciated Professor Ahikire  for her service to the university.

Mr. Godfrey Makubuya representing the Director Human Resources. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mr. Godfrey Makubuya representing the Director Human Resources.

“She has served us for quite some time. And we are very grateful for that leadership. You know, she served even before a deputy principal, acted as  Principal and  became principal. We are grateful that God provided you that opportunity to offer yourself and the leaders at the time. So, an opportunity is now here that she has to hand over to another leader”. he noted.

As an outgoing principal, Makubuya believed  many of the staff  had interacted with Prof. Ahikire  at different levels and  shared a lot.

“And, Professor Nkabala, we welcome you to this college. Of course, it’s not new to you, but in leadership of the college. And it’s our pledge that actually we will work with you to take the college and our university in the right direction”. He added

Front row: Assoc. Prof. Helen Nkabala (4th Left) and Prof Josephine Ahikire (5th Left) in a group photo with some staff members after the handover ceremony. Prof. Josephine Ahikire Hands Over College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Leadership to Assoc. Prof. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, 31st May 2024, CHUSS Smart room, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Front row: Assoc. Prof. Helen Nkabala (4th Left) and Prof Josephine Ahikire (5th Left) in a group photo with some staff members after the handover ceremony.

View on CHUSS

Continue Reading

Humanities & Social Sciences

Mak Luminaries Call for the Promotion of Humanities & Literature in Uganda’s Education System for a Balanced Citizenry with Human & Moral Values

Published

on

Prof. Arthur Gakwandi (Centre) Prof. Umar Kakumba (5th Right) and Prof. Austin Bukenya (4th Right) in a group photo with the CHUSS College leadership and other luminaries after the opening session of the Celebration. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University Literary legends Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Austin Bukenya have commended government effort in promoting Natural sciences and building the middle class economy with reservations.

Whereas promotion of natural sciences is backed by good intentions, the professors contend that downgrading humanities and social sciences will result into a population without human and moral values.

They proposed that ,for holistic human development, both natural, humanistic and social sciences must be promoted.

The two professors were speaking during their 80th Birthday on 5th April 2024 at Makerere University‘s Yusuf Lule Auditorium. The Department of Literature in collaboration with the School of Languages Literature and Communication and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences organised a half day literary event codenamed: Celebrating Literary Legends: Gakwandi and Bukenya@80 aimed  at recognizing, celebrating and debating these two literary legends as part of Makerere’s literary luminaries that have contributed to her indisputable literary iconicity. Arthur Gakwandi and Austin Bukenya are seminal writers and literary scholars in Makerere University and Uganda’s history,  widely celebrated beyond Uganda’s borders.

Prof. Austin Bukenya (Right) and Prof. Arthur Gakwandi (2nd Right) pose with some of the gifts they received at the event. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Austin Bukenya (Right) and Prof. Arthur Gakwandi (2nd Right) pose with some of the gifts they received at the event.

Reflecting on the Ugandan Society for the years he has lived and where the country is heading, Prof. Arthur Gakwandi noted that Government has focused and made progress in expanding  the  middle income class. He however noted that no one is concerned about the kind of  middle class being created.

“I see people driving huge land cruisers on the highway and they lower window screens and throw  bottles and banana peelings in the middle of the road. This is the middle class.  I see people having a lot of money but peddling conspiracy theories, exchanging insults. Is that the kind of middle class we want? Gakwandi wondered adding that:

“So we are racing to improve the economy, introduce science by giving further incentives but Ubuntu which is the oil that creates the society, the personal relationship between people is lacking. I see people building walls around themselves and people do not know each other and only interact with money.” Gakwandi stated

Gakwandi expressed fear that the country is creating a middle class that does not serve people.

The middle class, he said  is supposed to balance between the rich indulgences and lack of concern by those who are privileged on one hand, and those at the bottom who have no voice and are trapped in poverty. But if we have a middle class that does not play that role, then it’s not serving its society.

Prof. Arthur Gakwandi making his remarks. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Arthur Gakwandi making his remarks.

Prof. Gakwandi justified the unique power of the humanities and social sciences – Literature inclusive.

The unique power of literature according to Prof. Gakwandi  is to enable readers to enter the lives of other people to experience their pain, their pleasures , their ambitions and their fantasies which, no other discipline comes close to.

“History can tell you how many people died in the 2nd world war, who were the principal actors and their roles in determining the outcomes. Even science can tell you the role of technology, the role it played in tilting the balance and economics can assess the impact of the war on economies of the countries.

But none of these can convey the personal anguish of the people who were caught up in various localities during the phases of the war, but, a novelist can capture the impact of the social and emotional life of those who were caught in the war. And when you get emotionally connected to people, you stop regarding them as statistics. So it is important to make Literature an important  element of our education system and promote literature as a life-long source of leisure that has the ability to connect”, Gakwandi stressed.

Prof. Arthur Gakwandi (Left) receiving the department gift from Prof. Sr. Dominic Dipio (Right). The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Arthur Gakwandi (Left) receiving the department gift from Prof. Sr. Dominic Dipio (Right).

Prof Gakwandi commended the department of Literature for the recognition and courteous relationship nurtured over the years.

“What is most touching is that I keep reading the Ugandan newspapers about people fighting for office, jobs, undermining each other and trying to exclude others so as to take their positions. What has been good at the Literature department where I have spent so many years is that we had such a good courteous relationship with each other and myself, I left the department three times and every time I came back, they were happy to welcome me back. There was no rivalry, no competition…” He added

He saluted the leadership of literature department for thinking about this kind of occasion to recognise the contribution made to the growth of the department adding that he feels gratified that people that he taught have ascended  to levels of professors.

Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and family cutting the cake. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and family cutting the cake.

Humanities are being systematically degraded, ignored and underfunded – Prof. Austin Bukenya

Prof Austin Bukenya observed that the humanities are being systematically degraded, ignored and underfunded.

“We have to mount a certain fight to keep the humanities on the front path. We write not simply to pleasure ourselves but we write in order to sustain and develop society.

Bukenya called for respect of humanities and social sciences if the country is to produce a civilised middle class population.

Prof. Austin Bukenya speaking. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Austin Bukenya speaking.

“The sciences are going to help us advance technically and economically but they are not going to help advance humanity –the Ubuntu. Please, make humanities including literature visible, desirable and acceptable.

Philosophy teaches you to think. Language teaches you how to communicate and literature teaches you how to feel and those are the processes of humanisation. We need a human society not just a country of mechanical robots”, Prof Bukenya appealed and dismissed as false the reasoning that humanities and social sciences are unemployable.

Offering guidance on how to make lives worthwhile, Prof Austin Bukenya advised participants to have passion, love and faith.

“Be driven  and have passion for things that  you care and feel strongly about and they will keep you going.  Secondly love yourself and other people. But if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love other people and you will have low esteem. Everybody has something to contribute to your being and thirdly, have faith and believe in yourself and others especially the potential in other people to do good”, These, Bukenya said  kept him going and  loving his students

Prof. Austin Bukenya (Centre) receiving department gifts from Prof. Okello Ogwang (Left) and Prof. Sr. Dominic Dipio (Right). The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Austin Bukenya (Centre) receiving department gifts from Prof. Okello Ogwang (Left) and Prof. Sr. Dominic Dipio (Right).

Vice Chancellor honors Gakwandi and Bukenya as unrivalled class of academics

Presiding over the function as Chief guest, the Vice Chancellor represented by his Deputy in charge of Academic Affairs Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba hailed the  Department of Literature for making  it part of their vision and aim to celebrate the people that have built for the future, describing the initiative as a great part of the ubuntu philosophy, to share the joy and achievements of those who have gone before them, and working toward inspiring the future generation.

“Their achievements outshine most of us, but also remind us that the academic journey ahead many of us is something we ought to take in order to be like they are or even greater than they are. After all, the latter generation must build on what they have found ”,  Kakumba stated

He said the nature of scholarship these two gentlemen nurtured serve as  a reminder  of the centrality of both the literary and creative arts to human development and humanity.

“While we read stories about the characters they have created, we are reminded of our situation in the world, and how important it is to see the human being as the focus of our relationships. I am sure the students’ performances will not only entertain us, but will awaken us to the truth about our being in a world that needs healing, laughter and celebration. This is what we do in Africa when we celebrate people. This is what makes CHUSS and the Department of Literature unique”, Kakumba emphasized adding that:

“Bukenya and Gakwandi belong to a class of academics that are unrivalled. Having shared them with the world, both in academia and diplomatic service shows that Makerere truly takes its place on the world map. I have heard what they have studied and dedicated their lives to, showing that we have played in a role in building both theory and practice of the literary arts.

Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba representing the Vice Chancellor. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba representing the Vice Chancellor.

This is a journey that many of us ought to take. What they have built, we must build further and never let die. Orature is a central field of study in the Department of Literature. Seeing the man who gave it its breath seated here with us is not only awe-striking, but humbling. That is what makes the academy an amazing place”.

“Today, as we celebrate these two legends, we are reminded of our place in the twenty first century. We give due honor to the people that played a part in making the academy a place where debates and conversations about life start and keep happening. It must not end here. It is a tradition we must continue. This is what keeps our disciplines alive”, The Vice Chancellor lauded

Gakwandi and Bukenya make life real – Prof. Josephine Ahikire

The Ag. Principal College of Humanities and Social Sciences Prof. Josephine Ahikire described the day as an occasion to celebrate the practitioners of life, for this is what Literature is about.

 “Literary legends like Gakwandi and Bukenya make life real or like our students say “ They make life tick”, because they  talk about, reminisce, reflect, debate, analyse, comment and simultaneously live life.  In short they bring life to life”. She said

Prof. Josephine Ahikire delivering her remarks. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Josephine Ahikire delivering her remarks.

In 2022, Ahikire reported that the Department of Literature celebrated the lives of literary giants: Rubadiri, Ngugi  and Wangusa but that time each icon had a separate platform. This time round in 2024, she explained, the department decided to reinvent its style and try out a double portion approach celebrating Prof Gakwandi and Prof Bukenya on the same afternoon.

“This afternoon the College of Humanities and Social Sciences is sitting at the feet of two literary legends to show strongly the great heritage we are so very proud of. Prof Gakwandi and Prof Bukenya have nurtured the Department of Literature and its sister departments  through challenging times.

They carried out the work of sustaining the name of this university through the Amin years and at some point the situation was so tense that they had to leave or they would have been lost in the mist of violence. We are grateful for their resilience, prudence and for their courage as well as for always living for Makerere and Uganda even for the times when they were far away from here”, the principals appreciated.

Students performing on stage. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Students performing on stage.

Prof. Ahikire also stated that this event  put the student community at the centre of the celebration so that they  understand the importance of pillars. The literary scholar Ngugi wa Thiong’o keeps insiting that all scholars that use the term orature to talk about Africa’s wealth of verbal arts should acknowledge that Pio Zirimu and his student Austin Bukenya while here at Makerere University coined the term which is being used world wide.

“We celebrate Prof Gakwandi in equal measure and acknowledge the foundational work he carried out in demonstrating how the African novel was relevant to contemporary experience and building a base for African literary criticism from the perspective of an African critic. We also take particular note of the work he has done in the field of creative writing as a mentor and a creative writer himself,” Ahikire stressed.

She was hopeful that students will look with pride and admiration to Gakwandi and Bukenya’s unique and time-tested efforts and choose to continue Makerere’s vibrant legacy of ‘building for the future’.

Prof Gakwandi and Mwalimu Bukenya are crucial pillars – Assoc. Prof. Saudah Namyalo

The  Dean, School of Languages, Literature and Communication Assoc. Prof. Saudah Namyalo  said, the school was  proud to present two courageous voices whose academic and creative work embarks on journeys that crisscross from the real world to the imaginative and from the imaginative to the real world to teach the values of being fully human.

“As a school, we are proud to celebrate two eminent literary critics and creative writers in Makerere University and Uganda’s history.  Prof Gakwandi is widely known for his novel Kosiya Kifefe and its ideas on colonial and post independence experiences and for grappling with thoughts on the transitions between the city and the village, poverty and privilege. Prof. Gakwandi both as a literary critic and creative writer has demonstrated that stories and their analysis keep us connected to our communities but also make us aware of human folly” the Dean stated.

Assoc. Prof. Saudah Namyalo speaking during the celebrations. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Assoc. Prof. Saudah Namyalo speaking during the celebrations.

In Mwalimu Bukenya, the Dean explained that school  was celebrating  a man who has been hailed as a true East African, who is at home in all East Africa,  and is claimed as belonging to the whole region.

“In fact sometimes our Kenyan siblings do point out that the man’s name has the word  Kenya in it so he truly belongs to Kenya even by name. When he speaks Kiswahili the Tanzanians turn and tell us to send their brother back home. When Makerere Counts the years he has served here, they feel justified to say that his roots are indeed here. So the school is proud to name you, Mwalimu, among its own and to celebrate you on Makerere grounds, your first academic home”. Said Namyalo.

She thanked the Department of Literature for giving a chance to  students to recognize the achievements of those before them, so that they too can be inspired to craft brave new worlds to insist that the study of humanity is valuable and priceless.

Gakwandi and Bukenya opened my academic career – Dr. Edgar Nabutanyi

The Head Department of Literature Dr. Edgar Nabutanyi thanked Prof Gakwandi and Mwalimu Bukenya  for giving the university this honor to celebrate them.

Nabutanyi expressed gratitude to the Vice Chancellor for making time to celebrate with the department and for continuously heeding to the department call.

The head also thanked the Dean and Principal for untiring support to the department given the numerous activities they engage in. Nabutanyi extended appreciation to Chair organizing committee for the successful organization of the event.

Dr. Nabutanyi introduced and thanked outstanding members of staff who have won national and international awards to show the genealogy of great work that the department of Literature has produced. He said the winners stand on the shoulders of the giants like Gakwandi and Bukenya being celebrated for their great work.

Dr. Edgar Nabutanyi making his remarks. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Edgar Nabutanyi making his remarks.

The two celebrated gentlemen according to Edgar Nabutanyi  are important in his life.

“In mid 2000s I was assigned Prof. Bukenya as my  supervisor for MA and during those days, I was young and thought I was clever and I had an exaggerated sense of what I could do as a dissertation. I told him I wanted to read the African Novel using the architype theory.  He spent ten minutes explaining what architype were and recommended Prof. Gakwandi’s  book and the novel – Contemporary experiences in Africa.

This, in a way opened my academic career and a few years later, Prof. Abasi Kiyimba during my defense of my thesis commended me for having done good work and mastered not only the theory but also the area”. He narrated

Dr. Nabutanyi continued to attribute his success to the two celebrated  professors citing that during his teaching career at O-level, his student nicknamed him  Kifefe in shortened form as Kife and the name is  still popular with students he taught that time.

He said the two, Gakwandi and Bukenya have been influential expressing hope and pledged that the new crop of students will live to the good works that these elders have done.

He thanked Prof. Gakwandi and Bukenya for gracing the corridors of the literature department and doing the wonderful work. He also extended gratitude to their families for sharing with them.

The Chair Organising committee thanked all participants and the Gakwandi and Bukenya family for gracing the occasion.

Prof. Susan Kiguli speaking. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Susan Kiguli speaking.

Kiguli recognized the efforts by the committee in providing the forum to promote critical debate and advance awareness of homegrown talent and outstanding service to humanity beyond Makerere’s century of existence.

Kiguli described Prof. Austin Bukenya as an orator who speaks many many languages fluently while Prof Arthur Gawandi as widely travelled and one who has met and dined with great writers.

In the spirit of continually drawing attention to our own work and accomplishments at Makerere University, the Department of Literature  showcased oral performances from the students, readings, a keynote address by Prof. Abasi kiyimba and a panel discussion of  Gakwandi and Bukenya Scholars.

Left to Right Panelists: Dr. Chris Kirunda, Mr. Ismail Magezi, Dr. Innocent Masengo, Prof. Sr. Dominic Dipio and Chair Assoc. Prof. Susan Kiguli. The Department of Literature, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Celebrates Prof. Arthur Gakwandi and Prof. Austin Bukenya at 80, 5th April 2024, The Auditorium, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Left to Right Panelists: Dr. Chris Kirunda, Mr. Ismail Magezi, Dr. Innocent Masengo, Prof. Sr. Dominic Dipio and Chair Assoc. Prof. Susan Kiguli.

Most of the activities of the day were carried out by students from the Department of Literature in a bid to inspire them to think of the importance of following the work of our own scholars and practitioners. This effort aims at focusing on Gakwandi and Bukenya’s monumental achievements and promoting  creative writing, critical debate and cultural production within Makerere University, Uganda and beyond.

The Keynote lecture by Prof. Abasi Kiyimba is downloadable below.

More readings below:

 Makerere Celebrates Literary Titans: Gakwandi and Bukenya  in Newvision: https://www.newvision.co.ug/category/education/makerere-celebrates-literary-titans-gakwandi-NV_185062

Mak set to honor Gakwandi and Bukenya @80:
https://chuss.mak.ac.ug/news/mak-set-celebrate-literary-legends-gakwandi-and-bukenya80-0

Gakwandi and a few rebels of Ugandan literature Wednesday, April 03, 2024: https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/oped/columnists/charles-onyango-obbo/gakwandi-and-a-few-rebels-of-ugandan-literature-4576498

Makerere Honors Professors Arthur And Austin For Their Contribution To Literature. Church of Uganda Family TV: https://youtu.be/oe5YW_an2vc?si=oQVnbg3v-fC4Pcdt

Makerere Professor Bukenya and Gakwandi honored. Beg TV: https://youtu.be/z-UhZ1ekgyg?si=Zgajf3dWqrnwjLM-

View on CHUSS

Continue Reading

Trending