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Single Mothers Increasing: Mak Researchers Call for Friendly Policies on Parenting to Improve Children Welfare

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Researchers from Makerere University’s African Research Universities Alliance  Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) have found that single motherhood is a phenomenon that has been documented since the colonial era but, it is  increasing in Uganda. Research indicates that neoliberal and capitalist ideals, indigenous and western cultures have exacerbated the problem. Researchers are now calling on government to enact friendly policies on parenting to improve children welfare in Uganda. Makerere dons also want government to address issues of unpaid care economy. On the other hand, stakeholders have asked the university to introduce a graduate program on parenting to address capacity gaps in dealing with issues relating to parenting and children’s’ welfare.

The call was made during the policy dialogue organized by the ARUA CoE aimed at providing a platform for Early and Senior Careers researchers to share their research findings with policy makers and stakeholders and be able to obtain feedback. The workshop was also to create synergies between the different implementing institutions driving advocacy and policy change at national and local levels as well as identifying key policy and regulatory frameworks for improved parenting.

The Centre Director, Assoc. Prof. Sarah Ssali said, the centre  was established to deepen scholarship on identities in Africa, how they change and how the changes are impacting on life and development in Africa. As first phase Prof. Ssali said, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Rwanda got a capacity building grant financed by the United Kingdom Research and Innovations (UKRI) and focused on how parenting identity is changing.

“And in particular, we wanted to find out how is fatherhood and motherhood changing, why  is it changing and how these changes impact on children’s welfare. So the whole aspect of capacity building grant was to strengthen the capacity to research and engage policy makers in studying parenting, fatherhood and motherhood and  children’s wellbeing  on the African continent”, The Director said

“We have studied for three years, involved 21 early career researchers, given out 18 small grants, engaged 9 senior scholars and today, we are having a segment of disseminating the Uganda research findings to the policy makers.” Prof. Ssali added.

Centre Director Associate Prof. Sarah Ssali giving an overview of the project. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Centre Director Associate Prof. Sarah Ssali giving an overview of the project.

The Senior and Early Career  researchers  presented  their research findings to obtain feedback from the policy makers and stakeholders in dialogue that was held at Fairway Hotel on 25th March 2024. The policy dialogue brought together participants from academia, government ministries, agencies, private sector and civil society organizations. These included, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Gender, the media, Uganda Police, Uganda Prisons, Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, Makerere and Kyambogo University, Young Child Uganda, Uganda National Association of the deaf and Mothers Heart Uganda and Kampala City Capital Authority among others.

The function was officially opened by the Principal College of Humanities and Social Sciences represented by the Deputy Assoc.  Prof. Eric Awich Ochen and closed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs represented by the Academic Registrar Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi. The Director, Directorate of Graduate Research and Training Prof. Edward Bbaale also graced the occasion.

Deputy Principal CHUSS, Assoc. Prof. Eric Awich Ochen officially opened the workshop.
Deputy Principal CHUSS, Assoc. Prof. Eric Awich Ochen officially opened the workshop.

The workshop was characterized by speeches, presentation of research findings and panel discussions. Prof. Sarah Ssali presented on the systematic review on the changing notion of motherhood and fatherhood in Uganda; Dr. Zaid Sekito focused on the historicisation of   the concept of motherhood in Buganda from 1840 – 2021;  Mr. Howard Tugume  analysed ways in which pigeon pea production shapes  parenthood among climate smart agricultural farmers  of Lira and Alebtong while Ms. Proscovia Nalwadda assessed the changing notion of motherhood and fatherhood amidst COVID 19 family-based  challenges in Mukono district.

“From all the four research plus what we did in foregrounding of the systematic literature review by senior researchers shows that the family structure has been constantly changing initially impacted by colonialism but later impacted on by other things today such as CoVID 19, neoliberalism, job losses, HIV and wars and all these are changing how traditionally we conceptualized  fathers and mothers”.

For example the role of providing is under threat, fathers move on, and abandon, and single mothers are increasing in numbers and they have to continue providing for these children and sometimes we see pressure manifesting as street children but also consequently creates a scenario where children who never saw fathers in homes choosing singlehood, children who never saw fathers in their homes not knowing what to do when they impregnate girls, and just keep on the run”, Centre Director and Senior Researcher who is also Dean School of Women and Gender Studies Sarah Ssali explained.

Ssali said, the meeting was to share with policy makers, activists, civil society organizations and the press what researchers have discovered and implore them to consider these changes and findings in the work they do so as to have more responsive policies that put family and children in the center and support parents to do their work .

 “The key point here is that family structures are changing. What sense do we make of it and how do we work and support what remains? The way forward is to have policies that support families because families will always continue to be with us but we need family friendly policies”. She stressed.

Center Director Assoc. Prof. Sarah Ssali, Academic Registrar Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza and Director DGRT Prof. Edward Bbaale interacting during a break session. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Center Director Assoc. Prof. Sarah Ssali, Academic Registrar Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza and Director DGRT Prof. Edward Bbaale interacting during a break session.

Single mothers on the rise

In his presentation, Dr. Zaid Sekito said, the increase in single mothers is a phenomenon that has been documented for long since the colonial era. In traditional family settings in Africa, Sekito said, single parents were rare or unheard of  because families lived in a community and  extended families. A semblance of single parenting was seen with colonization and movements and that time, they were talking about de facto single parents because although the fathers were there, they were never present. They would move to plantation farms and mines and would be away for even three years and the mothers who looked at the families became de facto.

With time, especially in Uganda, Dr. Sekito narrated,  many wars of the 1970s took away most men and many women started looking after children as single mothers because fathers had died. Then, the phenomenon of single mothers  reproduced itself, not just created by war but also created by economic conditions when fathers have to travel far to work but also some when they realize that they have fathered a child and  they are not ready, they get on to the run.

“So single motherhood is increasing because, while fathers can walk away, mothers are stuck with the children. So economic changes, wars have been some of the primary drivers.

But also now, we are beginning to see a phenomenon where also mothers walk away. Children are being abandoned at the garbage sites and streets and sometimes mothers go to work and live children with house helps or grandparents. Sometimes both parents go away or die and children have to look after themselves”. Sekito observed.

Dr. Zaid Sekito presenting his study findings. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Zaid Sekito presenting his study findings.

Sekito also reported that many of the Ugandan families that are not earning much are under stress and as they try to cope with long distance work, the children are left behind.

“It is important that concerned authorities, probation and welfare office, ministry of Gender, Uganda Government come in to support families so that they are held together. They can also explore other forms of families such as adoptive parenting, foster parenting but whether people foster or adopt, or whether children are in extended families, families need support. Most families are not rich and are coping with a lot of pressure as we transition from the rural peasant agrarian families into the modern capitalistic families”. Dr. Sekito recommended.

Dr. Sekito’s research  examined the meaning and implication behind the concept of motherhood from 1840 – 2021, when Buganda became into contact with external forces and also covering the precolonial space. He said, the concept motherhood, in the 1840s conceived mothers as being caretakers and everything in the social aspect and that time, even fathers had great responsibility ranging from moral upbringing of children and bread winners.

 Men, according to Dr. Sekito have changed and ceased being men, when they got exposed to western capitalist forces, when the labour market became monetized and that is when fathers became more inclined to bread winning activities and the rest of the roles relegated to the mothers. Children henceforth, became inclined to their mothers so much that the attachment had to continue and as the neoliberal era set in, most fathers focused on  the bread winning role but even some lost and abandoned the roles altogether.

“As we speak now, the number of single mothers is on the increase. According to the UBOS 2024 report, the number has increased from 20 -30%. This is for women having children but are single mothers. This statistics have a lot of implications on the role that culture plays”. Sekito said.

Cultures according to Sekito have been responsible for the increasing number of single motherhood as they promote habits such as overdrinking.

“A parent who goes out to drink a lot has nothing to do with valuing what parenting is, so that moral fabric is always lost. We are seeing cultures permitting polygamy without due consideration of the man’s ability to take care of the wives and children” Sekito stated.

A Commissioner from Uganda Police Force speaking during the dialogue. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A Commissioner from Uganda Police Force speaking during the dialogue.

The other issue according to Dr. Sekito is the lack of moral guidance and cognitive  behavioral direction where men abandon their families because their women have produced girls or boys only or a child with  disability. In this case, as a man moves out, a woman is stuck to single-handedly take care of children.

Consequently Sekito  said, women have lost trust in men and decided to concentrate on bringing up  their children and  are labelled all sorts of names. Dr. Sekito reported that Since 1980s there has been that aspect of marginalization and social exclusion of women by men and sometimes taking advantage of those with disabilities.

Because many men are lacking guidance which is embed within culture, a Muganda man will describe a woman who give birth to  a lame child as woman with bad omen which is rooted in culture and socially constructed. This is carried on by boys who marry and this culture does not defend the women using prevailing circumstances or biological science.

There are instances where men take advantage of the physically impaired girls and women, use them and abandon them. There are disabled women having four children but you can hardly point out their fathers, but, high class citizens are prime suspected fathers” said Sekito

Sekito also associated the rising number of single mothers to the western ideals. The don cited a common practice and space of having sex for pleasure, the old and rich men having women but not wives and single motherhood by choice.

A journalist contributes during the dialogue. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A journalist contributes during the dialogue.

The study also associated the rising number of single mothers to  the rising education, political, social and economic statuses.  A significant number of single mothers with low educational levels reported that their husbands had abandoned then in favor of highly educated partners to march their social, political and economic status. These women according to Dr. Sekito begun humbly with their men when they had nothing, but when they advanced, they dropped them on grounds that they are a shame in public.

Dr. Sekito proposed a form of cultural re-orientation to challenge both indigenous and western cultures to improve parenting; formulating policies that support cognitive behavioral therapies where people can be spoken to, and, revising some of the colonial legislation like one on alcohol consumption.

Stakeholders ask Makerere to introduce a Graduate program on parenting

During the panel discussion, stakeholders decried the capacity gaps in dealing with issues of parenting in the different public, private and civil society organization asking Makerere University to leverage on the partnership and research to  build human capacity to address the gaps.

Early Career Researchers responding to questions after their presentations. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Early Career Researchers responding to questions after their presentations.

The Director, Directorate of Graduate Research and Training at Makerere University Prof. Edward Bbaale welcomed the move and the possibility to develop an interdisciplinary graduate program  in the School of Women and Gender Studies  to address the capacity gaps.

Prof. Bbaale expressed gratitude to ARUA center for the work well done saying, its rightly within the strategic direction and priorities of the university. As a Directorate, Bbaale said, it gives him  a lot of hope that the university has units  building the research led aspect .

Bbaale said, one way of building a research mantra is through building partnerships and collaborations as well as internationalization, and, ARUA Center comes in handy to advance the agenda adding that collaborations that have been built in this endeavor were heartwarming.

“I enjoyed the panel discussion seeing the academia, the researchers and the policy makers come in with different perspectives; and there has been a point of convergence on a number of issues and one of it, is to deepen research on un-answered questions with evidence” said Bbaale

Prof. Edward Bbaale making his remarks. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Edward Bbaale making his remarks.

Addressing issues of unpaid care economy can have positive implications

On a personal note, Prof. Bbaale expressed the need to reignite the debate on unpaid care economy. Unpaid economy, he said, refers to the work done within the household, community that is not recognized or renumerated such as child care, elder care and domestic chores. This work is often performed by family members particularly women without financial compensation.

From  the  gender perspective  Bbaale  said, there is much more that academia  and policy makers and stakeholders can do to recognize and compensate  caring hands that make  what people  are.

“In terms of parenting, unpaid economy can significantly impact parents particularly mothers as they bear the primary care responsibility and domestic duties. This can lead to dire consequences such as limited career opportunities and increased stress affecting the overall wellbeing and ability to participate fully in the work force”, said Bbaale

From the economic stand point , the unpaid care economy according to the professor has both direct and indirect costs on the Gross National Product. Directly, he said, it contributes to the economy by enabling other members to participate in the paid work or other productive work.

 But indirectly, Bbaale said, the lack of recognition and support for unpaid care work leads to economic loss by perpetrating economic inequalities, limiting women participation in the labor force and constraining their overall productivity.

Basing on what had taken place in the discourse, Bbaale expressed optimism  of a bright future in coming up with an interdisciplinary  program and research that can address many of the issues raised.

A representative from NUDIPU contributing to the discussion through sign language interpreters. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A representative from NUDIPU contributing to the discussion through sign language interpreters.

ARUA taking the university to the community- Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi

While closing the workshop, the Academic Registrar Makerere University Prof. Makadasi Buyinza commended the centre leadership and team for building strategic partnerships and taking the university to the communities.

“I feel too good to see that Makerere has come of age, we had the police officers, listened to submissions in a low tone to influence policy. I listened to the Principal Agricultural Officer, and it means that this has been a historic event at least in our lifetime as a university”, Said Buyinza.

He appreciated Prof Sarah Ssali for the initiative to write the grant winning proposal that brought resources helping to engage and meet partners in the business and community service.

He commended the Centre for strengthening capacity on active research and policy engagement in notions of identity saying, the stakeholders have been able to see how the notion and narrative of fatherhood and motherhood is changing and the need to strategize how to improve children’s’ wellbeing through research.

Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi making his closing remarks.
Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi making his closing remarks.

Buyinza implored the center to deepen the partnership and build the forum of exchange so that periodically, they come together for updates on emerging issues on parenting. He said, a forum like this, helps coordinate and get feedback on a number of policies.

“There was a discussion about curricular. Time is now. Makerere is looking for innovative ways of transforming society. If we can do that through curricular please present to us, we shall support you in Senate”, Buyinza pledged to support implementation of a new program in parenting.

On behalf of the university, Prof. Byinza expressed commitment to conduct research and have the evidence-based policy.

Participants speak out

A representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Eunice Alloo  expressed the need to ensure that interventions go beyond gender issues to address issues of parenting, integrate issues of motherhood and fatherhood to improve the welfare of children.

“In my department and division of home economics that deals with family life, we need to go further and introduce issues of motherhood and fatherhood in our home economics training and welfare” Alloo said.

Ms. Zaina Nakubulwa from KCCA making her submission during the policy dialogue.
Ms. Zaina Nakubulwa from KCCA making her submission during the policy dialogue.

Besides handling people with disabilities, Ester Adeke from the Child and Family Protection Unit in the Uganda Police Force appreciated researchers for unearthing issues on parenting saying, it creates a basis and work for Uganda police.

“The insight given  brings forth the need for us to do more of the proactive positive parenting especially for mothers and fathers to provide safer solutions to manage the hate or love situations; to build self esteem in the mothers and fathers; and transfer to the child, then responsible parenting and accountability for each as a child and parent. Let us appreciate co-parenting not existing in marriage but core parenting is your mandate and role even when the marriage has failed to work”, Adeke said      

The Principal Social Development Officer Ministry of Gender and Social Development Lucy Otto said, besides  advocating  for evidence policy making, there is need to work in partnership to agree on the research agenda.

“Let three core institutions namely Africhild, Makerere University Child development center and ARUA sit together and agree on the research agenda to fill identified gaps, equip parents with necessary information and support to step up parenting and reduce gender based violence”. Said Otto.

UMSC representative (Left) and Lucy Otto (Right) from the Ministry of Gender took part in the panel discussions. Makerere University African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity in Africa (ARUA CoE) Single Motherhood Policy Dialogue, Presentations of Research Findings by Senior and Early Career Researchers, 25th March 2024, Fairway Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
UMSC representative (Left) and Lucy Otto (Right) from the Ministry of Gender took part in the panel discussions.

Appreciating the role of religious leaders in building families through marriage ceremonies and counselling, the representative from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council asked Makerere to continue inviting religious leader in such dialogues.

She expressed the need for researchers and policy makers to streamline data from of all religious sects. She said, Islam teaching preaches care of children but there is need for mindset change program on polygamy, regulate and  set the minimum standards for men to marry many wives.

“… the Muslim community may you please demand the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council to regulate polygamy because in my office these are common cases. Cases of child neglect and child abuse come due to polygamy. You can suggest that the minimum standard of a man  getting another wife,  is the status of the existing wife. Is she having the basics such as shelter, education and food so that people do not do it un-quranic way because it is an attack on the institution. It is alarming having irresponsible fathers just marrying and producing children for the community to suffer…” she implored the Moslem community.

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Humanities & Social Sciences

CHUSS Biannual Newsletter Jan-Jun 2024

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

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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.

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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

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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-

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