After a long time in academic limbo, Luganda has resurrected back to life in Bugema University. Luganda is one of the teaching subjects in Ugandan secondary schools as well as teacher training colleges and universities. This justifies why several universities particularly in central Uganda have it as part of their programs. Bugema University hitherto had it in its educational curriculum but misfortune had it that due to technical reasons, it ceased to exist in the former three upgraded bulletins.
This program is offered from the Department of Language Education, which belongs to the School of Education of Bugema University. The school realized an increased public demand out of which it lobbied for its comeback. The Senate sitting in first semester 2016 – 2017 academic year granted its blessing for the resuscitation of the program. Catchment intake is expected to begin next academic year 2017 – 2018 beginning with the first semester that opens in August 2017.
Students qualifying for this program are those who desire to have it as one of the teaching subjects. They have to coerce the university entry requirements of two Advanced Level principle passes. If not, they need to possess a diploma from any college or university. Given the fact that Luganda is mainly an indigenous Ugandan language, international students are automatically knocked out of the admission.
In addition to teaching, Luganda scholars have some added values. They are in position to translate texts from other languages into Luganda and vice-versa. They can serve in publishing media as editors. Above all, they are proficient in communicating in Luganda particularly in writing, reading and spoken skills.
Luck had it that one of the university’s friend and stakeholder, Dr. Daniel Ntanda Nsereko, donated books worth millions of Uganda shillings for the setting up of the program. Dr. Nsereko is one of the judges at the International Criminal Court and he is a renowned scholar who taught law in Makerere University, University of New York and University of Botswana. In some of these, he served as the Dean School of Law.
In addition to these portfolios, he has acted as a visiting professor in several international universities before becoming a judge in ICC almost ten years ago. He has presented countless papers in international conferences, seminars and other fora. Additionally, he has written many articles and books in Luganda and English in the field of law, academics and others. Some of the Luganda titles include Eddembe Lyaffe (1990), English - Luganda Law Dictionary (2013), Twejjukanye Oluganda (2001) and many more. He translated one of the classical Sophoclean plays, Antigone into Luganda. While in Botswana, he was the Kabaka’s (Buganda King’s) representative in southern Africa. He was in charge of the king’s subjects in that territory.
Such is an ardent Luganda admirer, scholar and writer that spared part of his resources to come to the aid of the Department of Language Education. His big heart towards Bugema dates back to the 1970s when he, together with Dr. Samson Kisekka, former Prime Minister come Vice President of Uganda together with other sympathizers protected the institution’s land title against the erstwhile dictator President Idi Amin Dada. President Amin had ostracized the Seventh-day Adventist religion among other protestant denominations. This is in addition to the legal advice he gave for not only the institution, but also the Adventist Church during its trying ‘Dark Age’ moment. He also generously contributed to the finishing of the new auditorium with a donation of over seventy million Uganda shillings. He is a stakeholder who extends a helping hand to Bugema University whenever he can.
On catching wind that Bugema University Administration allowed to give a second chance to Luganda, Dr. Nsereko quickly reacted to the news with a gesture of aid by donating Luganda books to the department. They include scholarly and religious materials. He officially handed them to the university Vice Chancellor Professor Patrick Manu on Sabbath November 19, 2016. In a letter he addressed to the VC, he reiterated the need of Luganda in communication and advocated for many students including Baganda theologians to acquire proficient skills in it like translation, reading and writing skills in it. He says that Luganda is the lingua franca and a ‘defacto official language of the SDA Church in the Central Uganda Conference.’ “Currently the few translations of church publications, such as the Morning Watch or the Sabbath School Quarterlies, are of a low standard and not always easy to follow,” he lamented.
This boost will help the department a long way in offering quality service to its clients. As the school prepares for a fresh enrolment, any resource is needed in re-energizing the Luganda subject. In a bid to offer “Excellence in Service” (the university slogan), any material and moral support internal and external is welcome like a thirsty soul receiving a glass of fresh drinking water. That is the reason why this donation was a beacon of light in the path of the school’s journey towards administering excellence in service.With the Luganda comeback, the Language Education Department encourages all potential candidates to enroll and be bonafide beneficiaries of it.
by Kayiwa David
NB: The author is the Head of Department; Department of Language Education, School of Education, Bugema University