Agatha Wolwa, The Longest Serving Makerere Warden

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th September 2003 03:00 AM

MAKERERE’S longest serving warden, lost her husband under mysterious circumstances at the height of political turmoil in 1978.

By Arthur Baguma
MAKERERE’S longest serving warden, lost her husband under mysterious circumstances at the height of political turmoil in 1978. Twenty five years later, Wolwa is a proud mother of five university graduates and is still growing strong at a ripe age of 56.
“Mystery still surrounds his death. He disappeared with his car and 10 days later his body was found in River Lugara along Hoima road, but the car has never been seen. He left me with five children who had hardly joined primary one,” Agatha Nambuya Wolwa ponders the circumstances under which her husband was murdered in 1978.
Her daughter Mary Kwambuha Wolwa was one and a half years old when his father was murdered. Today one of the only two girls in the family is a graduate of Development studies, an achievement she attributes to her mother.
“She is our mother and father. She has single-handedly struggled to see us through school. Some mothers abandon their children and marry in other homes after losing a husband. She is the best thing that has happened in my life,” Kwambuha working with Mildmay as a child officer says of her mother.
Agatha was the first and only warden to head a mixed hall of residence at the University. Hitherto 1982, Complex hall (CCE) now accommodating females only, used to accommodate Postgraduate students and students of Adult Continuing Education. In 1982, under graduate students were taken on and it became a hall of residence for both males and females- the time Agatha took charge.
“What was the rate of pregnancies and sexual abuse in a hall of residence shared by both male and female students,” I asked her.
“They lived like brothers and sisters. I never had any incident of pregnancies or sexual abuse during my term of office. There were general problems that characterise any student population but generally they lived as a family and harmoniously,” she says.
For those who have worked with and known her, Wolwa is a principled and hard working woman. “She is a hard working mother, and many of us look up to her as a role model in society. She is a reference point,” John Kamya a colleague and Warden Mitchell hall says.
Students at Galloway know her by one name, a mother to everyone.
P. K. Kirunda, warden Nkrumah hall, a veteran warden who joined around the same time as Agatha, says she is a patient person always willing to listen. “We consult a lot and I have found her to be a patient and a focused leader,” Kirunda reveals.
Agatha was born in Kikwezi Bubulo, Mbale district in 1947 to Clement Walutebo and Ann Namukula. His father was later to become a polygamist, a practise he blamed on Wolwa’s mother who was his first wife.
“My mother produced only two girls including myself. My father said he could not stand a woman who had borne two children and moreover girls. He married several other women that resulted into a big family of 24,”
Wolwa started school at Kikwezi primary school and later enrolled at Magale Boarding primary school, Mbale where she completed her Junior leaving examinations in 1962.
In 1963 she joined Mt St Mary’s College Namagunga for O-level and later she was admitted for her A-levels in the same school.
At Namagunga, Wolwa’s maturity coupled with her humble background saw her serve in different positions of responsibility. She was a prefect and a member of the school disciplinary committee.
She played hockey for the school team and was on a National schools girls’ hockey team that represented Uganda in Nairobi – Magie Kigozi who was in Gayaza High School then was her team mate. She also liked singing and was a member of the school choir.
In 1970 Agatha joined Makerere University for a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and graduated in 1973. One year into her course at Makerere, Agatha walked down the aisle in 1971 with Simon Peter Wolwa (RIP) who worked with the Ministry of Co-operatives.
Her first employment opportunity soon after university was teaching at Mbale Secondary School, where she served up to 1975. She later taught at Old Kampala Secondary School, before joining Kitante hill school as where she headed the History department and later became a deputy headmistress in 1981.
In 1982 she joined Makerere University as a warden for complex hall, which she left at the end of 1992 to serve Mary Stuart hall in the same position. She was promoted to a rank of senior warden in 1994.
Seven years later she headed to Galloway hostel, housing medical students where she is still serving as the warden. In 1988 she graduated with a Masters in Education.
“Up to now I do not know why he was killed and the perpetrators have never been brought to book,” in a sombre mood she struggles to reveal.
Her consolation and best moment is the pride of having five graduates of different professions.
“I cannot explain the joy I have. God is great. His mercy has prevailed,” Agatha consoles herself.
The hope of bringing justice to the Wolwa family is fast waning. The death of Amin, a man who presided over the regime that murdered thousands including their father, without ever facing justice could be the last nail in their wild search for justice over the death of their father.
Wolwa is a mother of seven and spends most of her free time with her siblings and students. She once in a while does gardening at her home in Mulago and says she has no special type of food she prefers but, any meal prepared nicely will do.

Agatha Wolwa, The Longest Serving Makerere Warden

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