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Thursday,October 22,2020 12:43 PM

Balancing a home with racing and teaching

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th May 2006 03:00 AM

It is around 9:00am and from one of the classrooms at St. Francis Day and Boarding Primary school, a female voice is leading pupils in a song. A peep into the classroom reveals a medium height teacher, pacing at the front of the class. She occasionally jumps up and claps.

It is around 9:00am and from one of the classrooms at St. Francis Day and Boarding Primary school, a female voice is leading pupils in a song. A peep into the classroom reveals a medium height teacher, pacing at the front of the class. She occasionally jumps up and claps.

By Joshua Kato
It is around 9:00am and from one of the classrooms at St. Francis Day and Boarding Primary school, a female voice is leading pupils in a song. A peep into the classroom reveals a medium height teacher, pacing at the front of the class. She occasionally jumps up and claps.
After that, she draws images on the blackboard and asks her pupils to name them.
“This is a group of?” she asks. “Girls!” the class answers.
This is teacher Suzan Muwonge! A lady of so many talents.
In class, there is nothing to show that Suzan was the lady at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Evo.2 rally car, just the other weekend. In a rally in Rakai, she finished a commendable 6th among 12 drivers, all of them men. Yet this was her first rally!
Since the 1970s, no female driver has driven a rally car in a general route. The few who have ventured into the field have been navigators. The only time women have driven is during sprints. The difference between a rally and a sprint is that a sprint is about 2km while a rally is more than 250km long.
Although most beginners never complete their first rally, Susan completed hers.
“I can’t believe it. I am very happy,” is all she murmured as beads of sweat rolled down her forehead.
Several potential female rally drivers jumped high to congratulate her. Among them was Rose Lwakataka, wife to national champion Ponsiano Lwakataka. Rose is one of the women who was also supposed to make her rally debut in the Rakai rally. But she didn’t rave for undisclosed reasons.
Susan was the real find of the Rakai rally. She immediately won over the fans with her corner-negotiating antics.
“I am waiting for that woman. She is driving very well,” fans were overheard saying.
“When did you start driving? I ask.
“My husband taught me how to drive about seven years ago,” she says.
However, Suzan only started racing in December 2005. “I have always loved speed,” she says. But becoming a rally driver was not part of her dreams.
The rallying bug attacked her a few months ago. Last year, when she watched one of the sprints in Lubiri, she realised that she could do the speeds. She talked to her husband, Lawrence Muwonge, who supported her.
The second call she made was to seasoned rally driver, Arthur Blick. Blick offered to help her develop her career. Soon after, she bought a Mitsubishi Evo 2, formerly driven by Jamil Ssenyonjo. That was her entry into rallying. Her first challenge was in a sprint in Lubiri. She raced against seasoned female sprint drivers like Rose Lwakataka and Laila Mayanja.
With encouragement from her husband, she vowed to get into the mainstream rally.
“I have no objection to her driving. I support her through and through,” Muwonge says.
“She has always loved speed. When we are going upcountry, I don’t want her to drive because she drives very fast,” he adds.
Suzan’s personal car is a Pajero Station Wagon. Her dream is to emulate some of the best drivers in the country and become national champion.
“I am going to teach the men a lesson. My dream is to become a national champion,” she vows.
To achieve this feat, she has to acquire a better car. Suzan says she is looking at a Subaru N-4. Lucky for her, Muwonge has offered to buy her the car of her dreams.
“How do you combine teaching, rallying and family? I ask.
“I do school work during the day and attend to my home affairs throughout the evening. But I always spare sometime to go for training in my car. So far, everything is working out well,” she says.
Suzan was born to Fred and the late Regina Kitonsa of Buddo, Naggalabi in Wakiso district.
She attended St. Maria Gorretti, Katende, St. Henry’s College, Buyege and Makerere University Business School. She then joined YMCA, where she did a course in nursery teaching.
Suzan runs a nursery and boarding primary school at Buddo, which her husband helped set up. The school has a population of at least 450 pupils.
Unlike in a rally car, there is no hurry in her class.
“James,” she calls out. “What is this?”
A boy in the front row slowly answers back, while stammering. “Aa...aa ...girl,” all along, Susan was patiently waiting for the answer.
“I intend to expand the school,” she says. She started with wooden structures, but now the school has some brick-walled structures.
At home, Suzan portrays a picture of a very cautious housewife. “We discuss everything and reach a consensus. We don’t take any hurried decisions,” Muwonge says.
Ends

Balancing a home with racing and teaching

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