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Tom Rush: A comet of 100 years

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th June 2008 03:00 AM

Very few people knew that Dr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Rushedge was a multi-talented scientist until after his death that his talents were revealed by his friends and family.

Very few people knew that Dr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Rushedge was a multi-talented scientist until after his death that his talents were revealed by his friends and family.

By Chris Ahimbisibwe

Very few people knew that Dr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Rushedge was a multi-talented scientist until after his death that his talents were revealed by his friends and family.

Born on March 1, 1941 in Buhweju county, Bushenyi district, Dr Rushedge a.k.a Tom Rush, a.k.a Old Fox breathed his last on Saturday night at his home near Nganwa High School in Kabwohe.

The first born of seven children, born to the Rev. Andereya Rushedge and Eseza Bantu, choose to rest at his home due to deteriorating health having been in and out of hospital for a long time.

He grew-up in a Christian home and during his childhood, he was greatly involved in Emmanuel Church Kabwohe as a drummer calling worshippers to Sunday service.

“He was very dedicated to his duty to the point of bruising his hands,” recalled a relative.

For Christians of Emmanuel Church Kabwohe, Rushedge will always be remembered for his active involvement in church activities.

“He would beat the drum and at the same time continue with a discussion with a friend,” recalls the Rev. Can. John Rutaraka of West Ankole Diocese.

Rushedge grew up in a traditional homestead; he had several duties as he helped his father to mind his siblings in the home-chores.

After his father’s death, he took the responsibility of educating his sister at a very young age.

Rushedge attended Kibubura Boys’ Primary School in Ibanda and went on to Mbarara High School (1954-1957) and Ntare School (1958-1960) for ‘O’ and A’ Levels respectively.

In high school, he excelled in Fine Art and science subjects.
One of his sister recalls that he read all the books in the library at Ntare School. His art work was pinned up in several rooms in Ntare, because it was good.

The Sheema North MP, Elioda Tumwesigye, an old boy of Ntare School, says Rushedge designed the Ntare School badge which is still in use today. “At Ntare, Rushedge will never die because of the school badge he designed,” said Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu. He excelled in academics, and was among the best from Ankole at O’ and A’ levels.

Rushedge then went, to study Medicine at Makerere University in 1961. There, again he excelled and in 1966 he graduated with honours, going on to specialise in ear, nose and throat (ENT). He attained a post-graduate diploma at Medical School.

In his university days, he was the altar boy and organist at St. Francis Chapel, Makerere, accomplishments of which he was proud because they reminded him of his Christian background.

He went for further studies in the US and attained a master’s degree in Surgery in Chicago. For his accomplishment in the medical fields of ENT and neurology, he was awarded a professorship.

“Rushedge has died at the time when the country is facing a crisis of doctors,” Tumwesigye said. Although he was a trained surgeon, this did not stop him from doing other things. “He was a jack of all trades and a master of all,” according to his relatives and friends.

Rushedge was a pilot, teacher, soldier, doctor, surgeon, musician, celebrated cartoonist, author and columnist. In San Antonio, Jamaica he owned and flew a charter service as an accomplished pilot.

He was the first Ugandan cartoonist and penned the popular Ekanya series. For the past three decades he had dedicated himself to writing and authoring several books, the first of which was Mugi. He also penned the popular Old Fox and Tom Rush series in The New Vision.

“Because of his innovations he had created a very big audience,” said Andrew Ndawula, the deputy editor, Sunday Vision where Rushedge used to contribute articles.

He had done several paintings, chauffeured and driven trucks in the US memories of which he had humorous accounts of, according to the family. By 1968, he was a senior medical officer when he met his first wife, Joy Rushedge.

In Chicago, he worked as a medical superintendent of a major hospital. He also had a brief stint as a Neuro-Surgeon, and delivered pregnant women in Jamaica.

In medicine, he did what others had lost hope on, and succeeded.

He was the doctor for written-off cases. He championed the HIV/AIDS campaigns in Entebbe.
He shall be greatly missed for his wit and humorous perspective of life by his family, friends and fans all over the world.

President Yoweri Museveni described Rushedge as a rare species and a freedom-fighter.

Museveni compared him to a comet that is seen after 100 years.
“To get a person like Rushedge can take us 100 years,” Museveni said in a message read by Mary Karooro at the burial. “If we could get such a person, we should learn from him and encourage the young generation to emulate him,” he advised.

He also hailed Rushedge for supporting the 1979 war, saying he bought guns from Jamaica and brought them to fight the regime of Idi Amin. He will be remembered as a witty and humorous man, fun-loving and yet distinguished, especially in the field of medicine.

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Who was Tumusiime Rushedge
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-Studied medicine at Makerere University in 1961
-Attained a masters degree in surgery in Chicago
-For his accomplishment in the medical fields of ENT and neurology, he was awarded a professorship
-Past president of rotary club of Entebbe
-Director of the World Health Organisation Medical Service in AMREF
-Director of the National Insurance Cooperation
-Captain in the Army Medical Services
-Commissioner of health services in the Ministry of Health where he retired to his first love-writing
-His genre; being witty humorous -Late 2007, he stopped writing due to ill-health
-He lived and enjoyed life to the fullest, and made a lot of friends and fans
-On February 14, he accepted Jesus as lord and saviour

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Death of THE Old Fox a blow to the world of satire
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By Arthur Baguma

NEWS of his death produced raw grief among his ardent readers and admirers. Many have described his passing as a big blow to the satire generation. He received tributes of warmth in his lifetime of journalism and satirical columns.

Comic writers of his generation say he shared some of the qualities of a tradition of writing, which stretched back to the 18th century essayists.

Dr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Rushedge, 67, popularly known as Tom Rush or the Old Fox, had been unwell for a long time, with diabetes.

Ardent fans of the fallen Fox say it is hard to sum up someone so wonderful.

Tom Rush relished expensive and good things for much of his life. John Nagenda, a columnist and veteran writer says Tom Rush was a one-off who lived a life and things people only dream about. Nagenda describes Tom Rush as a source of leisure when it came to his cartoons and writing.

“In a sense, he did many things that other people could only dream of.

When he turned to writing and his cartoon, he gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people including myself.

Of course I don’t believe all his escapades but if they are all true, good luck and may he rest in peace,” Nagenda said of the fallen humourist. Rushedge’s skills were steeped in historical accuracy, but they also embodied a deeper truth.

They are stories about escapades involving women, flying planes and visiting nice places in the world. With his satire, he ridiculed society, his girlfriends and his friends. In his cartoons, politicians and others did not survive the sharp barrel of his pen.

From politics to bars and people’s bedrooms, he had it all articulately penned down for his readers.

He is survived by 12 children, some of whom live in his second home in Port Antonio, Jamaica where he had a clinic called ‘Mulago Klinik’.

However, in his latest book, which was yet to leave the publishers shelf at Fountain Publishers in his Biography; Tom Rush says he is a single father of six children.

Born Tumusiime-Rushedge, sometime in World War 11 to a clergy-man father and a vernacular teacher mother, Rushedge was determined to succeed in life. In his biography, he lists a spiral of professions he excelled in.

His first school reader Odugu and His Fortunes by Uganda Publishing House was released in 1972, followed by his first novel — The Bull’s Horn by Oxford University in 1973. He is also the author of works of fiction like Sons of Dread and Soul Brother-In-Law.

At the time of his death, he hoped to write one or two more novels before retiring.

In the book, he calls himself a retired civil servant, a reconditioned bachelor and a single parent of six. He owned a home in the Caribbean but he spent most of his adult life in Entebbe.

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His publications included
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-Ekanya the Sidesplitter-1973
-Ekanya in Seychelles-1980
-Ekanya in the Caribbean-1981
-Laughing Gas-1982
-Ekenya’s Yuletide Spirit-1983
-Ekanya Encore-1988
-Shocked into Sense- (AIDS)-1994
-Ekanya 25 – (69-96)-1996
-Old Fox-love Beads-2002

In the pipeline
-Mothers in-law
-Spare Parts Woman
-Love in the African Bush
-Unholy Matrimony
-Spouses and other Pests

Tom Rush: A comet of 100 years

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