ALGAE floats on the water, giving it a greenish appearance. Scattered about are wooden planks reaching into the pool. The changing rooms bear marks of termite infestation and a few iron sheets are missing just as are the door shutters. Grass has grown on
ALGAE floats on the water, giving it a greenish appearance. Scattered about are wooden planks reaching into the pool. The changing rooms bear marks of termite infestation and a few ironsheets are missing just as are the door shutters.
Grass has grown on the poolside, enabling roots to snake their way downwards. The sheltered pavilion by the swimming pool still stands, but is sealed off with timber as if to keep away those who wish to take a dip in the pool.
A powerful pump that used to replenish the water supply is gone. In its place stands a rusty blue cylindrical container bearing scars of recent vandalism.
The pool was once a prominent landmark of Namasagali College during its heydays. Like many other features of the school, it has been abandoned as part of the general rot that has engulfed the institution.
At the parking yard in front of the staffroom lies a collection of scrappy school vehicles.
The buildings do not deserve paint, but a make-over. Most of them are tiled but when it rains, the floor floods. In the corner of the headmasterâ€™s office is a small water pump that is used to pump water from the nearby Nile river into the dining hall tank.
Mejje Kawere, a teacher who has taught here since 1976, says Namasagali has gone from glory to gloom.
â€œIt was the school to be. Before the mid-1990â€™s parents scrambled for a place for their child,â€ Kawere says.
James Gaira, the deputy head teacher, says before 1978, Namasagali ranked among the best in East Africa. It started as Kamuli College in 1965 and was located in Kamuli town at the premises later occupied by Busoga High School.
According to Gaira, when the Busoga Lukiiko bought railway terminal assets in Namasagali town in 1965, 12km from Kamuli town, Kamuli College was relocated in its present location and renamed Namasagali College.
During the early 1960â€™s, El Nino rains flooded the facility run by East African Railways and Harbours. The authorities chose to abandon the area hence the consequent sale of the 496-acre sprawling estate.
Busoga kingdom reportedly approached the Mill Hill Fathers to administrate over the school by availing a head teacher and deputy.
The school that started off with both Oâ€™ and Aâ€™level programmes offered Cambridge courses until 1976.
Fr. Navel was the first head teacher between 1965-1966. He was replaced by the longest serving headmaster Fr. Damian Grimes (1967-2000).
â€œThe initial staff comprised 24 members with a population of 400 students. At the epitome of its glorious moments, the school would admit 1,200 students and 51 teaching staff,â€ Gaira says.
Records show that the school now has 840 students and 32 teachers. It became a government-aided school in 2001.
It is also on the Universal Secondary Education (USE) programme. Lessons run from 8.00am to 4.40pm; a great contrast to the days of Fr. Grimes.
Back then, students would break off for co-curricular activities including swimming, drama and athletics after lunch which was served at 2.00pm.
Isaac Musumba, foreign affairs state minister, an OB, believes the old students can do something to help rejuvenate Namasagaliâ€™s past glory.
United under the Namasagali Old Students Association (NOSA) the alumni want to contribute to the education, development and exposure of Ugandaâ€™s talented but disadvantaged students who need to achieve their dream. Will NOSA rise and usher Namasagali back to itâ€™s once admired and cherished glory?
The school almuni includes:
Namasagali College takes a plunge