He could have settled for any other job outside the country or done any other course that did not have to get him back to work at his father’s school. But after his studies in Kenya, Jonah Nsubuga returned to salvage his father’s school, which had collapsed during the liberation war in the early 1980s.
By Norman Katende
trueHe could have settled for any other job outside the country or done any other course that did not have to get him back to work at his father’s school. But after his studies in Kenya, Jonah Nsubuga returned to salvage his father’s school, which had collapsed during the liberation war in the early 1980s.
He is one of the brains behind the revival of Light College Katikamu, a school that was started in 1948 by his father, George Kiberu and a friend Ssalongo Kivumbi. While in Kenya where he was initially working, Nsubuga would send part of his earnings to pay the salaries of fi ve of the teachers that were teaching in his father’s school.
Nsubuga, who is the school principal is also involved in the greenhouse farming on top of managing a transport company. He is currently teaching his teachers the culture of starting up other income–generating enterprises to supplement their salaries. One of the teachers Annet Kajubi, started a poultry farm, which now has 800 birds. “He introduced the idea to us and I embraced it. I kept getting advice from him. We already have a market at the school and this keeps us active in our free time and boosts our income,” she explains. So far four teachers have set up poultry farms
Fall of school
The school fell to ruins in 1986 following the guerrilla war that brought the current government into power. Nsubuga recalls that in 1982, one of the students who was a head prefect and son of former Ugandan president Tito Okello, reported to his father, that the area where the school was located was full of rebels.
A government official then came to the school and his guard was disarmed by Yoweri Museveni soldiers, which sparked off fi ghting in Masulita, then Mpigi district. This led to the closure of the school and Nsubuga’s family fl ed to Kenya The family returned to Uganda after the country regained peace later in 1986. “We went into exile at the time I had just complied my Senior Six at Makerere College.
I was able to teach mathematics, accounting and geography in some schools in Kenya,” Nsubuga says. He adds that when his father returned to Uganda in 1986, the school was in ruins, forcing them to shift to Sseguku. “I used to send money that would help pay salary for fi ve of the seven staff that we started with until I decided to return to Uganda in 1987,” he explains
Who is Nsubuga?
Nsubuga says rebuilding was not easy as students used tarpaulin and bamboo to roof the dormitories. But with donations from friends like the late vice–president, Samson Kiseka, and other organisations, they managed to put up a number of buildings. Nsubuga left for the US and returned, after completing his bachelors degree in accounts management and master’s in business administration.
Upon his return, he found the hall near completion and that is where he started. Nsubuga also put up the fi rst storeyed building and renovated most of the other structures. “He is determined to see the school move forward,” says George Kasamba, who has worked at the school as a warden since 1975.
Ephraim Kaluganda, a school administrator, says Nsubuga is principled and makes sure that all the projects he embarks on are completed. But beyond that is that fatherly love most students crave for. One of the parents, Dennis Lindo, says the spiritual upbringing and the counselling sessions that Nsubuga organises for both the students and parents make him stand out.But even when most teachers are struggling to make ends meet, Nsubuga goes beyond the hectic times of supervising the school that has over 800 students and a staff of 85 teacher to monitor his other business ventures
What others say
Ephraim Kaluganda, a teacher Light College Katikamu Nsubuga is development minded. He handles every situation in a unique way. He is a practical man who wants change and makes sure it happens
Margaret Nalubwama, a former student He is an administrator who is willing to listen and take advice. Nsubuga will tell you where you have gone and praise you where necessary. He is an outspoken administrator and is always willing to help both the students and staff.
Nsubuga rebuilds war–torn Katikamu