On June 12, 2010, God called to himself the only J C Kiwanuka our great teacher and more so, Professor of Mathematics. We thank God because Kiwanuka was not corrupt, he lived by example and he lived a worthy life. In 2009, we decided with Dr. Kkolokolo to write a Magazine to mark 90 years of our great teacher. On June 12, 2011, it will be one long year without J. C! Below I reproduce what Dr. Kkolokolo wrote about the great J C Kiwanuka.
May his soul rest in eternal peace
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
The article below was written when the Late J C Kiwanuka turned 90 in 2009.
EAST AFRICA’S LEGENDARY MATHEMATICIAN CLOCKS NINETY!
By Dr G. H. Kkolokolo (Paris – France)
He is a living legend who commands love and respect from all layers of our national life, he is a larger-than-life savant and sage, he is a prescient primer whose multitudes of initiatives have always made him a multivalent schemer of an opulent high quality achievements. He is a person whose near magnetic effect could always make the ground quake! This is the very much celebrated Prof John Chrysostom Kiwanuka, a real national hero who by all accounts was East Africa’s first black Mathematics graduate and first graduate teacher, and the best in the field. He has now turned 90.
This down to earth guru has to his credit an infinite number of successes and super high achievements in all areas ranging from academics / education to politics, religion, syndicalism, social welfare and so on..
A very humble exemplary Christian, Prof J. C. Kiwanuka has succeeded to walk majestically in the footsteps of his super legendary namesakes, the saintly and scholarly Archbishop Dr Joseph Kiwanuka and the Great Benedicto Kiwanuka. His special charisma has made him an icon among the nation’s top elite and a real celebrity among the ordinary folk.
J C RECEIVED IN THE O B’S PAVILION
I was in the OBs Pavilion on SMACK’s centennial day celebrations and I just can’t tell how much I was moved by the mighty cheers and applauses that marked the standing ovation which the more than 1,500 assembled alumni gave to the great teacher as he approached the pavilion to wave to them! This is the real man whose international fame has turned him into a near-worshiped individual commanding honour, glory and respect all over Eastern Africa where his former students are always seen in very high regard and supernumerary esteem, and all over the world where hundreds of them have been rightly recruited in jobs across the skill spectrum.
As a down to earth scholar, Prof J. C. Kiwanuka’s effect has grown on all fellow nationals who have invested a lot in his upending conventional wisdom that has always delighted in moral building. His 65-year old career as an accomplished educator of an enviable uptrend has been a real blessing to the entire region and has won him the crown of a primer and a first class originator whose contribution to Uganda’s field of education is virtually unrivalled! He was Minister of Education (1961 – 1962) and did wonders as Uganda’s first native to occupy such a high profile portfolio. At the Ministry, he won all hearts thanks to his accessibility and omnicompetent mastery of all files and records, and this enabled him to work untold wonders! He sent 300 students abroad for further studies; he promoted many senior secondary schools to HSC status; he introduced pension schemes for teachers, a thing for which he had indeed ardently fought when President of Uganda Teachers’ Association; he represented the country on many missions abroad including attending a special conference jointly organized by the UNESCO and the then incipient autonomous nations of Africa that intended to focus on giving a special impulse on Africa’s education, and Prof J. C. Kiwanuka was one of the most dynamic proponents of a system that would see Africa fully mobilized to offer opportunities to all including the illiterate who could then profit from the proposed rural technical / agricultural and trade schools that were projected to mushroom up all over the Black continent! This was indeed a thing which qualified Prof J. C. Kiwanuka as a great extrovert thinker, a prescient visionary and a superordinate prophet! Imagine now what Africa would be had this very original system, which was rejected through sheer emotional nescience, been adopted and put into action!
And fifty years at St Mary’s College Kisubi! Years of a very much profuse inspiration to all! Years which promoted the famous Prof J. C. Kiwanuka to an astounding degree of hypermania! And the crafty erudite educator wisely used the period to shatter all myths. In him the nation had its first graduate teacher becoming overnight the topmost best teacher of Maths and Geography with his candidates regularly outsmarting the nation in the Cambridge Exams! In him the nation had a leading unionist combating successfully for teachers’ rights. In him the nation would produce an efficient teacher-cum-politician doing excellently very well in both domains. In him the nation would eventually have a very efficient Minister quickly conversant with all grains of the Ministry’s duties and immense responsibilities! In him the nation would discover a great patriot who on quitting a cabinet post would quickly return to his ordinary routine teaching job! And in him the nation would finally discover an incorruptible statesman and nationalist and hero who sticks for decades and decades to his humble teaching job, materially enjoying nothing much out of it save serving his country via the love of its people whom he has abundantly helped to construct a future!
Fifty years at SMACK! A contribution to the college’s unparalleled triumphs and successes in practically every field! It was at SMACK that this God-loving citizen and focused genius exhibited his phenomenal qualities of a real supremo procreating dedication with a rare combination of intelligence, integrity, humility, determination, resolution and proclivity to hard work and serious-mindedness. His presence, together with that of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, continued to make SMACK the surest gateway to higher education and the most reliable jump-on point for further studies at university and in top academic institutions all over the world! With the extensive introduction of intensive science subjects, maths, languages, social ethics, and the so many extracurricular activities on programme SMACK was to affirm its super premier position as the most leading secondary school all over the region and also as one of the best of the type all over Africa! Wherever he is, a SMACK product is always very difficult to outwit, to outrank and to outsmart socially, academically and intellectually! All this is the aggregate total result of a committed full devotion to duty and responsibility in an academically very conducive environment. And this is SMACK in its classical sense as an institution that has always been a prime mover.
And it was at SMACK that Prof J. C. Kiwanuka became officially the region’s originator of the HSC programme with the first A-Level section opening early 1959 before it spread like fire to other institutions. And it was at SMACK that Prof J. C. Kiwanuka academically fathered leading notable Eastern African figures and important nationals who occupy positions of super executive rank in their countries of origin whether in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia and the Seychelles! If Prof J. C. Kiwanuka is an international figure, it’s because of his very great fame all over Eastern Africa where he is vastly very popular! Among his former students one can endlessly count cabinet ministers (including a Vice President and an ex-Deputy Premier), diplomats, professors, doctors, all kinds of leading professionals, the religious among whom five Provincial Superiors and an Assistant Superior General of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, a former Superior General of the Bannakaroli Brothers, so many priests, etc.. All this hit-parade of achievements would make Prof J. C. Kiwanuka Black Africa’s greatest teacher and most prominent educator!
Fifty years at SMACK for fifty years of Mathematics for Uganda and Eastern Africa. Prof J. C. Kiwanuka is a refined quintessential scholar whose teaching activity has seen SMACK become a superbly renowned scholastic centre for Maths. Diverse categories and programmes in Maths have always been set in motion at SMACK. I remember in my time, in the mid-sixties, SMACK had already pioneered the teaching of Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Additional Maths in addition to pure Ordinary Maths and Subsidiary Maths! And our candidates would just shine in the Cambridge exams. And it’s from SMACK that these programmes would eventually spread to other institutions where the J. C. Kiwanuka-educated mathematicians would more or less be the core Maths teachers!
And, thanks to Maths, SMACK is well-known all over the continent as a real forebrain for sciences! SMACK alumni occupy important positions in the fields of maths, sciences, medicine, agriculture, veterinary, pharmacy, etc all over the world! Some SMACKs are even consultants with ultra-high-performance scientific bodies such as the NASA and several upper echelon science laboratories!
Prof J. C. Kiwanuka, being a multicultural educator, for he was also an excellent geography teacher, as we’ve seen, had also his vision fixed on the promotion of arts subjects notably economics and social ethics. SMACK’s economics programme has always been that where there is largely a blend of pure economics with calculations, engulfing real classic notions in economics as taught at university where our alumni would never find any difficulty in learning the subject!
In helping the Brothers to promote the study of social ethics at that time Prof J. C. Kiwanuka wanted to see SMACK contribute to the edification of future leaders, men of wonderful calibre and special integrity, indeed upright men of his own like! Students could then collect academic benefit from those brilliant lessons conducted by scholarly individuals and pre-potent philosophers who included the much legendary Rev Bro Paul Bourget, Rev Bro Andrew, Rev Bro John Leonard, Rev Bro Edward, and Rev Bro Majella. This formidable team made social ethics an eye-opener to us all in very many ways! And we are indeed very grateful!
Prof J. C. Kiwanuka, the Kisubi Mathematician won the reputation of a learned man of tremendous prestige while at SMACK. Project after project was proposed to him as the only competent individual to help it take off. The Ministry of Education appointed him official Maths tutor whose lessons would always be televised direct on UTV, and the attentive public would all enjoy watching SMACK’s protean luminary surf-riding the most difficult brain-teasers with hardly any effort and in next to no time! Equally impressed and strongly appreciative, were the civil and military aviation personnel at Entebbe where the plucky Prof J. C. Kiwauka was regularly requested to teach Maths to the newly recruited pilots. And his lessons would always draw applauses from the over-impacted trainees! And at one stage he was given a semi-academic year scholarship to go on a sabbatical in the USA. And he did great wonders there!
Prof J. C. Kiwanuka has always been a person who impresses all and who disappoints nobody. His strong Christian background has moulded him into a unique national surpassing merit and quality.
This is the hero who has helped thousands brace for a successful future. This teacher, educator, and educationist-cum-politician is a real nationalist and Pan-Africanist who has contributed so tremendously to the very necessary edification of the continent. His secret may perhaps dwell in the inspiration abundantly drawn from our national motto: FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY and this is the only thing where this energetic academician fishes all forces that have enabled him to outbrave any situation and to subdue any difficulty, hence to be a real leader to count on!
SMACK has relied upon Prof J. C. Kiwanuka for many things, and he has helped the college achieve an up thrust which has contributed so marvellously to its enviable international prestige and coveted universal reputation. Prof J. C. Kiwanuka’s former students have been a tributary to all this! Wherever they are, they are among the best in their individual fields and their CVs help to betray their Kisubi origins which in turn sell to the world SMACK, the Brothers and the extraordinary “J.C.”
Prof J. C. Kiwanuka is not merely a Kisubi teacher but he is also a real Kisubi product. The very immense luxuriance of his real qualities is there to testify to his SMACK qualities of a dedicated individual exuding maturity, wisdom, common sense, commitment to service, self-mortification for integrity and love of others, a special composure in a sang-froid attitude, etc. These SMACK assets have enabled the prominent teacher to be a model of a kind, respected, admired and emulated by masses who pride themselves on this Kisubi phenomenon whose very tremendous work has enabled SMACK to produce not only celebrities but also real icons almost “adored” in their respective milieu. One commitment that has fully characterized Prof J. C. Kiwanuka’s very brilliant personality is his dedication to service. As a teacher, for instance, the great J.C. was always very punctual and never late for his classes, he was always among the first to arrive at work and among the very last to go back home, he was always assiduous and never absent from duty, his lessons always bore a very deep intelligent content that would regularly betray that efficient preparation by a highly specialized individual, and whenever work was given to students, marking would always be done very timely! He would also participate in many extra-curricular activities on the campus. In my time he used to coach and referee various S1 / S2 football team groups and he was also one of the patrons of the famous Geography Society. All this portrays the keen interest this high profile educator had in his college and in the edification of the youth whom he always tried to pull out of any dark realm of unrefined juvenility. He was always successful in combating indiscipline and any sort of misconduct wherever and whenever it surfaced because he was always a high quality teacher who would feel no repugnance for the exercise of authority. Without ever succumbing to any gesture of insolence the tough educationalist would stand right in the middle of the group and call them to order by boldly appealing to their good sentiments! And whenever he intervened, nobody could answer back! Just only to see the guilty ones shamefully carrying away an agonized look!
It has always been very difficult to unravel the “J.C.” mystery because the person was specially anointed by Providence to be a real guru in the real sense of the word. Endowed with a very smart intelligence coupled with exceptionally outstanding qualities, Prof J. C. Kiwanuka has always been a very eminent personality winning admiration and respect from all. He has succeeded to be naturally extraordinary in any ordinary thing. He has always been conspicuously prominent in any situation whether at local / national / international level. He has never been indifferent to any situation. He has won all battles for himself and for others without shooting a bullet. Likewise, he has succeeded to be a real full man of the people almost adored by all, right from the very local peasants to the very super supreme elite! And they all literary voice the same similar sentiments of gratitude, appreciation, recognition and reconnaissance towards Africa’s very much beloved God-given Prof J. C. Kiwanuka. It’s thanks to persons like him that our formerly dubbed Dark Continent is now speeding to a bright era and, while at it, Africa is putting its special “pawns” on the international chess-board to prove its might in politics, sports, socio-cultural activities, science, medicine, arts and social sciences, economics, information science, religion (with the recently reported almost 3 million-strong gathering at Namugongo proving to be a very superbly extra-show of a dumbfounding African dynamism!).
Prof J. C. Kiwanuka has given his entire self for the cause of African nationalism via the very relevantly much yearned for education of the continent’s youth. He has shown to the world that teaching, one of the most difficult professions to exercise, is a rewarding venture when one eventually looks at the results obtained both in the short run, with academic performances, and in the long run, with the position and attainment achieved by the alumni in society. Prof J. C. Kiwanuka must indeed be a very happy man because he has regularly obtained the two aspects with very great pride! That’s why he is a hero, a legend, and a real leader with a proud following!
His greatness has fetched him amiable appellations and titles that continue to cement his celebrity in people’s hearts. He has been variously called professor, guru, extra-terrestrial, hero, genius, minister, politician, nationalist, thinker, visionary, man of God, man of the people, etc and others would even call him “manoeuvre” recalling the way he used to astound students when solving any extremely very difficult Cambridge-set HSC mathematics exercise without an iota of an effort! And the very much astonished class would remain bemusedly stunned! To his very many intellectual aptitudes one would add on his exceptionally unbending and indomitable courage. Prof J. C. Kiwanuka is a very intrepid person who fears nothing! Many of us still remember the way he won political battles in the then politically hyper difficult Bulemeezi County (Luweero) where he was the official MP in the early sixties and where he is still a legend! Equally remembered is also the way he boldly came out to defend late Archbishop Dr Joseph Kiwanuka when a Minister irresponsibly uttered a statement in Parliament promising to fire a political missile to the celebrated churchman who had voiced popular criticism against a proposed education reform bill that eventually failed to take off. Prof J. C. Kiwanuka, at his own great risk and in peril of his career and profession, took to the frontline and was one of those very brave fearless individuals who dared any real danger by assembling countless thousands in a protest rally at the Queen’s Clock Tower in Kampala. Prof J. C. Kiwanuka, who opened his address with a special prayer, almost moved the entire crowd to tears by his special parlance which sullied to shambles the Minister’s cheap remarks on Africa’s very highly dignified top-flight prelate. And the brave Kisubi professor became an instant hero almost virtually “acclaimed” nationwide! And at a unique Nnamugongo, specially organized to pray for the Archbishop, torrents of excited faithful were, after the historic High Mass, indeed in a raving mad-rush to greet and to give a hefty hug to the magnetic statesman, thanking him for his exceptional heroism!
Yes, all people rightly take Prof J. C. Kiwanuka for a gallant spotless national endowed with special clairvoyant abilities and for a very great lay Christian whose sound merits have raised him to stardom! His full half a century at SMACK was, without any slightest doubt, a period of very great inspiration which strongly contributed to making leading St Mary’s College Kisubi a vintage model of an academic wonderland yielding a high output devoid of anything shallow and hollow. A SMACK product can easily be identified thanks to the many positive qualities that credential his personality and numerous among them are ascribed to the edifying personality of Prof J. C. Kiwanuka! He built students in an infinite variety of things. In our time the Headmaster would often request him to lecture to us on some important topics which at times included project appraisal in a post-SMACK era. And we would all love listening to words of wisdom from a person who has always stood as a true model of a husband and father of a very happy family for which he would later make immense sacrifices in particular from the time he lost his very dear wife and eventually his beloved daughter, two very sad happenings which won all hearts for the beloved teacher as seen in the very massive turnout at the two funerals coupled with universal mourning among all Ugandan communities all over the world!
Clocking an enviable ninety, highlighted with such a very brilliant record of successes, triumphs, super high achievements and exemplary attitudes in joys and heartfelt sorrows, is something of an unprecedented feat that will permanently stamp Prof J. C. Kiwanuka’s name in the annals of history.
Who will forget to remember a national who through a simple humble lifetime of a college teacher succeeded to do multitudes of untold wonders that now bear the hallmark of genius and almost turn the renowned J. C. into a hallowed individual citizen! Who will ever forget to say THANK YOU to a person who through individual self-imposed sacrifices for the youth of the region has succeeded to pull many fellow citizens out of the mire of misery to a brightly shining horizon where prosperity, chance and success are a sturdy commonplace! Who will forget to testify in favour of a person who has always shown a good-will towards anyone who approaches him for advice or anything positive?
Prof J. C. Kiwanuka has indeed always been one of those cautious types, ready to help constructively and has impressed many in this regard! And this episode, narrated by an outstanding Ugandan, Hon Nuwe Amanya Mushega, and quoted in press / internet suffices to tell it all:
While in the Ministry of Education I went to Kisubi in 1989 to tour schools. In the staff meeting I saw an elderly man in a corner and I asked him, “Were you Kiwanuka’s minister?” He said yes. This was J. C. Kiwanuka. He was Minister of Education in 1961 when I was a P7 student. He came to visit Mbarara High School. We saw him for not more than 30 minutes. I never saw him again until that day. This was one of the oldest graduates the country had produced. He was a Mathematics teacher at Kisubi. Just because he was DP, when UPC came to power he was thrown back into teaching; we never used his full potential. I invited him to my home in Bugolobi and we had a party of two: the junior and the elder. He advised me on what not to do, because we were trying to change the Board of Governors to bring on board teachers and parents. The old board comprised just government and foundation body. He gave me some good advice.
I owe a lot of credit to J. C. Kiwanuka.….who changed my entire thinking about the state of education in the country at that time.
There we are with our super-eminent J. C., a very brave man of conviction who has regularly won the hearts of his fellow citizens. Indeed, Prof J. C. Kiwanuka’s ninety year-old life has always had the distinction of a bravura performance that compares very well with that of the greatest biographies the entire African continent has ever read. Such a rich life always deserves praises of the highest value to the highest merit. The best way to laud a hero is to garland him with the most gilded accolades. The great Ugandan nonagenarian can’t be denied such an honour. Uganda as a nation should think of enumerating Prof J. C. Kiwanuka among its national heroes in recognition of his tremendous contribution to education and to the edification of the youth. He has achieved all this through pains and sacrifice for the good of his country. Buganda Kingdom should award its celebrated first Mathematics graduate who in achieving such an over-fine pack of high-toned realizations has shown to the entire world how the scholarship Mengo granted him to further his studies in UK was a thing of very great worth that has permitted this Muganda teacher to have a radiant impact on our nation’s education system out of which he has succeeded to build a very special calibre of nationals that have contributed a lot to Buganda’s and to Uganda’s development in all aspects. Makerere, his university, on behalf of the nation’s academia, should also do something to extol this scholarly national whose impeccably wonderful image and exemplary personality are among the many things that have indeed helped boost Makerere’s name to certain esteem. If at one time Makerere was called the Harvard of Black Africa it was indeed due to, among other things, its high quality products such as Prof J. C. Kiwanuka. Can Makerere also forget an alumnus who, at college, formed most of the university’s very outstanding alumni in Medicine, Sciences, Maths, Statistics, Engineering, Veterinary, Pharmacy, Information Technology, etc and was also an inspiration to those Kisubis who took Arts, Law, Social Sciences, etc? Many Makerereans would like to see Prof J. C. Kiwanuka awarded an Honorary Makerere Doctorate or named Honorary Professor of the University, and this will help energize the rediscovery of its past fame and glory. And the Church for which Prof J. C. Kiwanuka, a very great lay Christian, has indeed won countless battles? Of course we know that these ecclesiastics take things very carefully and at times very strategically and, of course, they are aware of J. C’s multivalent positive contribution. So, it’s now a matter of waiting patiently for the day when this man of God will be rewarded by Rome to the full satisfaction of all Ugandans who take the profoundly Christian Prof J. C. Kiwanuka for a role model to look up to!
Yes, he is indeed a bona fide Christian model and exemplary statesman who is certainly check-listed by Providence for a sublime celestial reward the day the Almighty One will call him to bless all his labours, efforts, pains and sacrifices. There, he will enjoy gazing the Beatific Vision in the noble company of his illustrious namesakes such as St Achilles Kiwanuka, one of Uganda’s Holy Martyrs; the saintly Archbishop Dr Joseph Kiwanuka, patron of Kiwanuka House, and a very great world renowned exemplary African churchman whose entire course of life was solidly marked with success, triumph and exceptional gallantry that even accompanied him to his grave on his very historic triumphant funeral; the Great Benedicto Kiwanuka, an honorary SMACK OB and a much legendary politician and very prominent lawyer who, through correlating politics with law, succeeded to twin a unique national achievement: that of becoming the nation’s first ever Premier and eventually that of becoming the country’s first ever native Chief Justice, and whose murder, at the zenith of his fame as an incorruptible and intrepid judge, is universally interpreted as a real true genuine Christian martyrdom involving a courageous life freely and willingly offered in the cause of truth and justice. All in all, looking at this sacrosanct Kiwanuka catalogue, any serious observer would very rightly say that Prof J. C. Kiwanuka’s ninety year-old brilliant personality stands , on the other hand, as a symbol that epitomizes that adorable super legend as encapsulated in the Kiwanukas, meaning, of course, a heroic life moulded out of intelligence, wisdom, courage, pragmatism, vision and foresight, integrity and honesty, charisma and charm, fervour and inspiration, passion and zeal, and a very much overly exemplary spirit of leadership axed on sovereign maturity and substantive resolution.
MAY THE ALMIGHTY GOD’S NAME BE ALWAYS PRAISED FOR HAVING GIVEN US THE VERY GREAT PROF J.C. KIWANUKA!
“45 days to J C’s 91st Birthday, the Almighty God called J C Kiwanuka to himself, we miss him, but thank God for the life of J C. May the Almighty God rest J C’s soul in eternal Peace”