Seated in a sea of books is an historian, writer, mentor and above all a man behind many books. Smartly dressed in his usual kind of suits, I could see an academic icon whose name has kept sounding in many people’s memories and still inspires many young ones. This is none other than Prof. John Chrisotom Ssekamwa.
Profile of Prof. J.C Ssekamwa
Born on 29th November 1935, Prof. J.C Ssekamwa started teaching in junior secondary schools in 1958. “I eventually promoted myself through studying a degree in Education and Masters. I got my PhD from Makerere in 1985. I studied for a year at the Institute of London and for a year at the Teacher’s College, Colombia on a Fulbright scholarship.
I then began teaching at Makerere university in the History department in 1968. I later transferred myself to the faculty of education as a teacher trainer. I rose to senior lecturer in 1972 and became Associate Professor in 1978.
Ssekamwa became a Professor of Education in 1990. He was later appointed Dean of Education at Makerere university in 1993, a position he served up to 2004.
In 2005, Sekamwa joined Nkumba University as Professor of Education and Dean School of Education, Humanities and Sciences.
As a researcher and writer.
Prof. Ssekamwa has done extensive researches in pure history, education and Baganda culture. “I have written many books which have influenced society not only in Uganda but also in the rest of E. Africa and beyond,” he happily notes adding that his name has been quoted left and right in dissertations and thesis by many students and other researchers.
Some Icons that Prof. Ssekamwa has taught
Prof. John Cristome Ssekamwa says that his 55 years of dedicated teaching has made him produce many graduates at secondary, degree, masters and PhD levels. “I have produced many teachers with Masters and PhDs besides those at undergraduate level,” he happily says.
Prof. Katerega’s name runs first in the minds of Prof. Ssekamwa as one of those he has taught, supervised and proud of. Katerega is the Chancellor and proprietor of Kampala University.
The late Dr. Suraiman Kiggundu, the founder of Greenland Bank and first Chancellor of Nkumba University is the second he recalls.
After a few seconds of thinking, he endlessly mentions other icons, Ahamed Kaweesa Ssengendo, Vice rector at Islamic University in Uganda, Dr. Tamale of Education at Makerere university, Prof. Masagazi Musazi, Dr.Stephen Nyanzi, the newly appointed deputy Vice Chancellor of Nkumba University among many others, the list is just endless.
Word to fresh graduates:
He says that all graduates should aim at keeping time and work in search a way that will eventually make them become indispensible at their workplaces. You should also work as professional people; you should be objective and act as a good example to the people who see you in action.
Devotion to duty and time consciousness has kept me for all this long. I also have a strong desire to help others progress.
This drives the professor to tell me about his favorite quotations. “A candle looses nothing by lighting other candles”. He adds that his other best quote is “The challenge in life is planting trees and whose shade one does not hope to sit”
Secret behind his fitness
Two years from now Prof. Ssekamwa will be celebrating his 80th birthday but he looks more physically fit than many of his students. What could be the secret behind your fitness? He laughs before telling me that he walks a lot.
“I don’t fall sick because I exercise every day by walking. Secondly, I don’t do anything in excess especially in terms of eating and drinking. I do drink but beyond one bottle, I don’t, he reveals.
When you rest, you rust, the late Prof. William Senteza Kajubi (one of Ssekamwa’s teachers) used to say. Perhaps, Ssekamwa must have picked a leaf from this Quote. “I exercise my brain daily because I’m a writer and a researcher. This has kept me alert and productive because research and writing require a lot of critical thinking”, he says.
My home is in Natete, Church zone. I’m married and blessed with two sons and three daughters. My last born daughter is in her first year of study at Uganda Christian University, Mukono.