My Memories of Kings College Buddo from my London Appartment!

Kings College Budo started taking in girls in 1933. Budo Junior roughly the same time or a year or so earlier. This looks like a primary school.

Kings College Budo started taking in girls in 1933. Budo Junior roughly the same time or a year or so earlier. This looks like a primary school.

I entered Makerere University at 17 years aged 17. I was sent to Kings College Budo by my parents because my elder brother was there and he would take care of me because I was so young, because I was then in S 5 while my 4 year old brother was in S 6.

It is a good picture. I hope the school still keeps them in archives. I did not know Budo started taking girls in 1933, but by the time I was there, I think it was almost 50-50 % between boys and girls.

The only frustration was that the girls quarters were so far away from the main school and boys were never allowed to go there. There was a red-line between the main school and boys quarters and girls quarters that boys could not cross after 10PM.

I had a nice time at King’s College Budo. I loved to wander around on the hills and the valleys on my own, watching the birds and wild life on saturdays, and then on sundays, I would climb up the steep hills to meet my village mate from Dokolo who was at nearby Nabingo SS. I have very nostalgic memories of Budo and I hope to go back one day. I have never been back again since I went to collect my A Level results those many years ago.

May be some people on UAH were not active in school debates, I know some students did not really participate in them. But at King’s College Budo, the debating competitions were often the highlight of the school calendar year. I was almost always the representative of the school. My greatest moment of triumph was the finals of a four way competition between us , Gayaza High, Namilyango College and Busoga College Mwiri which was broadcast live on Radio Uganda.That was the first time I appeared on radio. And I think we won the competition and it made me very famous at Budo.

On the subject of Idi Amin, I don’t think he interfered with teaching in schools although teachers were very careful what they taught. But we certainly knew what dictatorship was under Amin. My personal experience, which was very frightening, was in 1977 when the Headmaster, Mr Uyirwoth, collected all of us students from Lango and Acholi and told us there were reports that Idi Amin was arresting people from these tribes, and he told us to be just be very careful and to avoid going to Kampala or even outside the school. He told us in case any of us was frightened, or heard about a relative who disappeared, we could always go to his home any time of day or night. And he told us security at the school was going to be tightened not to allow any strangers into the school grounds.

I think the only incidents of insecurity were when that year, Idi Amin forced the school to admit a few muslim students, who were children of his ministers or army officers, who did not meet the entry qualifications for Budo which were the highest in the country in those days. The only direct act of violence, also in 1977, was when members of State Research Bureau entered the school and abducted a student, Ntanzi Kasirivu, but he was later released because it turned out he had a brother who was a captain in Amin’s army.

May be some people were not aware of the climate of fear that enveloped the entire country, in the late 1970’s as the tension between Uganda and Tanzania was almost at fever-pitch and a war was impending. Between 1977-1978, thousands of people from Acholi and Lango, later on from other parts of Uganda were arrested, many never to be seen again. Certainly, in the climate such as existed, no body needed to be taught about “dictatorship”- you did not need to read about it either. You just smelt it in the air.

Where is Bush Yunusu Kasirivu these days? Remind him of that day he was arrested by Idi Amin’s secret service (State Research Bureau) at the gates of King’s College Budo and bundled into the boot of a waiting car. He had us worried that night but fortunately, he returned to school only with ruffled feathers and a bruised ego.

I will quote you a very famous statement from Thomas More in the play “A Man for All Seasons” taught to me by Miss Yahwe at Kings College Budo in the highly acclaimed book.Thomas More said he would hide his daughter in the thickets of the law rather than hoist her to the mainmast of the ship of her boyfriend’s sea going principles ie the boyfriend had no principles in life and the father wanted to save her. In this case, my daughter will hide me in the thickets of the law and in her, you will find a most formidable adversary.

George Okello
Member of UAH and working with the IMF



One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Fellow UAH,
    The year 1977 was one of the worst in the entire rule of President Idi Amin. Former President of Uganda, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote was exiled in Tanzania and like many other Ugandan exiles, was trying to find a way to return home to Uganda.
    Many reports were gathered by intelligence services that there was a Ugandan rebel army in Tanzania which was poised to attack Uganda. It was also claimed that their purpose of attack would be to reinstate Dr. Obote as President of Uganda.
    As though to confirm the intelligence reports, many boxes of guns and ammunition were discovered by security forces and their destination was The Church of Uganda, Namirembe. Each box included a letter supposedly signed by Dr. A. Milton Obote, in which he assured his combatants of victory. In the letter, many names were listed as some of the combatants that were in contact with the former President. Some were Military Intelligence officers, but more shockingly was their ethnicity. Realizing that the majority were either Acholi, or Langi and that the arms and ammunition were headed to the Church of Uganda, also headed by Arch Bishop Jannan Luwum of the same ethnicity, it did not look safe at all.
    George O, your headmaster, Mr. Uyirwoth might have known more than he was willing to disclose, but chose only to warn you against leaving school compound.
    In the year 1980 when Dr. A. Milton Obote was campagning for the Presidency of Uganda, he took his pen from the shirt pocket and showed it around. He said that, “Some people used guns to fight for the liberation of Uganda, but I fought with my pen and with this pen, I fought better.”
    Thinking about Dr. A. Milton Obote’s statement, I realize that he is the one who kept sending written messages to Uganda, claiming that a UG rebel army was poised to attack. In fact, this he did in the manner the messages would be intercepted by the UG intelligence services, so as to cause panic in the country. Yes indeed, panic was caused and many people of the Acholi and Lango ethnicity were brutally murdered. Uganda was not to be the same again.
    BJ. Rubin.

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