With this regime under our “dear leader”, any History not connected with him in Uganda is not worth History. Peter Grace Sseruwagi is a forgotten Hero now languishing in a village of Kitonya – Kisolo in Mityana near Kassanda digging barefooted with his family!! The poor forced environment by the government upon him turned his life upside down. Any individual or team work collection help to Peter Grace Seruwagi will be highly appreciated. He was a great Man who at present his expertise and dedication hasn’t been found. During his time Uganda was ranked third in the World of Boxing behind USA, Cuba, Uganda etc.. In Africa we where the best!!
For those who want his contact, I will be able to write it here in due course so that you can talk to the hero your self. It will be great if people of the good heart come and help this great man swimming in object poverty now.
Seldom does one encounter such lucid accounts about extraordinary Ugandans, who have brought great pride to the country. The men whose exploits in the boxing ring are being recalled were not just sportsmen, providing entertainment. They galvanized Ugandans, bringing out the best in us as a united people. Many of these men resided in Naguru, which had a cosmopolitan flare, and the Luo freely mixed with the Muganda, in a brotherly spirit.
When the Museveni of old rhetorically queried: “You say, “This one is for UPC, DP, NRM … My question is, “Who is for Uganda?”. These famed boxers made us feel Ugandan, and we were “for Uganda”. Those of you of a certain age will remember the Radio Uganda boxing match commentary in Runyakore/Rukiga, in the heat of some serious action by the celebrated Begge, as he rounded on his opponent, pounding him with a combination of jabs and upper cuts … Begge, … Begge, … Begge ya’mutera echikonde … Begge afukire Begge … Begge ya’ mutera …”.
And the glowing pride of the radio commentator, whose enthusiasm and excitement carried over to each and everyone of us, did not for a moment think of Begge as anything besides a Ugandan star, who had to be cheered to victory, our victory as a Nation, and as a people. And nobody cared a dime whether his parents were Ja’Luo, originally from Kenya. He was one of us, a son of Uganda.
In the 1990s, working as a young physician in rural Uganda, I had the honor of attending to a distinguished Ugandan. He had arrived at the hospital out clinic, at an early hour. He was once upon a time a bear of a man, a giant that towered over his opponents. He was also a humble man in spite of the major achievements he had realized. He waited his turn patiently in the line, and as he was processed through the system, his name did not register to all that had seen him before he stood in my office. When he entered my office, and after one look at the name written on his “Out Patient Form”, I rose from behind my desk, and almost genuflexed before this Ugandan great. This was Benson Masanda – yes, the one and only Benson Masanda. He was ill, but nonetheless I shook his hand vigorously and called everyone to come and see the great man himself! I must say he was extremely flattered, and surprised … surprised that there was a young Ugandan who had recognized him, for nobody, he said, cared about his past deeds in the ring and the glory that he brought to his country. Needless to say, I provided the care that he needed gratis. He did mention that he was the Sports Officer of Palisa District. But then that was in the early 1990s, when the country was showing little interest investing in developing sports. He was by all accounts a man living in dare depravation.
Uganda has had many a sports hero, and their contribution far out paces what any post-1962 politician has contributed. There were the atheletes (Aki Bua, being the most recognizable. but what about people like Margaret Bisereko? She was a teacher, and once upon a time my geography teacher at Old Kampala Primary School in 1973/74 – when Fagil Mandy was the headmaster – and as coincidences may have it, Mzee Seruwagi’s son was her student as well. I have forgotten his name, but he too, at that tender age, carried quite a weighty punch on his small body. Margaret competed nationally, regionally and internationally, and was an acclaimed track star.
The East African Community used to publish a magazine, and if any of you has an old copy, you will find quite a few photos featuring Margaret at sports championships. I think she got married to a notable Ugandan sportsman. These folks deserve to be remembered and honored. John Rubin has done an excellent job, and it would be most welcome if we could take the time to document some aspects of our Uganda experience for posterity.
UAH member in Kampala