[email protected]: Makerere Literature Department Celebrates First Doctoral Graduate “Uncle Tim”

The Makerere University College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) will celebrate this Friday, July 8, 2022 Professor Timothy Wangusa, poet, novelist and teacher.

The event will take place in the Auditorium of the Central Educational Institution along Yusuf Lule Pool Road at Makerere University from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Born in May 1942, Professor Wangusa is also celebrating his 80th birthdaye birthday this year.

As part of the activities to mark #MakerereAt100, @MakerereCHUSS will celebrate this friday Teacher. Timothee Wangusa a renowned poet, novelist and writer at the age of 80. Teacher. Wangusa was the first Ugandan to receive a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from Makerere University,” the university tweeted on Monday July 4.

“Uncle Tim”, as he is affectionately known, was the first member of the Department of Literature to acquire a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree on October 8, 1975 from Makerere University as an independent institution.

“The Dean of the Faculty of Arts to present the following for the award of the Graduate Degree of Doctor of Philosophy: Timothy Wangusa,” the notice read.

The graduation ceremony and the presentation of certificates took place in the Quadrilateral of Sciences on Wednesday, October 8, 1975 at 10 am.

The Chancellor at the time presided over the graduation ceremony.

Rare fact: first doctorate

In his article titled “Class of 1964: A conversation with the great professor of literature Timothy Wangusa” published by Daily Nation on March 20, 2020, writer Oumah Otienoh recalls “a high class that included people like John Ruganda, Timothy Wangusa, Okello Oculi, Rose Mbowa and Micere Mugo”, all scholars who by the 1960s became valuable scholars.

Asked to speak about the Class of 1964, Professor Wangusa told Otienoh: “My Makerere Class of 1964 produced some of the literary giants of our time. Ngugi wa Thiong’o had just left when I entered middle school. John Ruganda and Rose Mbowa later became theater gurus. Okello Oculi and I got deeply involved in poetry. Professor David Rubadiri was our senior as he taught our group. Professor David Cook inspired us by writing workouts. From time to time, we would go to his place to write tutorials.

As John Ruganda, a former seminarian, surprised his classmates by writing his first play “Black Mamba” during their sophomore year, it would be Wangusa who would achieve the rare feat of being the first to be conferred with a doctorate in philosophy (PhD) In ​​literature.

“We were only two to have obtained a doctorate. The other graduate was in sports science,” he said, recalling wistfully the graduation ceremony presided over by then-president Idi Amin.

A man of many firsts, Professor Wangusa was appointed Associate Professor of Literature in 1981 at Makerere University (Bugisu’s first).

“I got my professor title the same day with Okot p’Bitek,” he told Otienoh.

“Poet God”

In October 2006, the Faculty of Arts and the Department of Literature honored Professor Wangusa for his outstanding work in literature and poetry.

The “Ugandan Poetry God” who served as Presidential Advisor for Literary Affairs, is famous for his poetry books like “Greetings: Poems 1965-1975 (1977)”, “A Pattern of Dust: Selected Poems” 1965-1990 (1994)”, “Anthem for Africa” (1995), “Africa’s New Brood” (2006)”.

Besides the masterpiece “On This Mountain” (1989), a novel that chronicles Mwambu’s journey from naive curiosity to adulthood, Professor Wangusa is also known for his poem “A Taxi Driver at His death” which gives an overview of a driver’s state of health. mind and how many of them consider an accident.

“Cynics say poetry sells nothing. But it is the mother tongue of mankind where men, women and children speak,” Professor Wangusa told the audience gathered in the main hall of the university to listen to his great literary achievements.

Then, the dean of the faculty, Hannigton Ssengendo, and the head of the literature department, Aloysius Kwitonda, were present at the event.

In an article titled ‘A tale of Africa’s story in rich verse’ and on Friday 1 March 2013, Daily Monitor wrote: ‘Everyone should read Professor Timothy Wangusa’s poem which gives his latest collection of poems its title, ‘Africa’s New Nichée”. But make sure that while doing so, you don’t take any tea because it will get cold.

Gifted with creating memorable effect, Uncle Tim went from being a household name in literary circles to legend and then “poet god”.

Addressing various themes, Professor Wangusa’s mastery of the language; the use of provocative imagery, puns and generally free verse forms, to paint vivid images in the mind of the reader, is to be seen.

But his secret “magic wand” is in the diction: the choice of words used in his poem: “A strange wind” where he addresses a growing rivalry between developing and developed countries.

Wangusa was president of the Uganda Writers Association and founding president of the Uganda PEN International Centre.

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