Friday, February 29, 2008

The first memorial lecture of Professor John Ruganda was held on Sunday at University of Limpopo

“Professor John Ruganda was regarded as a Literary Giant”

The community of artists at University of Limpopo South Africa yesterday honored a literary Giant Professor John Ruganda. Ruganda was a performing arts lecture at university of Limpopo; he was lecturing drama, play writing and poetry. He introduced a community of arts at university of Limpopo in 1999 after hired at the university as a English lecture in 1998. He died last year on the 8th of December; he was laid to rest at his home in Kireka (spelt Chireka) on 17th December 2007. Kireka is a few Kilometers from Kampala in Uganda.

In his memorial lecture local poems and his students honored him by reading his poems and also staging some of his work. His friend and a fellow artist Professor Taban Lo Liyong from Sudan gave a full three hours lecture about the life of Ruganda he said “ Ruganda was a international and revered playwright, poet, actor and a theatre director, his work is a stone that will live for ever. He went further by saying, Ruganda started his work when still young and early the time Obote was still a president of Uganda.

Her students at University of Limpopo Quincy Mashaba and Nkateko Mashavha characterized him as a man of all moments, someone who knows what he want and a father to all. They also mentioned that without Ruganda a yearly Heritage Festival at the Limpopo province would not be there. “ He stardet the festival to promote the poor artists around the Limpopo province, all artists were gathering here at University of Limpopo for a week to celebrate the heritage week” said David Ramakgwakgwa one of artists who worked full time with him. He further said that Ruganda still had many plans on how to improve arts in this province.

When celebrating his life his latest book of poetry was launched by Vonani waka Bila the owner of the Bila Publishers. Some of the poems from that book was also read by other poets who were part of the memorial lecture. When reading the poems professor Taban Lo Liyong encouraged the young writers to read other artist’s works to built their talent and to let them grow in this industry.

The following are some of his books:

The Life of Ruganda as a Literary Giant
Some of the text below was taken from The Monitor (Kampala) 22 December by Patience Atuhaire and Moses Serugo

Ruganda was one to ruffle feathers. One particular incident was when he led Ugandan undergraduate students to paint the Kenya National Theatre, a thing that almost earned the students an expulsion. He said, "Everyone who cares about freedom and black identity, come with me'," Okurut recollects.
Apart from The Burdens (1972), Black Mamba (1973) and The Floods (1980), Rugunda's other notable works include Covenant with Death (1973), Music Without Tears (1982), Echoes of Silence (1986), Telling the Truth Laughingly (1993) Igereka and other African Narratives (2002) and Barricades of Paper Houses (featured in the Poems from East Africa anthology).
Ruganda was born May 30, 1941 in the village of Kabarole, near Fort Portal. He attended St. Leo's College in Fort Portal before joining Makerere University in Kampala, where he took a B.A. degree with honours in English. He graduated in 1967 and was soon employed by Oxford University Press of Eastern Africa, rising to become their editorial and sales representative in Uganda between 1968 and 1972.
From 1972 to 1973 he held a Creative Writing Senior Fellowship in the Department of Literature at Makerere University, a prestigious award offered to authors to enable them to complete ongoing creative projects. Before Ruganda, the fellowship had been held by famous authors such as V. S. Naipaul, Robert Serumaga, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o.
In 1973, because of the volatile political situation in Uganda, Ruganda travelled to Kenya, where he eventually joined the Literature Department of the University of Nairobi after working briefly for Oxford University Press in that city.
He worked in this department until 1982, teaching, writing, and directing both stage and television performances of plays. During his career at the University of Nairobi, he worked with such well-known authors as David Rubadiri, Taban lo Liyong, Okot p'Bitek, and Joe de Graft. He also had contact with Chris Wanjala, David Mulwa, Kivutha Kibwana, and Francis Imbuga, authors who were then just starting on their now-established literary careers.
In 1983, Ruganda left Kenya for Canada, where he enrolled in a Master of Arts programme at the University of New Brunswick, majoring in English. Barely a year after graduating in 1984, Ruganda entered the Ph.D. programme and earned his doctorate from New Brunswick in 1989. His dissertation was "Alienation and Leadership Figures in the Plays of Francis Imbuga."
At the time of his death, Ruganda was teaching at South Africa's University of Limpopo. He is survived by a widow, Flavia Murumba and eight children; Elizabeth Natasha Ngonzi, Christie Kembubi, Ruhuma Ruganda, Samson Rucigirwa, Ruhundwa Ruganda, Kempuga Ruganda, Ruhinda Ruganda and Rugaju Rugunda

1 comment:

comdev said...

We all knew Professor Ruganda and indeed it came as a shock to learn that he passed away and the Uiversity failed to honour him. However, the community of artists did something to arlet and remind the community about him. It is a challenge to the University of Limpopo and the head of Arts center inluding South African goverment.

Congradulations to the community of artists that also requested us to assist them in this year's heritage day to hoour Ruganda.

From Kabuse