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Makerere bans students from running naked

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The swimming pool at Makerere University in which students dive after holding the Naked Mile activity . PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Didas Kisembo

Posted  Friday, May 9  2014 at  13:01

In Summary

The directive. Dean of Students Cyriaco Kabagambe instructs university security to arrest students indulging in the “Naked Mile” introduced by students as part of their culture week.

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Kampala.
Makerere University has banned students from holding an activity that involves students running naked during their culture week.

Dubbed “Naked Mile”, the activity involves naked male students running from their halls of residence to those for females and, thereafter, the groups dive into the swimming pool at the campus.

However, the university yesterday banned the activity, saying it is a “backward practice”.

A notice from the Dean of Students, Mr Cyriaco Kabagambe, instructed the university security to arrest all those students that indulge in the act.

The directive
“The chief security officer and officer in-charge at Makerere University are requested to look out for those who will repeat the bad habit with the view to prosecuting them,” cautioned the letter.
However, the guild president, Mr Ivan Bwowe, said students run in their vests.

“From what I gather, it’s not entirely the case that they [run around] nude. They move in vests,” said Mr Bwowe.

The letter cited two male halls: Lumumba and Mitchell, as the most indulgent in this habit, with students largely under the influence of alcohol. “This is very unfortunate and unacceptable in a premier institution like Makerere University. It is also potentially dangerous to human life,” said the notice.

According to Mr Morris Muhindo, a former student who resident in Mitchell Hall, the practice has been around for long. However, he says the element of nudity crept in around the 2010, with boys in Mitchell, who would jog to the pool to swim early morning and late in the evening. Later on, it attracted residents of neighbouring halls of Nsibirwa, Nkrumah and Livingstone.

“Then they wouldn’t go naked. They would run in shorts and vests, but the bold ones choose whichever way they would run,” said Mr Muhindo.
A counsellor who talked to the Daily Monitor yesterday decribed the practice as a generation issue.

“It’s a cult mentality. At that age, anything different and not normal will get their minds excited and before you even know it attract a following. They will view the habit as trendy,” Ms Beatrice Kakembo said.

The background
Latest incident.
In 201O, Martin Kalema, a student of Engineering, was found dead at the university swimming pool. The then Swimming pool supervisor, Mr Johnson Mujjabi, had told journalists that the death had resulted from the student’s cultural night. Mr Mujjabi had said on the night before the incident, he had found students swimming in the pool at around 1am and chased them away. Some, however, had sneaked back.

About event. The cultural week is when halls of residence celebrate their unique and diverse cultural history.