Tuesday February 12 2013

David Katumwa's mission to get a degree

David Katumwa's mission to get a degree

David Katumwa reading through one of the books he keeps in his office on Ben Kiwanuka Street. He passed O-Level in fourth grade. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa. 

By Gloria Haguma

“No matter how wealthy or successful you think you are, there is a point in your life when you’re going to regret not having gone to school,” says David Katumwa, the proprietor of the Katumwa Sports Centre. That, according to him, is one of the reasons he decided to go back and get an education.

The self-made business man who sat for his UCE exams last year says he passed and hopes to go back to his former school, the Makerere Day and Evening Centre for adults (MAECA).

When I arrive at his office, at the Katumwa Sports Centre, he ushers me in and from first impressions, he seems to be a very jovial man. He has on a sleek suit, and looks every inch, a business man. He looks very humble, but is rather talkative. For a man that only resumed school a few years ago, he is very good at English and for most of the interview, he uses the language.

His determination to become better, education-wise is evident by the large Oxford Dictionary that lies on his desk. He also has a laptop that he is quick to show me, saying that he is also catching up with the dot com era.

“Times have changed, we are living in the Facebook era, everything we do involves advanced technology, and as you can see, I am also trying to catch up,” he says candidly.

I then congratulate him upon his success in the just released UCE results, a compliment he gladly takes in. When asked how he performed he is reluctant to reveal his actual results. However, results from Uganda National Examination Board show that he passed, in Division Four, contrary to what had been reported by a local television station, over the weekend that he had failed. Katumwa surpassed the pass mark, required for one to join A’ Level.

Happy with results
“I am very happy about my results and plan on going back for senior five,” he says. He can’t help but smile and says he is picking his results very soon and going to register for A’ Level.

From what he says, the education he is acquiring seems to be something he takes much pride in.

This evident when he is speaking. He has a fair command of the language and seems to be proud of himself. When he goes on to talk about the challenges he has been facing as a result of being illiterate, it is clear that he is positive that this education is somewhat a saviour.

He is very delighted and says he can’t believe that he has been able to pass, since the exams were hard.

“The science subjects were the hardest and I am extremely surprised that I didn’t get failures especially in chemistry, math and biology.

Juggling his business with the schooling has been a challenge, and asked how he managed to balance the two, he says he always made time for his classes.

“I would always fix time for the classes. It was not always easy but the determination I had kept me going,” he says.

He points out that in the beginning, it wasn’t very easy as many of his colleagues tried to discourage him from going back to school, saying they did not see the essence of the whole idea.

“Many of my friends said going back to school was a bad idea because to them, I was already successful and rich, so they saw no need to go back to school,” he adds. Unknown to them, his illiteracy had been a big hindrance to him, in many aspect s of his life.

“Being illiterate is not a good feeling. Communication, which is the cornerstone in business, is bound to become a problem, especially for someone like me that deals in international business.

“Sometimes I was forced to hire interpreters and other individuals to do some things for me. I could not even manage to read my mail and had to hire someone to do that,” he says.

His success in the UCE has therefore been well received by his friends, and he is rather sad, that his family is not with him to share in his joy. His wife asked for a divorce and is currently away with the children.

When asked what the next step is, he thinks hard and then says he is yet to discuss with his advisor on what combination to take on for senior five, though, entrepreneurship is one of the subjects he hopes to do.

No limit to his dreams
When we dream, it is always good to have no limit to our dreams and that is probably what Katumwa has in mind. Though, he will only be joining Senior Five, he already knows what he wants to do when he is done with secondary school.

“After this, I hope to join the university and I will take on a business course, preferably business administration,” he points out.

Katumwa also says, he is acquiring an education that will not only elevate his personality but also come as an added advantage to his business.

“Now I can begin to sign my own cheques and close my own business deals,” he says with a smile on his face.

Currently, reading inspirational books is his latest hobby, and this is evident by a number of books on his desk, which include a book titled How to Become Rich, and many others.

“I love reading and I spend most of my free time reading inspirational books,” he says.

He is thankful to his teachers at the MAECA who have enabled him achieve this success in his exams, his family for being encouraging and lastly the team at the Katumwa Sports Centre that relieved him of his duties as managing director to pursue his studies.