He is 99, retired, but won’t give up teaching

Monday June 10 2019

Yosam Lukwago, a retired teacher

Yosam Lukwago, a retired teacher displays the two books he recently authored. The 99-year-old says he feels obliged to teach anybody whenever he gets a chance to. Photos by Michael J Ssali 

By MICHAEL J SSALI

At 99 years of age, Yosam Lukwago of Bulayi Village Mukungwe Sub-County, Masaka District, who retired from teaching in 1980, says he is still a teacher and wants to spend the rest of his life teaching. “There are two categories of teachers,” he says. “For some, teaching is just a job they do to earn a salary. To others, it is a calling. I think I belong to the second category of teachers. It is the reason I continue to teach and actually want to continue for the rest of my life,” Lukwago says.

He adds that whenever he rides on a boda boda, he asks the riders if they have bank accounts in which they save money and educate them about the importance of saving in case they do not. “That is teaching even if nobody pays me for it,” he asserts.

The retired teacher also hints on the need for a teacher to be a good example wherever they are, saying by wearing a neck-tie nearly all the time he is in public, he wants to show his former students that they must be smart all the time the same way he taught them while in active service.

“I think it is the reason many of my former students who include former prime minister, Kintu Musoke and the late Joash Mayanja Nkangi would easily introduce me as their former teacher at public gatherings,” Lukwago says with pride.

Strength in old age
But what makes a 99-year-old strong and active. The former school teacher of English language and Christian Religious Education walks energetically, reads without the aid of glasses, his hearing is perfect, and he has never lost even a single tooth. At the age when some people are senile, he has a very sound mind and a good memory which is perhaps the reason he was elected chairperson of Fathers’ Union in West Buganda Diocese, a position he held until recently. He is credited for his efforts in making a constitution for Fathers Union for West Buganda Diocese.

Between 2005 and 2011, Lukwago served as head of the laity in the same diocese. At his home, he still spends time physically working in his coffee garden and taking care of his cows. The retired teacher has five cows under zero-grazing and about three acres of coffee. If he is not engaged in physical work at home, he does plenty of reading and writing. He has so far written and published two books, Okwagala kwa Katonda eri Abantube and Ebyafaayo bya West Buganda Diocese.

With his experience as a Fathers’ Union leader, he counsel’s married couples. “The key for every married person is to be contented with the partner they got,” Lukwago states.

Observe discipline
To young teachers, the retired teacher says they should always read widely and prepare their lessons before going to class. “Teaching is only enjoyable when the teacher makes sufficient preparation and is confident about what they are teaching.”

He is also very critical of teachers who sexually harass their students. “It is the worst crime a teacher can commit. The students are given to us in trust and for us to take over the role of their parents for a time. Morality is part of education and a teacher should be an example of morality in society and especially among the young people that go through their care,” Lukwago asserts.

He adds that wherever their former students find them, they should be able to remember them as a morally upright person not one who sexually harassed them or who helped them to cheat in exams.

Prominent Masaka businessman Hajj Erias Mpuuga remembers Lukwago as a humble, loving, and cheerful head teacher at Kyebongotoko Primary School in Sembabule District. “He was our head teacher when I was in Primary Seven in 1975. He would make surprise entrances into our classrooms and jokingly say; do you have any problems sirs? If you have any problems, let me know so that I can solve them. He would often joke with us and we always enjoyed his classes.”

Lukwago was born on January 20, 1920 at Kajuna Village in Buwunga Sub-county, Masaka District. He attended Kako Primary School (1928-1934), before joining Mengo Central School (1935-1939), after which he did teacher education at Bishop Tucker College, Mukono (1939-1941). He began his teaching career at Lubiri Primary School in 1942 and taught for 38 years in different schools until he retired in 1980 while head teacher of Kyebongotoko Primary School in Sembabule District.

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