I have seen three Buganda kings, and I am so grateful to God for the long, healthy life,” Mzee Salongo Yosamu Lukwago says as he narrates his life journey.
He has lived to see Ssekabaka Daudi Chwa, Ssekabaka Edward Mutesa II and Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
On January 10, 2020, Mzee Lukwago a resident of Bulayi Village, Mukungwe Sub-county, Masaka District, marked 100 years.
He celebrated the milestone with a big thanksgiving ceremony presided over by retired Bishop of West Buganda Diocese Samuel Kefa Kamya Ssemakula.
The event was also attended by the Rev Can Elizabeth Katumba, the wife of West Buganda Diocese Bishop Henry Tamale Katumba.
Despite his advanced age, Mzee Lukwago remains a jolly man and dresses immaculately in suits and walks briskly on the streets of Masaka Town, making stops to greet or share jokes with friends.
The centenarian, who is believed to be the oldest teacher in Masaka Sub-region, attributes his long life to his personal principle of being contented.
“And when I say being contented I mean it. I have always been contented with my wife for example. I don’t believe in multiple sex partners. People shouldn’t aspire to become very rich, just be happy with what you have,” he advises.
Mzee Lukwago’s other aspect of life is the fear of God. “This means I don’t drink alcohol or smoke. There are many diseases associated with smoking and alcohol. I have avoided those all my life,” he reveals.
The retired educationalist also does a lot of physical activities. He is able to walk energetically, read without the aid of glasses, his hearing is perfect, and he has never lost even a single tooth.
While many people of his age are senile, Mzee Lukwago has a very sound mind and good memory.
“I enjoy walking and it is the reason I walk the three kilometres to church which is a journey I make several times not only going there for prayers on Sunday but to engage in other forms of work. And you will often see me walking on the street in Masaka Town,” he says.
The 100-year-old says he seldom falls sick and that the only time he was hospitalised was when his prostate was removed.
“Prostate enlargement is not really a disease, but rather a condition that usually takes place among ageing men. To live a long life one should as much as possible keep busy reading, and writing apart from physical work. Keep the brain busy and sober. I will soon be writing a small book about what has enabled me to live so long,” he reveals.
Mzee Lukwago takes pleasure in physical work as he spends time working in his coffee garden besides supervising the men taking care of his cows.
He has some five cross-breed Friesian cows under zero-grazing and about three acres of coffee plantation.
When not engaged in physical work, Mzee Lukwago is either reading or writing a book.
He has so far written and published two books in Luganda, Okwagala kwa Katonda eri Abantu be, and Ebyafaayo bya West Buganda Diocese.
His advises young teachers to always read widely and prepare for their lessons before going to class.
“Teaching is only enjoyable when the teacher makes sufficient preparation and is confident about what he or she is teaching,” he explains.
On February 10, the Rotary Club of Mengo honoured Mzee Lukwago with a vocational award for exemplary holistic teaching, having served as head teacher for 70 years.
The award was presented to him at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala, the same day the outgoing Archbishop Stanley Ntagali received a similar award for the Rotary club.
Mzee Lukwago is grateful to the Rotary Club of Mengo for recognising and celebrating with him the gift of a long- healthy life.
His education journey
“I had my secondary school education at Mengo between 1935 and 1939 before joining Bishop Tucker Teacher Training College Mukono in 1940. It gives me a sense of pride to realize that the Rotary Club of Mengo actually recognizes my humble contribution to the nation as a teacher.”
Mzee Lukwago taught English and arithmetic to infant classes. He was head teacher most of his teaching career.
He began teaching in 1942 and officially retired in 1980 while serving as head teacher of Kyebongotoko Primary School in Sembabule District. However, he insists he is still a teacher at the age of 100 years.
“I still teach through the books I have written and the counseling that I give fellow Christians in West Buganda Diocese where I have served as leader of the laity and as chairperson of Fathers’ Union,” he says.
To the married couples, Mzee Lukwago says: “The key point for every married person to understand is that he or she has to be contented with the partner that he or she has got. It is always wrong to believe that the grass in the next field is greener. Just be contented with the individual that you have married because every other person that you think is better than your current partner has issues that you will not like. All human beings have imperfections.”
- He doesn’t drink alcohol neither smoke cigarette.
- Wakes up at 8am and retire at s8pm.
- Drinks black tea, occasionally takes milk.
- Enjoys eating cassava, potatoes, green vegetables and fish for both lunch and supper. Once in a while he also eats matooke.
- Walks three kilometres a day to keep fit.
- Keeps busy reading and writing.