Bodybuilder needs artificial leg to defy amputation

Thursday July 30 2020

Staying Unfazed. Tamale stands on his only leg

Staying Unfazed. Tamale stands on his only leg at home to show his defiance against disability. PHOTO | ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI 

By ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI

February 28, 2020 begun like any normal Friday. But it ended tragic for Swafaru Tamale. The bodybuilder got engaged in an accident, nearly a kilometre from his home. The boda-boda, on which Tamale was heading to Kampala, failed to control its speed before it was crashed between two taxis from the front and the rear.

“The boda-boda was crashed beyond repair and it’s unbelievable we survived,” Tamale said in an interview at his neighbour’s home in Najjanankumbi.

The boda-boda rider also fractured his leg. After trying several hospitals, amputation was the only logical intervention. March 7, his right leg, fractured twice, was cut off above the knee.

Tamale was a gym instructor at University of Pain, home to three-time Mr Uganda Isaac Mubikirwa. He was also a taxi conductor at Mukono stage but is now stranded in the double jeopardy of joblessness and disability.

Tamale nevertheless believes he cannot just resume his working duties, but also revive his bodybuilding career. All he needs to actualise this is a prosthetic leg, which costs around Shs5m.

A medical document from CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital, dated June 18, shows the prosthetic will cost him Shs4m. But Tamale needs more money to facilitate his stay at the hospital for about two weeks as he learns using the artificial limb.

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Tamale had been guiding bodybuilders, but hit the bodybuilding stage about three years ago. He has competed at the Mr Jinja Championship, Mr Kampala 2019 but his best placing was third place in his lightweight category at the 2019 Mr Uganda Championship.

“People had begun recognising me on stage…but I’ll bounce back when I get the artificial leg. If I can make squats, the basic, training exercise, I can make it,” says the father of two.

Tamale is audacious: he made 10 squats without his wooden crutches. “I sincerely thank the bodybuilding association and individuals for supporting me in these trying times. And I appeal to anyone able to contribute to the Shs5m.”

Joseph Nkoyoyo, the UBBFA general secretary, lauded the athletes’ strong mentality, a major role in his quick recovery.

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