What you need to know:
- Retired to passion. As a teacher he had never dreamt of what his retirement would be like. Tibamalirwa is now authoring books, writes Fred Muzaale.
After 34 years , 74-year-old, Tarsis Tibamalirwa retired from civil service. Indeed many people know Tibamalirwa, a resident of Mubende Municipality in Mubende District as a retiree.
But Tibamalirwa says age is just a number and calling him a retired man does not make sense to him.
Despite his age, he says, he is still active, “more than when he was at work”.
Tibamalirwa worked as a secondary school deputy headteacher at St Joseph’s College, Layibi in Gulu District and Kabalega Secondary School in Masindi District . This was before becoming the deputy principal of Mubende National Teacher’s College in Mubende District.
However, since his retirement in 2008, Tibamalirwa has been engaged in writing books.
“I retired in words but I am still very active and busy writing books. This work keeps me engaged,” Tibamalirwa says.
He so far has three books to his name; Ebitontome ebyokulowoozako, a Luganda poetry text book and Classical Counsels to the Married Fraternity plus Classical Counsel to the Teaching, Learning Fraternity.
Tibamalirwa says he is writing two more books.
“I do not write books to get money but rather to teach others. I have been a teacher and was once a youth, so I want to put my experiences in writing so other people can learn from it,” he says.
But Tibamalirwa says writing books was never on his mind while still in service but, because he was an ardent reader he felt the urge to write .
“Reading books has been my hobby since my youth, so when I retired I thought writing books could keep me busy and active,” Tibamalirwa says.
Although he struggles to get resources to publish his books, he freely gives out copies of his books such as Ebitontome ebyokulowoozako published in 2018. He gave out more than 200 copies to schools and as a devoted Catholic he handed them over to priests.
Preparations for life ahead
Although as a teacher-trainer at Mubende NTC, Tibamalirwa was given a decent and fully furnished house, he was never comfortable staying in that house, well knowing it was not his.
“I bought land in Mubende Town and built a house, where I relocated with my wife,” he says.
“While at Mubende NTC, I knew my time for retirement would one day come and I had to prepare for it early enough,” he adds.
As deputy principal at Mubende NTC he was responsible for drawing an organogram and therein it showed when every member of staff would retire.
He also used his savings to buy land in Mubende District, on which he grows food which he sells to St Paul Junior School, a primary school which he helped to found and build.
“I sell the food I grow such as sweet potatoes, cassava and maize (after milling it into flour) to my school so I am sure of payments,” Tibamalirwa says.
As the school supervisor, he says, he gave himself a “juicy” title of business operations manager and spends some time at the school which has an enrolment of about 850 pupils.
To survive financially, he thrives on his monthly pension, some money from his school, which he says, has helped him to look after his family.
What he regrets
Although he invested in a school, Tibamalirwa regrets that he did not buy enough land.
He says wherever he taught, people came to him informing him of plots of land on sale but he never bought it because he had not yet got a long-term plan.
“If I had bought more land, I would be a rich man because the value of land does not depreciate. I would sell or use it to grow trees or banana plantations,” he says.
Tibamalirwa advises that every worker should start preparing for their retirement the day they get their appointment letter.
“Waiting for old age to catch up and you start preparing for retirement is a big mistake. Evening years are full of problems which affect the psychological, financial and health well-being,” he says.
In 1968, Tibamalirwa completed his O-Level at St. Edward Bukuumi in now Kakumiro District and later joined Kololo SS for A-Level.
In 1972, he joined Makerere University where graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and taught History and Geography.
He is married to Agnes Tibamalirwa with whom he has eight children one of them being, Anthony Ssemuli, former Mubende municipality member of parliament.