Accident did not deter Kajumba’s education dream

Specioza Kajumba being wheeled into the hospital while [right[ she is seen on her graduation day in 2024. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Second chance. A week to her final exams, Specioza Kajumba was on her way back to the hostel when the boda boda she was riding on crashed into another.
  • Kajumba, a student of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University suffered a broken femur.
  • She was hospitalised  for eight months and had to await the next chance to re-sit her exams. Last week she graduated from Makerere University and tells her story to Priscilla Maloba.

Specioza Kajumba, a resident of Kampala District, is one of the thousands of students  who graduated from Makerere University last week. 

The 24-year-old joined Makerere University in 2018 to pursue a degree in Journalism and Communication something she says she has been passionate about all her life.

“Journalism was my passion, since secondary school. All I dreamt of was becoming a journalist working with CNN. I loved the confidence that journalists exuded, especially those who used to report news from war zones. I hoped their stories could change someone’s life,” Kajumba reveals.

However, in what was supposed to be her final semester and a week to her final exams on August 8, 2022, Kajumba was involved in a road accident in Bukoto, Kampala. She was travelling from home back to her hostel in Kikoni, Makerere. 

“I was on a Safe boda, unfortunately, my rider collided with another cyclist.  Both had been speeding,” Kajumba recounts.

She added: “I broke my femur bone and was hospitalised for two weeks and discharged after surgery and had to walk with the aid of crutches for  eight months.”

If you fracture your femur, you usually need open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) to bring your bones back into place and help them heal. During an open reduction, orthopedic surgeons reposition your bone pieces during surgery, so that they are back in their proper alignment.

Kajumba reveals that after the accident, she walked with the aid of two crutches  because her body could not bear the weight for four months. As she progressed, she used one crutch for more four months. She was undergoing physiotherapy for the eight months ,which helped her greatly in the recovery process. 

Dr Ivan Lukanda, a lecturer at the department of Journalism and Communication and her former lecturer, reveals that it was painful for them as a department to know that Kajumba had been involved in an accident and couldn’t sit her final semester examinations.

“Kajumba was the class leader for the four years from 2018 to 2023. She was popular among students and lecturers. So, when she got an accident in the final semester, everyone was concerned. There was a gap,” Dr Lukanda says.

He adds: “She was in pain, in hospital. Although she had done almost all the courseworks, she could not sit for exams because she was confined to allow her bones to respond to the treatment.”

Missed exams
Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University vice chancellor, when asked on what happens to students who get challenges mid semester and miss examinations, he said, “The students do not repeat, but they can sit the papers at the next session without being penalised.”

Kajumba says she missed her final year examinations and could not graduate in 2023 because she was in so much pain at the time and could not handle the pressure of the movements involved during exams.

“It was devastating, seeing my friends graduate without me. It was painful to feel like what I had worked for, for a long time had gone down the drain in a split second. But, I kept in touch with my old friends and a handful others who always came by to check on me,” she says of the time out of school. 

Much as she got the encouragement, she wondered how she would resume to write her exams.
“I knew my time would come, so I had to focus on getting better,” Kajumba says.

As the coordinator of Year Four students, after he received reports about her health, Dr Lukanda occasionally talked to her to assure her that her life mattered to them as a department.

“She cried about not being able to graduate in time, but I assured her about sitting the exams with the class below hers after healing. Some staff contributed money towards her treatment. Everyone was happy to see the smiling class leader walking again. We are happy that she graduated,” the lecturer says.

When she felt much better after eight months.
 “I didn’t lose hope because I prayed to God to keep me forward-looking and more optimistic. So, time came and I resumed school to do my final year examinations in 2023,” she recalls with a twinkle in her eye.

Specioza Kajumba while recovering from the accident. PHOTO/COURTESY

Going back to university after the accident, Kajumba says made her feel like a student in a new school. Anxious and nervous about what school would be like.

“Gladly, my course mates were great people who created a conducive learning environment. They did not treat me any differently even when I used to walk with the aid of a crutch. I made new friends and school was fun. They informed me about any assignments and always kept me up to date with the goings-on. Even when I missed class,” Kajumba shares.
Kajumba says from the accident, she learnt to pray more and thank God everyday even when things do not work in her favour.

“It also reminded me of how precious life is. We often times take life for granted, but in a blink of an eye you could breathe your last. Being in the hospital and seeing people fighting for their lives also taught me to care of others and pray always especially for those suffering in hospitals,” Kajumba remarks.
The communications, public relations enthusiast has worked with several non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“I am also passionate about working with children, it gives me hope nurturing young people and paving their paths towards greatness. I would love to work with more brilliant minds especially change makers,” Kajumba says. Adding: “I am currently working with ASDAQ Africa tours and travel. I will continue to work with them and further grow  my career and I also have plans to do Masters  next year.”

Others say

Bernadette Bainomugisha, friend: Describes Kajumba as an intelligent, diligent and ambitious woman.

“She adds beauty to everything she touches. She is able to perform tasks with exceptional quality and pay attention to detail.”

Olive Kabaliisa, sister:

“Kajumba is intelligent, patient and ambitious. She is too tough to have gone through a lot but still managed to come through it on top. She is truly a gem. She puts others before herself, a trait we all need.” 

She adds: “Kajumba is Godfearing and I believe that is what gives her the strength to always win in everything she does. She loves her family and friends and we all take it as a true blessing.”