What you need to know:
- Speaker after speaker lauded Hajj Bruhane Mugerwa for his guidance, vision , persistence and achievements following his retirement as Kawempe Muslim Secondary School headteacher. Hajji Mugerwa was appointed the school head in 2003.
Hajji Bruhane Mugerwa Lukwago has been a teacher for about 30 years. He may have retired but his legacy lingers on and will be remembered for the several building blocks and contributions he has made in grooming and nurturing leaders and students especially those at Kawempe Muslim Secondary School.
From a humble beginning, he has been exceptional to his staff, the students and colleagues at the Uganda Muslim Teachers Association.
Born on October10, 1963, to Hajji Isah Lukwago and the late Aziizah Namaganda in Kiryassaaka, present day Bukomansimbi District, Hajji Mugerwa started school at Kiryassaaka Primary School in Bukomansimbi. He then moved to Kampala Parents School but sat his Primary Leaving Examinations at Kibuli Demonstration School, joined Kings College Buddo for his Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) and Kibuli SS for his Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE).
He was subsequently admitted to Makerere University on national merit scholarship to pursue the Bachelor of Arts in Education (History and Islamic Religious Studies), graduating in 1988.
He was immediately recruited as a graduate teacher at Gombe SS and while there, he was appointed as a class teacher, head of department and later as a student’s warden.
At the age of 25, he was appointed the acting deputy head teacher at the time when the school had a student’s population of about 1,000.He saved at the school up to 1990 and then joined Jawaharlal Nehru University in India for his masters of arts degree between 1991 to 1993. While advancing his career Hajji Mugerwa met Hajji Ibrahim Matovu, a former head teacher at Kawempe Muslim SS (1988 to 2002).
When Hajji Mugerwa completed his studies, Hajji Matovu went to the latter’s father and requested that the young man join the team at KMSS for a meantime as he looks for his dream job. When he reported to the school, he was immediately appointed the director of studies.
He rose through the ranks and became deputy head teacher in 1997 but retained his docket as the director of studies until his appointment and posting to Kibibi SS three years later.
He served as the head teacher at Kibibi SS for two years where he made significant transformations in terms of infrastructure and increased student’s population. In 2003, he was posted back to KMSS as head teacher.
Mentorship and leadership skills
Mr Faizal Bagegulira, one of the staff members at Kawempe Muslim Secondary School describes Hajji Mugerwa as a positive deviance who has changed the narrative of the school.
By the time Hajji Mugerwa joined the school, there were a limited number of slots for girl- child education especially in the boarding section but the girl’s population increased.
“He was not the strongest, did not have a lot of money but by the time he left the school, it was at its peak. He indeed took the school higher. He has supported holistic girl- child education, inclusivity and kept all the teachers motivated irrespective of their religion,” Mr Bagegulira says.
He adds that Hajji Mugerwa led the school with a vision and with his guidance, the staff has grown both in numbers and in terms of qualifications by pursuing masters and doctoral degrees as well as other professional courses that have contributed to making them better in the way work is done.
“We are content that the long time he has spent here is justifiable and we have gone higher as a school because of his efforts. He has been a head teacher who does not focus on the weakness of his staff but rather their strengths. This gave the teachers enough time to reflect especially on the times they go astray,” Balyegulira remarks.
“He never prioritised school business over his staff. He got involved and knew our professional and personal struggles. He did not lead a school that grows while leaving its staff behind. Because of him, we started a SACCO that is very vibrant.”
Hajjat Zulaika Kibirige, the incoming head teacher at KMSS remarks that Hajji Mugerwa’s journey has been one of hard work, persistence and countless achievements. She remarks that his duty may have ended at the school but his legacy lingers on.
“I thank him for helping me identify my talent and working hard to help me pursue it. All the opportunities he gave me to advance my career have shaped my professional life. Beyond the leadership skills, he has mentored me,” she says.
For the two years he spent at Kibibi SS Hajj Mugerwa is credited for increasing the student population from 300 to 1,100. He found a dejected staff and a laid back students’ attitude but he introduced strategies that spurred academic excellence at the school and shot it to national fame record performances.
He also spearheaded the rise of KMSS to national prominence, where it produced the first law student, now a high court Judge Farook Lubega Kaddunabbi. He also managed the process of introducing sciences at UACE level and introduced Islamic theology at the school in 2017.
Besides the improved infrastructure, Hajj Mugerwa also increased the student population from 1,300 in 2003 to 2,300 in 2023 and staffing from 120 to 200.
Prof Umar Kavuma, the deputy vice chancellor, academic affairs Makerere University celebrates him as a community advocate who puts Ummah and the country first.
He says, “As the chairman of Uganda Muslim Teachers Association (UMTA), Hajj Mugerwa led the association for close to 13 years during which he preached unity among Muslim head teachers and teachers, upheld the UMTA joint mocks, organised and led colleagues for national and regional trips.”
He also strengthened relationships with other Muslim communities and through his efforts he was able to acquire two pieces of land one of which will house the National Muslim Teachers Resource Centre.
A test of resilience
“Many parents did not want to experiment with their children (when Hajji Mugerwa was appointed KMSS head) so they withdrew them. He leveraged on his simplicity and amiable character in forging relationships with the staff and community, handled the students’ psychology and succeeded in penetrating the hearts and emotions,” Prof Kavuma recalls.
Leaving a lasting legacy
Zayn Ssemambo, a senior two student at the school reflects upon him as one who always showed interest about their concerns and always kept his word.
She says, “When I joined secondary school last year, he made being in secondary a good experience and took away the worries of being bullied and starting a new level of education. He would check on us all the time. It is unfortunate he is retiring but I am glad I met him at a time when I needed him.”
Khanisa Bruhane Namuli, a senior six student (Science class) joined the school in 2017 remarks that Hajj Mugerwa put humanity first in everything he did.
“I am glad to have met him since the time I joined senior one. He is a very low key person and cared to know about everyone. He gave a helping hand whenever he was approached. He dared to listen to everyone no matter your faith, background or level of education,”Namuli recalls.