Budding TV journalist dies hours after giving birth

Monday May 17 2021

This screen-grab from Kampala based NBS television shows deceased Sheila Nakabuye during a live broadcast on an unspecified date during Uganda's 2020-21 electoral season. PHOTO/FILE

By Zadock Amanyisa
By Rajab Mukombozi
By Felix Ainebyoona

The media fraternity in Uganda is mourning a budding television reporter who died on Monday, hours after giving birth.

Sheila Nakabuye, 32, was pronounced dead by doctors at Mbarara Regional Referral hospital at around 8am.

According to friends and family members, the NBS TV's south western Uganda bureau chief gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday through a C-section at Cedus Clinic in Rwebikoona Mbarara where she had been admitted.

However, she got seizures and went into a coma forcing her family members to transfer her to Mbarara regional referral hospital at around 11am on Sunday.

One of Nakabuye’s co-worker, Mr Ambrose Muhumuza said after the operation at the clinic, Nakabuye on Sunday morning took some snacks and yogurt but later started vomiting before she went into coma and was transferred to the regional referral hospital.

At the referral hospital, Nakabuye was admitted in ICU.


 “Very unfortunate! The lady was operated on at Cedus clinic somewhere in Rwebikoona and the health workers realized that she was dying. She was rushed to referral almost dead. Died a few hours after arrival. Cause of death is brain aneurysm; swelling of brain vessels,” said Dr Celestine Barigye, Mbarara regional referral hospital director.

Born in Butambala District, Nakabuye had a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass communication from Uganda Pentecostal University, Fort portal.

Nakabuye’s experience with radio broadcast started in senior six vacation, when she worked hard to raise her university tuition.

Thereafter, she had a short stint in television reporting at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation in 2016 having worked as a news anchor and reporter at Crooze radio in Mbarara City. In the same year (2016), she joined NBS TV as she also anchored news at a local BFM radio station. However, she later returned to Mbarara to work as a full time reporter before she was appointed south western Uganda bureau chief for NBS TV.

By the time of her death, Nakabuye’s close associates say she had transformed into a dependable, resilient, and passionate journalist, whose work and professionalism leaves a void in the entire western and south western Uganda region.

With interest in covering special interest groups, especially women and girls, Nakabuye always worked towards improving local communities.

During the recently concluded elections, the then expectant mother worked hard through dark nights in the hills of western and southwestern Uganda as she combed for stories for her employer.

Mr Apollo Lee Kakonge, the executive director, Western Ankole Civil Society described Nakabuye as instrumental in advancing issues of social justice.

“Sheila has been instrumental in the advancement of social justice and democratic values through her journalistic work. She will be missed by all of us,” he said

The Bushenyi-Ishaka municipality MP, Mr Gordon Arinda eulogizing Nakabuye as a balanced reporter before adding that it was a sad day in Bushenyi following her death.

“This is an extremely sad day to the media fraternity and to all of us. Sheila fulfilled all the tenets of a journalist. She was objective and measured up to the task. With certainty, we will miss you, Sheila,” he said.

The Mbarara Catholic Journalists Association chairperson, Mr Felix Ainebyoona says they lost a focused and intelligent journalist.

“Nakabuye is this person that always remained focused and wouldn’t easily give in to any job-related threats during her time. It is unfortunate that we have lost a person of her character,” Mr Ainebyoona eulogized

One of NBS TV news anchors, Mr Samson Kasumba described Nakabuye as an amazing human being and passionate reporter.

“You loved your job and we often shared a light moment when you were live for your cross-overs. I hate that maternal mortality has claimed such a great talent. You have been let down by health care,” he Mr Kasumba tweeted.

She has been praised by many for breaking boundaries and stereotypes to become a fearless journalist whose dreams carried her to places to make a contribution.

Nakabuye's twitter handle indicates that she last posted yesterday (May 16) at 10.36am reacting to an NBS story about an Israeli airstrike which destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of Al-Jazeera, Associated Press, and other offices and residential apartments.

"Killing with impunity shouldn't be allowed by the international community," she tweeted.