6th July 2006
The kings'college

The core of success ‘Gakyali mabaga’

As a young boy, he used to escape from Budo Junior School to a spot on the hill where the breeze blows and the lake enchantingly mesmerises. From then he vowed to study hard, so that this spellbinding scene would be his to behold everyday.
The boy grew up and joined King's College Budo in 1967, where the enchanting spot is.
And the man he is today admits, "I wanted to join King's College Budo because of that scene on the hill."
George William Semivule was the boy. And Semivule is the headmaster of King's College Budo.

Dr. Martin Aliker with the Nnabagereka of Buganda Sylvia Nagginda at the Centenary celebrations
last weekend

By Jackie Nalubwama

Standing on this hill, I can understand why Semivule was spellbound. The breeze and the view of Lake Victoria have the beauty, which probably filled young Semivule with the confidence to achieve his dream.
Way back in 1906 when Budo was built, it had the onus to give quality education, and to date the school has not deterred from this responsibility.

It has taught generations of families and it is not about to stop any time soon. The old buildings tell a story of a time when education in Uganda was a rare opportunity. They were much smaller for a few students, but as time brought on more, extensions were added.

Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi takes to the floor with wife Esther at the centenary celebrations

The dining hall is one such example of an old building with extensions for a bigger population. A plaque, which hangs directly opposite the entrance to the dining hall reads: “This building was erected in 1908 as a Memorial Workshop to Alexander Mackay. It was built in 1933 as a dining hall with the help of some of the school boys and extended in 1962.”
Right now it is the biggest old building in the school, which was built with sun-dried bricks, explained Semivule.

The school grounds are extensively green, with trees, flowers and a huge carpet of kempt grass. It is partly this environment that bears the evidence of Budo’s great academics, sports and drama.

Prof. Senteza Kajubi, who was in Budo from 1943 to 1947, said that this “great school” honoured him with memories he cherishes. He said he missed being in school with the late Kabaka Edward Muteesa II (who was also in Canada House) by one year; the Kabaka having left Budo in 1942.

“We had activities such as gardening. Each house had a garden and even during the holidays those of us who stayed near the school, would go and tend to our gardens.”

Budo football team - late 1930s

He used to tend to Canada House’s garden, where two of his sons later belonged. Canada House was built in 1906, but was called Turkey until September 1963 when the then Canadian High Commissioner visited Budo.
Semivule however noted that today students are not as attached as the old Budonians were to their gardens. “They prefer hiring labour to taking care of the gardens themselves.” Maybe that is one tradition the school needs to revamp.

Kajubi also remembers the band, because he likes music. “I played a trumpet and I would teach juniors how to play too,” he reminisces.

“I enjoyed singing in the choir, especially during Easter celebrations.” Rather animatedly while waving his hands, the professor described how each house would move round the school at 4.a.m. chanting Easter carols.

He said: “People on the village (Budo) used to say we sang like angels.” Much to Kajubi’s joy, the headmaster said the Easter tradition is still in practice today.

Main school classrooms and Canada House in 1936

Of traditions, Budo has more than the Easter fete.
The most interesting of them all is the Budonian pride phenomenon, which seems to come as second nature to Budonians of all generations.

Kajubi agreed that pride is part of Budonians.
“There are certain things a Budonian stands for, out of principle even if it’s to your loss.”

He added: “Ssebaana Kizito, Aggrey Awori, Beti Kamya, [Justice James] Ogoola… These are Budonians with principle. Their word means everything to them. They don’t waver.”

Bernard Okello, the deputy head prefect of Budo, said that with the examples of successful old students, the students derive encouragement to succeed too.
“I have been here from S.1 [now in S.6] and there are a number of things to learn, especially integrity. And we meet important people who were students like us in Budo. [Justice James] Ogoola, [Justice Julia] Sebutinde and Zaake, who encourage us to be like them.”

Kajubi said that the tradition of achievement has been passed on. “In 1947 I went to Makerere and only 60 people were admitted all over, from East and Central Africa. Eleven came from Budo.”

Prof. Kajubi further said, “The tradition of achievement has been passed on because this year Budo is sending 103 students [on government sponsorship] to Makerere.”

This should not be surprising because, among others, Budo is famous for academic excellence.
“We had the best teachers. Dr. Luyimbazi Zaake, Apollo Kironde taught us English and History. He was our first ambassador to the UN. And the late Prof. [Yusuf Kironde] Lule who taught us Science,” declared Kajubi.

Even to date, Budo boasts of good teachers, who ensure that the tradition of achievement is passed on.

This is one school whose compliments never run out.
According to Pauline Korukundo, the other deputy head prefect, Budo offers a student the opportunity to try out different things, besides academics.
“I like the opportunity it provides, such as games. Hockey and volleyball.”

She also said, “I admire [Prof. Apolo] Nsibambi because he was a prefect and he’s successful.”
Korukundo, however said she didn’t believe the Budonian pride issue exists.

“I don’t think we are proud but people say so. And anyway you just pick it up, maybe from seniors.”
Unlike Korukundo who said she enjoys her time at school, an old girl who was there in the 90s said Budo was not so nice then.

Diana Sewankambo who was in Budo from 1993 to 98, said, “Life was good but a bit stiff because girls were not favoured like boys.”

She explained that the generator was on the boys’ end, so when power would go off, the girls would stay in a black out.

“In my time, the girls were breaking out. And now they are ok.” Indeed Budo was initially for boys, but in the 1930s it became mixed. But even after it became mixed there are some aspects that seem to suggest that boys are the top dogs.

Take for example the fact that girls have only three houses: Gaster, Grace and Sabaganzi. And the boys have seven houses: Nigeria, Canada, South Africa, Ghana, England, Australia and Muteesa.

Budo may have traditions it holds dear but time gets in the way of some. The uniform is an example of a tradition that has been changed over the years.
Prof. Kajubi said, in their times, “Our uniform had a corduroy bottom and white shirts, with white belt that had a red binding. We also had a navy blue blazer.”

“The girls had a white dress and a red belt, which also had a red binding.” But now the Korukundo era wears a grey sweater, black skirt and a white shirt in A-level and a grey skirt with a white shirt in O-level.

The Okello era wears grey shorts and socks, pulled up to the knees, a yellow sweater with a maroon binding round the neck in O-level; while the A-levels wear black trousers, white shirts and black blazers.
Prof. Kajubi said their uniform material (corduroy) is probably too expensive these days.

And Semivule explained that the A-level uniform of today started in 1962, although then it had a red tie.

With a motto that translates to mean “The struggle continues”- “Gakyali mabaga”; Budo’s success is far from over.

And better still, is the fact that the school’s old boys and girls association called The Old Budonian Association, is actively supporting the school’s success.

The clearest evidence of this is the car stickers, which old Budonians put on their vehicles to identify with the school.

Some even went beyond that and went back to literally serve the school. Semivule and Prof. Kajubi are such examples of old boys who went back to serve the school. Prof. Kajubi went back to Budo in 1955 to teach until 1959.

And through the Old Budonian Association, old boys and girls contribute to the school. Currently, construction of a swimming pool and a library complex are underway, courtesy of the school’s old students’ initiative.

Swimming has been one of the sports Budo is good at. However, to speak of Sports in Budo and not talk about Budonian football, hockey, cricket and rugby, is to do the school a disservice. The vast fields of the school offer grounds for these sports to be practised and perfected.

About Universal Secondary Education, the headmaster said it is a good idea but he hopes it will be sustainable. “USE is good because it trains students for professional skills unlike UPE [Universal Primary Education] which gives basic training. So if it doesn’t succeed we won’t have professionals in universities.”

Budo Anthem
Oh maker of this lovely hill
The trees and grasses freshly green
We thank you for this Royal Hill.

As gifts from thine Almighty hand
We love our school our farm our land
But though these gifts enrich and please
We pray to love Thee more than these.

Oh teacher of all truth and right
Who leadest those that seek the light
We entrust them to thy loving grace
And thank Thee for this well beloved school
Prominent Budonians
Sir Fredrick Edward Muteesa II
Omukama Patrick Kaboyo
Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki
Laetitia Kikonyogo
Dr. Edward Kayondo
Andrew Kasirye
Hope Mukasa
Justice James Ogoola
Peter Sematimba
Justice Julia Sebutinde
Sarah Ntiro
Ham Mulira
John Sebaana Kizito
Godfrey Binaisa
Aggrey Awori
Keturah Kamugasa
Beti Turomwe Kamya
Beatrice Among
Prof. Senteza Kajubi
Dr. Fred Kigozi
Prof. Apolo Nsibambi
Dr. Ezra Suruma
Allan Shonubi
Henry Barlow
Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi
Frobisha Kabali-Kaggwa
Rhoda Kalema
Winnie Byanyima
Hannah Lule