2nd November 2006
The caning and footballing Kibuli Secondary School
By Jackie Nalubwama

In 1978, at 36 years old, Abbasi Kaawaase Mukasa took over as headmaster of Kibuli Secondary School. Unknown to him, he was going to serve the school for 24 years to come, until his retirement in 2002.

“When I was transferred from Kololo High School to Kibuli, it was already an old school,” said Kaawaase, now an old man.
“It was started in 1959 as a secondary school by a combination of members of the Uganda Muslim Education Association (UMEA, which was then in charge of Muslim education),” explained Kaawaase.

According to Prince Lukanga Khalifan Kakungulu, his father the late Prince Badru Kakungulu donated 80 acres of Kibuli Hill to Muslims so that they too could excel in education.

The main hall

Kibuli’s cane

“My first challenge was how to improve the results of the school. How do I measure it up to the standards of other schools?

“I discovered the main problem was lack of discipline.”
So he set out to straighten out the students with a system, which embraced both students and staff problems.

“A good headmaster must look into students’ problems, teachers and workers. Even if you fail to solve the problems, they’ll appreciate you were with them,” he says.

But that did not mean the good old headmaster was a stranger to the cane, because Kibuli was known for caning. In fact, at one time the caning became the strongest Kibuli tradition during Kaawaase’s reign. Naughty students – even in HSC – received a lashing and, according to OBs, it wasn’t strange for one student to receive 150 canes.

“You would agree with the teacher on a timetable – how you will receive them. You could pick 20 on a Monday, 50 on Tuesday, another 20 on Thursday… until you were done,” one OB said.
The only exemption was royalty, according to Carolyne Nakazibwe, who was in Kibuli from 1993 – 1995.

In the shoddy slum stands the school’s signpost

“I was in the same class as Prince Khalifan and I remember on several occasions Mr. Kinene (the then economics teacher) tried to cane him with the rest of the class for one thing or another. But Khalifan always refused to be touched by a cane and would simply walk out of the classroom,” she said.

“I had never believed that one would part with the cane,” said Kaawaase, “Time came when I stopped using the cane, when boys and girls understood the system.”

He said he preferred caning because it wasn’t time-wasting, like slashing and cleaning the bathrooms.
Kaawaase is also responsible for having put Kibuli on the sports map. “When I was training as a teacher from Kibuli Primary Teachers’ College, the value of sports in a student’s curriculum was emphasised,” he said.

Indeed sports and Kaawaase are almost inseparable. In his office at Peacock Paints on Sixth Street, Industrial Area, a football rests in a corner on his desk.

Being a mixed school, he also supported netball for the girls and they became indomitable in the discipline.
“Co-curricular activities help students relax from books. By the time they go back to books, the brains are ready.”

Kaawaase’s legacy

When The Weekly Observer scouted for old students to tell their story of Kibuli, praises and affection for former headmaster Kaawaase were underlying. Hajji Ibrahim Lule was a student at the school from 1979 to 1986.

“I liked the school because of the handling of the headmaster, who was a parent and a teacher,” said Lule, now headmaster at Kololo High School. “Being admitted [to] Kibuli was pride, not technical-know-who,” Lule said.

He remembered Kibuli as a school that gave students autonomy - referring to prefects. “Once you were a prefect, you could exercise the administration skills under the guidance of [Mr. Kaawaase].”

And for Kaawaase’s Kibuli, this autonomy included caning. Yes, a prefect could pull a whip on fellow students at Kibuli. And disobeying a prefect could cause your suspension.

Abbasi Kaawaase Mukasa, Former headmaster (1978 - 2002)

Former student Edris Kiggundu, who is now a reporter at The Weekly Observer, remembers an incident when the Director of Studies, Bashungwa once locked a student – Sekiziyivu - in his office for caning. The boy instead turned on the teacher and beat him up to the point of hospitalisation. “The student (Sekiziyuvu) had to expel himself immediately,” says Kiggundu.
At Kibuli, Lule belonged to Africa House, for which he played football.

Lule was a prefect, but because he was a school sheik, he said he didn’t cane. “I didn’t cane, I negotiated [with students],” he says.

Having been a student, Lule said he would have hated caning but it was accompanied by explanation, which students appreciated.
“The caning is one of the things I never understood about Kibuli. I joined for A-level from Mengo S.S. where caning was rare. I had received my last cane as a P6 pupil at Buganda Road. And in my first term at Kibuli, I got caned. The shock!” Nakazibwe recalls.

“I remember in our S5, the head boy Wasswa Hashim was elected from our class. One day he came to class wielding a cane after assembly and found us making noise. He told the whole class to kneel down. We laughed, thinking our classmate was definitely joking, but he started beating up people and we scrambled to our knees!” she adds.

But for Abbey Bakayana, a student from 1994 to 2000, the good memories overpower the bad ones. “In football we were stars,” said Bakayana, “We kept on winning the post primary championships.”

He recalls that during the finals, having defeated Kawempe Muslim, St. Leo’s Kyegobe and Old Kampala, Kibuli’s teams - Juventus and Flamingo - would play against each other. As a result, many players in top clubs and the national team were also Kibuli OBs.

Bakayana also recalls that the sports gala was fun and his house, Aga Khan, used to win a lot. Besides Africa and Aga Khan, Luwangula and Kakungulu were the other houses.

Bakayana also recalls the time students complained about the food and Kaawaase told them Kibuli was not a hotel and if they wanted hotel food they should wait for the holidays. “[We ate] Posho with boiled beans where you could even see your own reflection,” said Bakayana, rather dramatically.

Lule went back to his former school in 1988 as a teacher of Islamic Religious Studies. As a young teacher, he says Kaawaase respected him.

“He never called me by my name. He would use ‘Mr.’,” said Lule.
According to Kiggundu, Kaawaase personally took long to punish. During his time at the school, it was the teachers who used to cane.

Bakayana especially remembers Lydia Wanyoto Mutende (now East African Legislator) as one of the teachers who loved the cane.
“Wanyoto was a strict [literature] teacher, who would organise ‘raids’ on students,” said Bakayana.

These ‘raids’ happened when teachers went checking for radios and other illegal property students sneaked into school.
As Kaawaase grew older, he delegated running the school to his deputies and staff.

“Kaawaase was a good headmaster who didn’t have that policy of ‘teachers are always correct,” said Bakayana.
Bakayana also says that Mohammed Kinene, the then deputy headmaster, would run the school as Kaawaase was away most of the time.

Just before he retired, Kaawaase made Lule, his former student, a deputy headmaster. Lule says that being deputy was hard because he became leader of his former teachers. What helped him though was Kaawaase’s guidance.

Kaawaase is proud of the institutional framework he established at the school. “Many times I would travel abroad but the system stayed compact,” he says.

Kibuli tradition

An old boy who was at the school from 1989 to 1995, but preferred anonymity, was laughing hard as he remembered his days at the school. “I remember the millet porridge on the basketball courts.

I don’t know why we preferred having the porridge in buckets while squatting on the courts, but it was a daily ritual for the boys after prep.”

He says sometimes the boys would sneak into a banana plantation behind the girls’ dormitory and watch the unsuspecting girls change into their pyjamas.

The basketball courts which separate the girls’ dormitories from the boys’, was also the venue for ‘parking’ students, as high school relationships were called.

“After prep, we would stealthily escort our girlfriends up to the basketball courts, because parking was illegal,” he said.
Nakazibwe remembers the Islamic prayers before the final exams, when all candidates – Christians and Muslims alike – donned the hijab and went to the school mosque for a final blessing.

“That was my first and only time in a mosque,” she said. However, on regular Sundays, Christian students were allowed to hold prayers in classrooms that doubled as chapels on.
For Bakayana, who now works with Ernst and Young, the Saturday movies that were very recent, and dances that were commonly known as ‘vigour’, are some of the things to remember about Kibuli.

Kiggundu who was at the school from 1995-1999 agrees that the movies were good. “The school had the best entertainment of all the schools I have gone through,” Kiggundu says.

He added: “I don’t remember a time Cineplex ever showed a movie that we hadn’t already watched.” Kiggundu also said that Kaawaase used to hire Soul Disco for the trans-day dancing that took place three times a term.

He remembers students bringing sheets and blankets to cover the main hall windows so that the day-disco would resemble a night disco.

Kiggundu also says that after prep, the boys often enjoyed what they called ‘before-bed’ which mean small buckets full of porridge.

“We would sit on the basketball court and talk,” says Kiggundu, explaining that the cherished talk was mainly gossip about teachers, girls and nosy prefects. “We would also plan attacks on prefects with ‘lugezigezi’,” Kiggundu recalls.

Being a town school, Kibuli often had students escaping to the nearby slums or Angenoir Discotheque at night. ‘Asumbi’ was what students called the slum nearest the school.

“After the movie, or after prep (9.30 p.m.), we would escape to Asumbi,” said Kiggundu. He explains that escaping was quite a perilous affair. “If you escaped and there was a roll call, you would be suspended.”

But still, the boys especially, escaped. “There was this ‘crew’ that was always escaping to Angenoir and on vigour day, they would go upstairs in the main hall and step onto a dais there in smashing, uniform clothes. They would then display the latest dance strokes they found in Angenoir and the rest of us would copy. By the end of the trans-day, everyone would know the stroke,” Nakazibwe said.

Most OBs also talk fondly of the once-a-month day out for A-level students, when students spent the day off the school campus.

And who can forget Riviera days, when the girls’ matron, Monica Kisalare (now head mistress of Gayaza High School), would allow a few girls to watch the popular soap in her house and they would then spend about two hours narrating to the rest of the girls waiting in the dormitory.

Kibuli today

Kibuli today is under the leadership of Ibrahim Matovu who has been headmaster since 2004. He declined an interview.
Many of the traditions are no more. On a good note, the caning was banned. But the weekend flicks and regular dances were scrapped and the school is operating under something comparable to sharia law.

Female visitors in trousers are turned away at the gate; the old uniform of grey skirts/trousers and white shirts for O-level, and navy blue skirts/trousers and white shirts for A-level, have been modified by Matovu – an old boy – to make the skirts long and include a compulsory white veil for the girls.

Also, where parents visited every Sunday, it is now limited to once a term.

Last but not least, we visit St. Henry’s College Kitovu

Prominent Old Students

Abbey Kafumbe Mukasa (RIP)
Kaddunabi Lubega
Sarah Kanyike Sebaggala
Isa Kikungwe
John Ssebaana Kizito
Tim Lwanga
Badru Mukalazi Kabega
Nabila Naggayi Sempala

Civil servants
Latif Semukaya
Jamil Buwembo
Ashe Ssali Mayanja
Irene Mbabazi Kabaziguruka
Badru Kabega
Katamba Mohammed


Aisha Ssengendo Lubega
Ibrahim Lule
Ali Seruyange
Ibrahim Matovu
Mohammed Kinene
Ahmed Nsubuga
Bruhan Mugerwa
Farouk Mubiru
Badru Sentongo
Mustapha Ssebaggala

Nasser Mayanja Lumweno
Yusuf Nsibambi
Mohammed Mbabazi
Said Yiga


Robert Aloro
Muhammed Kateregga
Andrew Arinaitwe
Sulaiman Tenywa
Sam Simbwa
Geofrey Majwega
David Kyagulanyi
Mike Mutebi
Muhammed Segonga
Livingstone Mbabazi
Robert Ojok
Ahmed Senyange
Ali Semyalo
Joachim Matovu
Ignatius Begumanya
Mohammed Semakula
Fred Kakule
Sauda Babirye
Flavia Angwech
Phillip Obwiny
Mujib Kasule
Davis Odowa
Fatuma Masagazi
Fatuma Nakato
Annet Auma
Winnie Auma
Peter Nsaba
Tony Lumu
Derrick Muyanja
Allan Tingu
Edward Lyazzi
Allan Papok
George Senteza
Moses Lassu (RIP)

Media practitioners
Charles Sebugwawo
Edris Kiggundu
Carolyne Nakazibwe
Ahmed Hussein Semakula


Prince Khalifan Kakungulu
Jaberi Katongole Ddungu
Henry Njuba
Nasser Mbaziira
Steve Jean Serunkuma
Sarah Luzige Kasozi
Faizal Bagegulira Katongole
Faizal Kikulukunyu
Dr. Umar Bagampadde
Dr. Amina Nakawuka
Dr. Zubair Muyanja
Dr. Achilles Katamba
Dr. Ahmed Luwaga
Hassan Saleh
Edris Kakonge
Moses Mirundi
Janat Kalinaki
Joweria Kalinaki
Wasswa Hashim
Brig. Kasirye Gwanga
Fatuma Mbogo
Hamid Kamyuka
Leonard Mpuuma
Patrick Mpiima
Mohamood Sewanyana
Brig. Henry Tumukunde
Jamil Sewanyana
Moses Senyonga Kiwanuka
Hawa Lule
Lwoga Nsiyaleeta