STUDENT GETS FIRST CLASS DEGREE AFTER BEING OUT OF SCHOOL FOR 12 YEARS
By Kisekka Umar
Kezimbira is a classic case of unlimited hope. Kezimbira obtained a Uganda Certificate of Education (UACE) in 2007, scoring 20 points, but fell short on university tuition. He was shortlisted to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Procurement and Logistics Management at Kyambogo University in 2008 but failed to join the institution. Despite the odds, Kezimbira’s academic hopes were not dashed. After about five years of waiting, Kezimbira made an attempt to join Kampala International University (KIU) in 2013, but all in vain. This, too, did not dampen his academic dream.
“I scored 20 points in my form six but failed to join any University because I had no money to pay for my tuition,” Kezimbira said, “I approached everyone I thought would sponsor my education, but I was not successful.”
As such, he immediately thought of a business idea that brought in some profit to enable his enrollment in the university in 2013. Unfortunately, this too was short-lived as he had to drop out after only one semester for he had run out of money to further facilitate his education.
“It was at this time when I thought that I needed to get serious with myself if I needed to get a degree,” says Kezimbira.
Consequently, Kezimbira started a bakery for snacks, chapatti, and mandazi to raise tuition. By 2016, Kezimbira had made enough money from his bakery business and was able to employ a few young people to help him grow his enterprise.
“After nine years out of school, I felt bad seeing my age mates graduating and growing, and it was not easy for me. Within myself, I said God; I will have to secure a university admission; come rain or sunshine, and one day I will also have a degree,” he says.
In April 2016, Kezimbira was admitted again at Kampala International University (KIU) to pursue a degree in Public Administration, and fortunately, the 20th graduation ceremony of KIU in June 2019 became a momentous occasion for him; a turning point in the life of a person, who soldiered on where many would have lost hope. He is among the 2,405 graduands who have attained academic awards in different fields at KIU. Kezimbira, a student who had been out of school for nine years before enrolling at KIU, emerged the best graduating student in the entire university, having attained a CGPA of 4.79. A first-class student with a first-class degree!
Life at University
“I have been coming to university loaded with snacks in my bag and supplying them to the university canteens,” recalls the smiling Kezimbira.
According to him, this helped him raise money, which pushed him through his three years in the university. Apart from his business, his volunteer work with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), an international organisation advocating for peace, kept him motivated throughout the course. During his service there, he was appointed as the President for World Collegiate Association for Research of Principles (WCARP) Uganda. One of his primary duties was to open and organize chapters of the association in different universities like Kyambogo and KIU. Kezimbira also taught university students how to solve world problems and leadership skills.
“Interacting with young people was bit challenging; one thing that kept me going was that I had a goal and believed that nothing can defeat a determined soul,” he recalls.
Kezimbira says that the most significant challenge he has ever faced is financial constraints, a problem that became greater when he married.
“I had to take care of my family, pay tuition, transport from Busabala to Kansanga daily,” he narrates.
He plans to enrol for a Master’s degree, despite the challenges he
Polish your talent with education
Kezimbira advises talented young people always to polish their abilities with education. He says however much he felt that he had a knack of leadership, he forewent politics in 2016 and instead sought education.
“You may have the talent, but you need education and knowledge because, without it, you cannot promote yourself,” he urges.
He also advises young people to prioritise goal setting and have a clear vision.
What others say:
Mushabe Thomas, a student, says he met Kezimbira in 2017 under the WCARP-KIU association, where he (Mushabe) also became a member after listening to Kezimbira’s encouraging speeches.
“He has always encouraged us to be good leaders who are exemplary and I remember him telling us that: ‘a heart is a source of value because the same way you feel when hurt is the same way others feel when you hurt them.’ This stuck into my mind till date,” says Mushabe.
Namirembe Kezia Mariam, the incumbent President WCARP-KIU Chapter, says: “He has been our fellow student, but I took him as a father because of the way he keeps inspiring us.”