My daughter (in Ateso) and niece (in English) had us in tears of joy during our family celebration of her achievement of a Bachelor of Business Statistics Degree from Makerere University Kampala. All of us felt the power of her gratitude to her mother, Claire Ibalasa and her uncle Adupa. Claire and Adupa are my sister and brother (in Ateso) or cousins (in English) for they are the daughter and the son of the brother of my father, papa Malinga (RIP).
Claire is the epitome of most Ugandan women of substance that I know who work hard to raise, nurture and educate their children with very little or no help from the biological fathers of their children. My brother Adupa stepped in and took over the role that Brenda’s biological father should have played and he did so with a whole and pure heart.
So, while she gave her graduation speech, Brenda knelt in front of her parents and duly thanked them – for according to her without them she would not have the degree and therefore the degree was theirs too. As we ululated and cheered, Brenda took off her mortarboard or square academic cap, if you choose, and placed it on the head of her mother. Then she took of her academic gown and draped it on the shoulders of her uncle-father.
For both my cousins this was the first that they wore academic robes. Whereas, they did receive formal education they did not continue their schooling to tertiary level. Nevertheless, for me, an educated person is one such as Adupa and Claire who holds wisdom to ensure education of their child or another’s child to achieve more and higher schooling than they themselves had.
An educated person is one such as Brenda who utilizes well the gift of schooling that they have been given; and when they achieve they remain humble, respectful and grateful to those who gifted her.