It was an inspired measure when the Board of Governors of King’s College, Budo acceded to the recommendation by Rev. Canon Harold Myers Grace, the headmaster, to admit girls to the school in 1933. In the 85 years since the first group of twelve girls entered Budo, among them Hannah Namuli Wamala, the future Mrs. Lule, wife of a Ugandan president, the school has nurtured and graduated thousands of girls.
Very little is known about the post-Budo careers of the vast majority of these “She-Budonians.” Print and digital publications that have made reference to “prominent Budonians” or “notable alumni” have seldom included females on their lists.
That such lists, albeit parochial, omit people like Mrs. Lule, Mrs. Rhoda Nakibuuka Nsibirwa Kalema, Mrs. Evangeline Sarah Nyendwoha Ntiro, Mrs. Janet Kesiime Bigombe Kahirimbanyi, Ms. Jane Nakabiri, Mrs. Flora Bigirwenkya, Lady Damali Sekuma Kisosonkole, Lady Sarah Nalule Tolofaina Kisosonkole, Dr. Robina Mirembe, Mrs. Gladys Nsibirwa Wambuzi, Justice Leatitia Namukasa Kikonyogo, Justice Elizabeth Mpagi-Bahigeine and Mrs. Elvania Namukwaya Zirimu, reflects a very un-Budonian sloppiness.
Like their male colleagues, the majority of Budo girls have gone on to pursue distinguished careers in their chosen fields, either in Uganda or abroad. Many, of course, have devoted large chunks of their lives to being mothers, including putting their careers on hold in order to give the best to their children.
However, there is no verifiable record of their collective achievements and contributions. How do they measure against girls from traditional single-gender schools like Gayaza, Namagunga and Nabbingo?
This is a question that has exercised the minds of some Budo Old Girls for over twenty years. In late 1995, Mrs. Rhoda Kalema, who was at Budo from 1937 to 1947, wrote a letter inviting female Old Budonians to provide their personal and career details that would be compiled in a book and provide analysable data that would settle the question.
An editorial committee was formed, composed of Mrs. Sarah Ntiro, Hon. Rhoda Kalema, Dr. Mary Rwakaikara-Silver, Mrs. Veronica Nyakana, Mrs. Winifred Wagogo, Ms. Freda Nakintu and Ms. Gladys Winyi.
The response was less than desired. A small 28-page booklet titled “King’s College Budo Celebrates 63 Years of Co-Education” was published in 1996. It had only 118 entries, some with very limited information. Another 23 names were listed without any information.
In 2013, the indefatigable Mrs. Kalema revived the effort and invited further submissions from Budo Old Girls. She assembled a committee composed of Ms. Diana Ssewankambo, Ms. Susan Nasuuna Muwanga, Ms. Sarah Namuli Tamale and Mr. Bernard Okello to assist her with the task. The project still is ongoing.
Given today’s easy means of communication, Mrs. Kalema and her team hope that they will hear from all living She-Budonians and from the families or friends of those who have died or are unable to complete the questionnaire. Those who appeared in the 1996 publication will need to update their information.
The required information is simple and should take only a few minutes to complete: (1) Names being used at present; (2) Any other names used at other times; (3) Names used at Budo; (4) Years and House at Budo; (5) Hobbies; (6) Highest qualification attained after Budo; (7) Marital status (if any); (8) Children (if any); (9) Current address, telephone, Fax and Email address; (10) Present occupation; (11) Highest position attained after Budo; (12) Position attained at Budo; (13) Scanned passport size photograph; (14) List of publications; (15) Awards/or recognitions; (16) Any other information. The complete information should be sent to Mrs. Kalema at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharing space and learning with girls was one of the great experiences at Budo. One recalls with fondness and respect some of the girls who were at Budo during my time, among them: Beatrice Amogi; Molly Atim; Kellen Auma; Peropetwa Auma; Mary Bogere; Beatrice Bukirwa; Florence Bukwirwa; Lena Dacunha; Betty Etap Okwir and Florence Droti Jealea.
Others are Margaret Kabasuuna; Peninah Kakira; Marion Kalibala; Irene Kalikwani; Esther Kasangaki; Justine Sarah Kasule; Flavia Katimbo; Susan Kibirige; Lillian Kikira; Sarah Kintu; Jassy Kisakye; Victoria Kishemeza; Kate Kiwala; Elivaida Kobusingye; Eva Konde; Margaret Kyenkya; Nightingale Kyewalyanga; Margaret Kyogire; Harriet Lwanga; Eva Lwere; Margaret Lwere; Abisagi Mambule; Margaret Mawata; Eudia Mihiigo; Florence Mirembe; and Faith Mucokoori.
And the others are Jemimah Mukandanga; Joy Mukanyange; Elizabeth Nanteza Mukasa; Eva Mulira; Rosemary Mukasa Muwanga; Elizabeth Nakalema; Gladys Nakazibwe Kyeyune; Esther Nakityo; Sarah Nalumansi Sennoga; Rose Nalwanga; Elizabeth Beatrice Namirembe; Harriet Mugerwa Namutebi; Lorna Natoolo; Betty Ndyanabo; Sarah Nsibirwa; Caroline Nyankori; Edrone Nyanjura Rwakaikara; Mary Christine Rwakaikara; Julia Semambo Sebutinde; Agnes Sevume; Christina Sevume; Maria Shalita; Jane Ssebadawo; Edinance Tibarimpita; Elizabeth Waibi; Sarah Wairugala; Florence Wekikye; Florence Walusimbi; and Jeninah Zaramba.
I am eager to learn about the journeys and contributions of these unique ladies who took their places alongside the boys with confidence and demonstrated that intellectual ability had nothing to do with the sex chromosomes.
Many She-Budonians have died. Those from my generation who have died include Mary Bogere; Florence Bukwirwa; Margaret Kabasuuna; Victoria Kishemeza; Elivaida Kobusingye; Nightingale Kyewalyanga; Harriet Lwanga; Eva Lwere; Eudia Mihiigo; Jemimah Mukandanga; Elizabeth Nakalema; Rose Nalwanga; Betty Ndyanabo; Edrone Nyanjura Rwakaikara and Sarah Wairugala. They died young, lost to the world forever.
However, fond memories of them and their service to humanity outlive them. Mrs. Kalema’s passion for telling their story honours them and salutes the foresight of the Rev. Grace and those who made Budo the pioneer school for co-education in Uganda.