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Dr. James Mulwana should be immortalised for posterity by sculpture

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Dr. James Mulwana should be immortalised for posterity by sculpture

As a young nation, recently celebrating our Golden Jubilee, Uganda has celebrated  heroes from sportsmen and women, politicians’ , nationalists, ‘liberators’ with a day even dedicated to heroes ,a day that changes depending on the regime of the day.

Since Ugandans have unanimously paid tribute to Professor James Mulwana who passed early January, we can therefore guarantee that the late businessman cum-philanthropist can be immortalised by way of a sculpture in his likeness for posterity without having to worry that it will  end up like dictators –  Vladimir Lenin , Saddam Hussein’s, Idi Amins or   Ozymandias’ shattered visage as depicted by the 18th C Poet Shelly. In this case Professor Mulwanas statue would be ‘fire walled’ against any regime change.

By his character of biblical humility yet astuteness, the late Mulwana would probably frown upon such a tribute, but would probably agree if his statue and tribute told of the national hero of:

  • Not simply the story of his humble beginnings and persistence to endure a semblance of a growing industrial nation in the times when utilities and infrastructure required for industry coupled with an untenable political and secure environment were the order of the day.
  • But  for a country whose chequered past has witnessed successive heroes turned villains  premised on successive change of ‘guard’ ,Uganda needs heroes that would not be swept by an’ Arab Spring’ styled revolution . A hero that would restore confidence of the youth in their nation; this at a time when we take pride in celebrating the thieving and corrupt Ugandans euphemistically or unwittingly described as  ‘sharp’ , celebrating  so called  socialites such as the embattled ‘Bad black’  whose claim to heroine status   are ill gotten implants and luxury cars exacerbated by  the gutter tabloids.

The Industrialists led by Uganda Manufacturers’ Association, Enterprise Uganda and  Private Sector Foundation  should take the lead by commissioning a sculptor to chisel a befitting statue, perhaps at the Show Grounds where the late Professor was a founder. After all art and sculpture is an industry in its own right.

If the sceptics raise the question of its economic viability, we would not have to turn too far but to South Africa where Nelson Mandela’s bronze statue attracts and inspires thousands.

We would have to look East, to the Chinese industrial juggernaut   whose economy remains inspired by the statue of Mao Tse Tung

We would have to look North to U.K where Nelsons statue at Trafalgar Square remains a symbol of the country’s war   history also attracting thousands or tourists.

And what better example than to look   West to a self made business man, Walt Disney who is also immortalised in a statue arm in arm with Mickey Mouse in celebration of their business empire envisaged in the 1923 Disney cartoon Steamboat Willy.

It would be incongruous not to mention other businesses of the tumultuous 70’s and 80’s  while some of  their owners are still with us including Spear Motors Tumpeco , Vita Form, Mukalazi , Karims Dembe Enterprises ,Mukwano Enterprises, Kayondo Shoe Store, Sembule  ,Vaculug, Lenco, Afro Motors, Sanyutex, Uganda Chalk factory ,Miome Engineering, Zimwe ,Mugalus ,Nalongos and uhuru Restaurant,Katatumba Academy,Covmo,Vaculag , Mukulas Bimbo Ice cream my mothers confectionery and bakery in Kiseminti and even Al Hajj Nasser Sebagallas Ugantico supermarket.

Ugandans born post 86 would probably wonder how Bimbo Ice cream or even Sebagalas 100 Square metre well stocked supermarket would propel one to celebrity status but in those days it was no mean feat to import or keep businesses afloat with no foreign exchange in the market and bullets hovering above.

Such was Professor Mulwanas Uganda  and  he stuck it out to the end, and still has the opportunity to do so not if but when he is immortalised for the post 86’ers ,for posterity,’For God & My Country’.

Tony Ofungi

 

 

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