A section of people in the Kigezi region including elders and youths are mourning the death of the icon of Runyankole-Rukiga local language author and translator, Omugurusi Festo Karwemera who died at the age of 95.
His Elder daughter Robinah Tugume Nyangoma confirmed his untimely death that occurred on Sunday morning at around 4am at the Medicus clinic in Kabale municipality where he has been receiving treatment. The deceased, according to his doctors, succumbed to multiple organ failure due to old age.
Karwemera was well known for his passion and love to promote the efficiency of speaking Runyankore-Rukiga languages on public functions and radio programs and has authored 30 books in Runyankore-Rukiga language that include the popular Katodozi (Dictionary) which he co-authored with President Museveni and Prof Emmanuel Muranga a lecturer at Kabale University in the department of languages including translating the Holy Bible and the constitution of Uganda into the local language.
Karwemera defended his culture in both oral and written literature, lover of peace and tranquility. He wrote, recited, danced, played instruments and sang beautiful lyrics of Kigezi.
He wrote, recited, danced,played our instruments and sang beautiful lyrics of Kigezi. Indeed preserved our culture without fear.
Other prominent books he authored include emicwe nemigyenzo y’a Bakiga, Otebwa orurimi rwawe, the history of Kigezi, Twegye orurimi rwaitu, Encuukye Tushome Tujerenge, Shutama Nkutekyereze, Oshwerea abuzo among others.
Because of efficiency in authoring books in the Rukiga local language, Kabale University on June 24 2017, awarded him an honorary doctorate of literature, the function that was presided over by the university’s chancellor Prof Mondo Kagonyera.
Tugume says that his grandfather has been a role model not only to the family members but to the whole country because of his dedicated service in promoting and conserving the local language in Kigezi.
He has been an amazing man in translating English literature into the local language. He is so loved and would quickly guide any one that poorly pronounces the Runyankore-Rukiga words. The country shall miss his expertise in this field.
Prof Emmanuel Muranga, a lecturer at Kabale University in the department of languages, described the deceased as an iconic Encyclopedia for Kigezi culture, values and norms. Passing on Knowledge was his passion. He said that Karwemera will be remembered for his generosity, being a God fearing man and a man who loved working together in harmony.
The director of Voice of Kigezi FM Canon Ivan Mbabazi Batuma said that death has robbed Kigezi of a very intelligent man that has been an icon in promoting the local language and Banyakigezi culture.
Batuma said that before starting the voice of Kigezi FM radio in Kabale in January 2000, he approached Karwemera who accepted to volunteer in mentoring the radio presenters on effective communication in local language because the radio was designed to serve the kigezi community in local language. Mbabazi said that he worked with Karwemera for 10 years and has been very instrumental in radio programs and talk shows including shaping the voice of Kigezi staff in things to do with language to use on radio. Batuma also said that Karwemera will be remembered for promoting culture tourism in the region.
Retired Rev Can John Basingwire described the late Karwemera as a person who preached against corruption with the ultimate truth. He also said that Omugurusi Karwemera will be also remembered for his spirit of nurturing and inculcating good moral values to the people of Kigezi. He added that Karwemera will be remembered for his spirit of patriotism.
The Kabale municipal deputy mayor Kedris Mutabazi also said that Karwemera will keep in the minds of Kigezi people because of his great contribution he exhibited in the preservation of Kigezi culture and morals through teaching people and writing articles about the Kigezi as a region. She said that he helped the people of Kigezi to better understand their tribe and clans and tell stories about what happened in the past. He added she will always remember Karwemera of his good program on Voice of Kigezi.
The former registrar Bishop Barham University College Retired Rev Solomon Mugyenzi said that Kigezi will miss the love and honor that Karwemera had for his region including passion to teach people of Kigezi on how to maintain and preserve the culture. He added Karwemera will be remembered for the love of God and how he liked to serve God.
The Rukiga district youth Councilor Micheal Kwarikunda Mbareba said that Omugurusi Karwemera will be remembered for his love for sports and a teacher of moral values. He said that Karwemera will also keep in the minds of People in Kigezi because he has been teaching people on how to eat good food that would help them to live long with good health.
Omugurusi Karwemera was born in 1925 in Karubanda village Buhara sub county, Kabale District and went to Muyebe, Kinyasano and Kigezi High School for primary and secondary education respectively, after which he joined Nyakasura Teacher Training College where he attained a certificate in primary school teaching. He later joined Mukono Teacher Institute where he attained a diploma in the same field.
He served as a teacher in several native Anglican Church schools, an inspector of schools for Kabale District before he was appointed as the head teacher for Hornby high school from 1964-1965 and in 1966 he was appointed to head the Save the Children fund by the diocese of Kigezi administration. Karwemera also worked as the Kigezi regional chairperson of the Save the children fund project in 1966-1969. In 1970 to 1972 he was appointed to head the national trading corporation in Kigezi by the central government.
He is survived by a wife Mary Aidah Karwemera, 7 children, 19 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren and and he was laid to rest on Tuesday at his ancestral home in Bugarama parish, Buhara, Sub County, Kabale district,
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