Godfrey Ssentongo: A Great Teacher who has Made History Bows Out

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His close associates describe him as a hardworking, determined, result oriented and no nonsense man, whose vocabulary lacked one word called failure. In that reign, he fought for his dear life up to the last minute, to the extent that even when he would be seen as weak, he moved on, performing a duty which surprised those around him.

The bishops, Enos Kitto Kagodo of Mukono diocese, Rtd. Paul Luzinda Kizito, Rtd. James William Ssebaggala and Canon. John Ssebudde laying a wreath on the casket of Ssentongo during the requiem mass in Mukono.

That is non-other than Godfrey Ssentongo, an education icon who performed his responsibilities in different schools of Mukono and Namirembe Dioceses to the excellence of even those who would not believe in him.

The above words have been singled out of the hundreds of people who have eulogized Ssentongo from Sunday when the sad news of Ssentongo’s demise was publicised.

Those who have gone through his hands as their headteacher and their teacher for over 35 years say that even after raising the ladders into a successful administrator putting on the coats of a headteacher, Ssentongo continued with his roles of a classroom teacher.

“Indeed, teaching was not only his profession as many we have today who just do it for the sake, but a calling.”

For that effect, hundreds of mourners on Tuesday filled to capacity the church, Saints Phillip and Andrew’s Cathedral in Mukono Municipality for his requiem service. They ranged from his former students, parents, fellow teachers, headteachers, religious leaders, political leaders, friends and relatives.

The service was led by the bishop of Mukono diocese, Enos Kitto Kagodo, in company of other retired bishops of Mukono diocese, Elia Paul Luzinda Kizito and James William Ssebaggala.

The bishops, Enos Kitto Kagodo of Mukono diocese, Rtd. Paul Luzinda Kizito, Rtd. James William Ssebaggala and Canon. John Ssebudde laying a wreath on the casket of Ssentongo during the requiem mass in Mukono.

Headteachers laying a wreath on the casket of Godfrey Ssentongo during the requiem mass at Mukono Cathedral.

Among the schools in which Ssentongo headed, was Bishop Senior School. Bp. Ssebaggala, who was his chairperson board of guvnors, says that by that time, Ssentongo was residing at his residence, at Ggwafu Cell in Seeta, but he always reached in class at 5:00am.

“I could not believe it, I asked him whether he was staying at school or coming from outside, he told me, a responsible teacher and on top of that, the headteacher, must be the first one to get to school and the last one to leave,” he said, during his eulogy before the mourners.

Bishop Ssebaggala said that Ssentongo went to Bishop Senior in 1997 at a time when the school was in middle of very many challenges including indiscipline amongst the students, poor performance, among others.

He said the school had no fence by then, an opportunity which gave students chance to get out at each and every time they wanted. “They were ever loitering in Mukono town during class time, doing things which would embarrass a Church’s institution named after the bishop,” he said.

Ssebaggala confessed even before Ssentongo in 2019, when he had been invited to the school to pick a reward of sh30m for having laboured so had to transform the school.

He said; “At one time, I thought of changing this school’s name from Bishop Senior to save the reputation of the church which was being tarnished by the indiscipline of the students then but Mr. Ssentongo I thank God that you came in handy, and rescued the situation despite the resistance from some of our parents and local politicians.”

Members of Mothers Union St. Luke Seeta Church of Uganda laying a wreath on Ssentongo’s casket.

He added: “I cannot tell how many petitions where sent to parliament reporting the changes Ssentongo made to Bishop Senior. But they were uncalled for just that some of our people fight anything that comes across even good changes.

I remember a time when Ssentongo got money, built and stocked a computer library, but someone took a petition to parliament that he had misappropriated the funds meant for the same computer library.

A full committee of parliament came to school but we decided to host them in the very computer library. As they were leaving, I asked them what their findings were; they instead said they had just paid a visit to the school! That was the Ssentongo who is lying amidst us.”

Some of the students of Lincon High School Kabembe laying wreath on the casket of their director, Godfrey Ssentongo.

John Fred Kazimbwe, the headteacher of Kings College School Buddo said hundreds of mourners had turned up for the requiem service of Ssentongo as a clear manifestation for his diligent service towards the education sector.

Speaking on behalf of the headteachers, Kazibwe said he has known Ssentongo for quite a long period of time because they all went to Mengo Senior School, they all went into the teaching profession and later became headteachers.

“He has been a committed teacher, he has been a headteacher but he could still get to the classroom and teach. He has not been a headteacher who just sit in his office alone. He has been a headteacher who cared for the development of people and the place where he would be. When I was at Mengo Senior School as the headteacher, he brought his entire staff for Bishop Senior and Lincon High School, his personal school. When I went to Kings College Buddo and he also went to Lubiri Senior School, he again brought his staff members of both Lubiri and Lincon also to benchmark at Kings College Budo, he always cared for the betterment of others, we shall always remember him for that,” he said.

John Fred Kazibwe, headteacher Kings College Buddo.

Kazibwe said that Ssentongo also had passionate love for his family saying that because he is a parent at Kings College, even at a time when he was sick and so weak, he would not hesitate to perform his parental duties.

“I remember one time when he was very weak but I saw him when he had brought Jeremiah back to school, that cannot just be taken for granted. Another time we went with him and his wife Edith to Washington, New York, Boston and I indeed saw how he had love for his wife,” he said.

The Minister for Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, Aidah Erios Nantaba, the Kayunga District Woman MP, former Member of Parliament for Mukono South, Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga, Robert Peter Kabanda, the Mukono Central Division chairperson and others were among the representatives of the central government. Gen. Katumba said that Ssentongo has left legacy in each of the schools he has gone through.

The children addressing the mourners during the requiem service at Mukono Cathedral.

Mary Angella Naddamba, the commissioner Secondary Education in charge of Western Region Government Secondary Schools also praised Ssentongo saying she is among the many that went through him as her headteacher, at a time when she was still teaching at Bishop Senior School.

Edith Ssentongo, the wife to the deceased described her husband as a loving man who has fulfilled his fatherly roles alongside his education duties in schools where he has served as teacher and headteacher.

Edith Ssentongo speaking during the requiem service.

“I am feeling a lot of pain inside my heart because I have lost my dear one, my darling! But your presence in big numbers means a lot to me than the words. We have been married for more than twenty years, Jeremiah Ssentongo, Gladys Nakigudde, Hellene Nalule, Kamulegeya Paul Mark and Godfrey Mugwanya.

Ssentongo Godfrey Ssempa is a son to late Yekoyasi Kaggwa Nakabaale and Gladys Namawejje Nakabaale. He was born on September 27, 1962 and died on September 2, 2023. He got married to Edith Nagadya Ssentongo on September 10, 2010.

Education Background

Ssentongo went to Bbowa Primary School (P1-P5), Wandegeya Primary School (P5-P7). He studied his O level at Mengo Senior School and Ndejje Senior Secondary School. For A level, he went to Caltec Academy Makerere.

He did a Diploma in Secondary Education at National Teacher’s College Nkozi, a Bachelor of Education at Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK) and Master of Arts in History at Kyambogo University.

Work Stations

  • 1989-1995: Ngogwe Baskerville Senior School – Teacher of History and CRE
  • 1996-1998: Ndeeba Senior Secondary School, Kayunga district – Headteacher
  • 1996-2006: Kanjuki Senior Secondary School, Kayunga district – Headteacher
  • 2007-2014: Bishop Senior School, Mukono – Headteacher
  • 2015-2022: Lubiri Senior Secondary School – Headteacher
  • 2018-to date: Lincon High School Kabembe-Mukono – Director

Also Read;

Ssentongo, Lubiri Senior School’s Headteacher Dies of Cancer



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