Uganda: Don’t Let That Degree Tie You Down


There is no rule that a job has to be work. After many years of studying to obtain a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree, budding journalist, Henry Musabe, commonly known as ‘Omwana wa Mummy’, reconsidered his career choice that he could have made when he completed Bachelors in Information Technology.

The MBA, which is currently a popular degree programme in the country, equips graduates with the skills required for a career in business and management.

“After a while I realised that what I had always been passionate about – journalism – was becoming a distant dream. So I jumped into sports which was my other passion,” Musabe, 31, says.

The lucky man

He was raised by her mother’s heir, Patience Nanteza, who is just eight years older. But he was a lucky child, while in Primary Two at Mityana Junior School, the English language teacher, Victoria Lukwago, connected him to pen pals in the UK who became his second family. The Geoffrey and Bryan Hamilton family sponsored his studies from primary school until university.

“Our grandmother was taking care of many children and getting pen pals relieved her of my school fees burden,” Musabe recalls.

Watoto Ministries also offered him a hand until Senior Six which eased any other monetary challenges.

But scoring Aggregate Seven from his Primary Leaving Education at St Mary’s Fairway School in Mityana, was a total disappointment, as he failed to join his preferred Namiryango College. He was instead admitted at Mityana Secondary School.

“I had always wanted to be a football star and usually paid little attention to academics as I concentrated a lot on football at the time,” he says.

But that was a lesson learnt. At O-Level, he passed with a First Grade before he missed the First Term in Senior Five because he had ran away from home. He was later admitted in school and offered History, Economics, Geography and Divinity (HEG/D) but dropped Geography for Entrepreneurship.

“I was promoted to Senior Six on probation,” he says before admitting that obtaining 15 points in the final exams was also regrettable.

Giving football a shot

He did not abandon his lifelong desire of being a football star although his tiny stature did not give him the edge. When he was admitted to Nkumba University in September 2006 to study Information Technology, he rubbed shoulders with star players especially Nicholas Kabali, who was then a striker at Express Football Club.

Many gave him a cold shoulder yet Kabali believed in him and named him Thierry in reference to former French Arsenal player Thierry Henry. But it was not long before he was accepted into the university team by sports tutor Patrick Ssebuliba meeting the likes of Uganda Cranes midfielder Yasser Mugerwa, whom he played with in the 2010 inter-university games, hosted at Nkumba.

Since he no longer had the Watoto sponsorship, this opportunity came as a relief as he had extra money to spend. The university took care of his feeding and accommodation. In April 2010, he was among the few sportsmen to graduate from the university.

Student for life

While jobs were not forthcoming, he applied for Masters in Business Administration on the Muzoora loan scheme which had been started by former Entebbe deputy Town Clerk, Amon Muzoora. The scheme collapsed as he was preparing for the first quarter exams. He could not pay the Shs1.1m tuition because the Hamilton funding had ended at the bachelors’ level. Musabe graduated in 2013 and immediately started working with FHI 360, a research firm as a research assistant.

Birth of a new dream

But while at university, he was close to so many sports stars and whenever University Football League games were held at Nkumba, he would be the play-by-play commentator.

His football stories were also pinned on the notice board. “I knew the players and sports and yet I saw so little was being covered in the mainstream media. So I started a Facebook page, Uganda Sport Online,” he says.

At the end of 2016, Emma Musinguzi, who is now the CEO of Sport256, was following Musabe’s work from Malaysia. Musinguzi, who is a web developer and programmer, mooted the idea of starting a website.

They benchmarked the famous Goal.com, which covers global football, and Kawowo.

He started as the sole website writer until Musinguzi came to Uganda six months later and brought cameras and laptops as well as establishing offices in Mukono. The company now has 13 fulltime staff and up to 70,000 followers on Facebook.

“I am encouraged by the fact that sometimes you find up to 5,000 people reading my story. There is a misconception that journalism does not pay well but I follow my heart and I always work hard.”

He admits that he is still learning, but his colleagues recognise his passion and his willingness to learn.

The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) spokesman, Ahmed Hussein, spotted his talent and offered him a job at Fufa radio. He also makes appearances on Shiloh TV. He is also a co-director at beach soccer champions Isabeti.

“Do not be afraid to try something new,” Musabe says. But, he warns against inconsistency.

He does not regret following his heart. Though he described the move as “very painful,” resulting in criticism from some members of his family and friends. His only regret is that he did not take the plunge sooner.

“I am now planning to study a doctorate in public relations. I do not want to stay in my comfort zone, I want to challenge myself,” he adds.

Determined to win

“I am encouraged by the fact that sometimes you find up to 5,000 people reading my story. There is a misconception that journalism does not pay well but I follow my heart and I always work hard.”

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Publish date : 2018-10-29 09:39:41

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