Uganda: Twinoburyo Was Obsessed With Maths, Critical of NRM Leadership

Stephen Twinoburyo’s candle burned out on January 1 in Pretoria City, South Africa at a hospital where he was rushed after developing heart complications.

He will be remembered for hard work ethic, pursuit of excellence and as a crusader for democratic and people-centred political governance.

These values made him shine at Ntare School, Makerere University and South Africa where he studied and worked. He has been sharing his views and researched information on politics, education and economy by publishing in newspapers and on his blog. Twinoburyo distinguished himself as mathematician at Ntare School and went on to teach the subject dreaded by many at universities in South Africa. Daily Monitor on November 5, 2018 published his article titled, My story: The transformation from 14 per cent in mathematics to top class, in which he talked about how he changed from a mediocre in the subject to a star performer.

“My Mathematics marks, on average between 14 per cent and 19 per cent, confirmed to me that this subject was not for me. I was what one could justifiably call a ‘Mathematics failure’. My position at the bottom of the class in Mathematics was always expected, that is if one of my other maths-hating friends didn’t beat me to it. To cap it all, I was made to repeat a class because I had failed Mathematics … … ” Twinoburyo wrote about his time at Kigezi College Butobere in Kabale, where he said his colleagues made him fear and detest the subject.

He completed primary education from Mbarara Junior School in 1982.

He joined Ntare School in Senior Two after his father, Mr Twinoburyo Omwanawomuntu, who was a town clerk, got transferred to Mbarara from Kabale. Unlike at Butobere, at Ntare School he found students who ‘loved and glorified Mathematics’.

He scored more than 60 per cent in mid-year exam and later went on to be the best in the subject.

“I rose to the top of the class in Mathematics and never looked back. I got to the point where I was considered the best student in the whole school and beyond. If somebody from Ntare School had spoken to somebody from Kigezi College Butobere about this ‘top Mathematics student’, they would think they were talking about different people,” he wrote.

The transformation was brought by mindset change. While his friends at Kigezi College Butobere abhorred the subject, it was the opposite at Ntare. He scored Aggregate 11 (in 8 subjects) at Ordinary Level, and excelled in Physics Chemistry and Mathematics at Advance Level. He got Distinction One and A respectively.

Twionoburyo enrolled for Electrical Engineering at Makerere University but did not finish the course. He left for South African where studied Financial Engineering and Mathematics at University of South Africa. He taught Mathematics at University of Pretoria and later founded Mathematics centre called Scimatics Solutions.

“My story shows two major reasons for Mathematics ‘failure’ – influence and fear. However, influence is two sided. It can be negative or positive, and I experienced both. I have taught Mathematics at a South African university and run a Mathematics and Science education institution where I have seen some students that have been considered poor at the subject by their schools, peers and even themselves turn around simply by igniting their abilities and belief in themselves,” he wrote.

At Ntare School, Twinoburyo was overwhelmingly elected head prefect in 1989. The current deputy head teacher of the school, Mr Eligious Birindwarugaba, who had joined Ntare as a teacher in 1980, says Twinoburyo was very social and popular among students.

“He was a very bright student but also not simple. When his name came up (for head prefect position) some teachers wanted to find a way of eliminating him but the then headmaster said: ‘Leave him, the students will sort him out.’ The headmaster immediately introduced lining up system of voting. Almost all students stood behind Twinoburyo to the surprise of staff. His competitor had about six students lining behind him. Twinoburyo is the only head prefect who was voted by lining up,” says Mr Birindwarugaba.

He adds: “The students wanted to be led by someone bright but also they wanted someone who would match and manage the tough head teacher, who was rigid and controversial.”

Twinoburyo joined Makerere University in 1990 and went on to become chairman of Lumumba Hall.

“He was a person who didn’t struggle to read. He understood so fast. He would beat you in Physics and beat you in History. I knew him as one of those super guys, he got Aggregate Six in six at Ordinary Level,” says Mr Dan Kwesiga, who studied with him at Ntare and Makerere University.

He added: “He was extremely social. Do you know when you are a friend of everybody? That was him.”

Before he could finish the course Twionoburyo was arrested with some colleagues over allegations of assault. When he was cleared to return to complete the course, after nearly 18 months, Twinoburyo had decided to go to South Africa where he got assimilated and lived until he died on Tuesday. He founded Uganda Professionals Living in South Africa (USPA).

Plans for Uganda

“During my stay in Pretoria and South Africa from 2008 to 2015, he was a regular friend and we used to encourage and advise one another. In 2008 before he formed USPA, he spent long hours at my residence in Acardia… we were brainstorming on the idea and the future role of Ugandans based in South Africa in the democratic project of our country. He was a friend to many and a loving father of his bright children,” says Mr Dan Malcolm Matsiko, his friend.

Twionoburyo has published several articles critical of African politics, especially on Uganda and South Africa. The most recent post on his blog titled Our President is indeed a man of vows… , is critical of President Museveni’s promises, depicting them as largely unrealistic.

The article chronicled the several vows made by President Museveni reported in various media over the years, including to crush corruption, arrest errant politicians, lower electricity tariffs, clean up police, make Kampala a safe city, fire striking doctors and sack incompetent officials.

In another article titled, Lessons for Uganda from South Africa’s Defiance Campaign, Twinoburyo implores Ugandans to borrow defiance and boycott approach used by Africa National Congress in 1950s inspired by work of Unites States Civil Rights Movement leader Rev Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr Enock Nyorekwa Twinoburyo, his young brother, says most of Twinoburyo’s discussions have always been laced with mathematical approach to life. He intended to return to Uganda and one of his plans was to establish a mathematics school, a replica of Scimatics Solutions School. Twinoburyo was born on January 8, 1970 and had three children. His body is expected to arrive in the country today.

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Publish date : 2019-01-06 08:29:15

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