Breaking

Sentiments, Grief as Fire Destroys Iconic Ivory Tower

The blue and white building is the most recognizable face of Makerere university and seen as a national pride and heritage. It has appeared on postage stamps and post cards. The which building has since been recognized UNESCO heritage has been appear on the currency in different regimes; on 5,000 shillings note from 1980 to 1987 and the 500 that was issued out by the NRA government in 1987.
20 Sep 2020 21:34
Burnt Makerere University Main Building.

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Grief has today engulfed the Makerere University family as one of the iconic buildings at one of the ‘oldest and best Universities in Africa’ was gutted by fire gutted.

The Main Building, also know as the Ivory tower has stood tall over the years not only as Makerere's landmark but also as a key feature of higher education in the region with thousands of students and staff sharing an attachment to the building. 

To many, it is the darkest day in the history of the university that humbly begun in 1922 as a technical school. Simon Sagala Mulindwa, an alumina and former manager at Makerere’s printery, shares that although the tower was not in existence at the start of Makerere, it later become famous to students who would sit in freedom square looking at the tower on their graduation day. 

Mulindwa shares that although its construction works begun in  1939 it remained unfinished up to 1941. He cites that some of the items that were to be used mainly on the roof delayed to reach Uganda due to effects of World War II.  

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Information obtained from the university indicates that the foundation of the main administration building which was constructed with unique 20th century British architecture was laid in November 3, 1938 by Prince Henry, the then Duke of Gloucester who represented His Majesty King George VI. 

It is said that the building was constructed with funds from the Colonial Development bourse but was greatly delayed by scarcity of resources to purchase materials as Britain and her allies grappled with the expenses of World War II. It was completed in 1941 under the leadership of Mr. George C. Turner, Principal, Makerere College (1939-46). 

The blue and white building is the most recognizable face of Makerere university and seen as a national pride and heritage. It has appeared on postage stamps and post cards. The building which has since been recognized by UNESCO as a heritage has appeared on the currency in different regimes; on 5,000 shillings note from 1980 to 1987 and the 500 that was issued out by the NRA government in 1987. 

Lorna Magara, the university council chairperson, says the building was the image of Makerere. Every time someone around the world talked about Makerere, the ivory tower could be the first image that goes through one’s mind. Magara says that the only gift her council can offer the university on its centenary celebration will the restoration of the building.     

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Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, director research and graduate training says Makerere is mourning because it has lost its heritage and identity. He says one can not say that they belong to Makerere without the ivory tower.     

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Ivan Bwowe, former Guild President who could not resist shading tears upon arriving at the scene, says that the building is a source of pride and identity to those who went to Makerere. Bwowe, however, feels sad to know that a lot of information regarding the great institution might be lost forever.

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Rev. Onesimus Asiimwe, the chaplain of St Francis chapel situated next to the burnt building, described the fire as an act to erase the history of Makerere. He however says they are praying so that source of the fire and the motives behind it could be known.

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Retired bishop of north Kigezi, Edward Muhima, said it was sad news that the Main Building had burnt. He said while at St Luke Ntinda he could nit resist rushing to the university to witness what had happened to the beloved Ivory tower. He says it is a shame that that this can happen to Makerere.   

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