Family

To the man who loved me first: My Father’s Day tribute.

Hello Dad, it’s your little sir Mugi here. I know it has been a long while since we last had those long father-son talks. Yesterday was your day, dad; ‘t was Fathers’ Day worldwide. A celebration of your kind. And it’s yet another one without you. I am not sad about it. okay, I am- a little bit. Now that I earn some shilling, maybe today would be the day I bless you with a carton of your favorite drink (Tusker Malt), alongside a card that thanks you for being the best and most wonderful dad in the world. It was in the 19th of June in 2012, that you went back to the Lord; our creator. It was a cold Tuesday morning at 5:00AM when you breathed your last. How do I know about your last hours? Well, I was also just informed while we were at the funeral; during those trying times.

My last sight of you was May 13th, 2012 after you took me back to school as I was reporting for second term of my academic year. Whereas each year, it always pains me that you are away, I have over the years kept strong and till today, I still am the same strong, courageous and confident man who respects others among other forms of humanity I learnt from you. To commemorate the tragic day, I since last year begun a tradition of lighting a candle to last three days; that is from the 19th to the 22nd of June. This is as a reminder that you lit the candle of my life and my siblings when you single handedly raised us all on your own; in the absence of a mother figure. It is also a symbol that your legacy and impact shall forever shine. So, I come today not to weep or mourn. We did that in 2012, your humble son is here to tell you a story; about life, the interesting parts and the not very interesting ones. Remember when you and I would grab a cup of porridge each evening as we chatted at the balcony and watched the sun set each day you were from work? Yes, looks like you might need one of those, kind sir. Because this is to take long; and you might miss work tomorrow, because you are most likely to sleep late because of how lengthy this chat is going to be.

Oba ntandikire wa even? Okay. Life after your demise and having to cope was not easy at the start; considering I was only about 13 and a half years at the time. I was however strong and braved the pain, till today because of the strong support system of friends and people around me. Oh, thank you for teaching how to value people, how to build and nurture friendships and connect with people so well. That must be the skill that has brought me this far I must say. Of course, I can not neglect the other important aspects such as financial discipline, hard work, fear and reverence of God, generosity, avoiding any form of fights more so physical as you always reminded me nothing good ever comes out of those and that it added nothing to me to be the kind that always picks fights or engages in them.

When I returned to school after those days of agony after your send off, my friends at my then school welcomed me back and comforted me, stood by me; they too understood what I was going through because I doubt there’s ever a conversation I ever had and I never referred to you at some point at least. I mean you are all I’d my entire life, and all my experiences about life revolved around time spent with and around you. So, they knew this would be a deep pit to come out of. A pit of missing you and these haunting sweet but painful memories.

2013, I was in s2. The two memories I have of this year were that this was the year I opened up a Twitter account one May morning. I had mainly opened it so I could engage with a morning show I used to listen to on XFM known as XAM. It was this very year that I got my second memory; I discovered the man who’d later turn out to be my role model; – Ryan Seacrest; who was hosting the American Top 40 countdown, till today.

Fast forward to 2014, daddy your stubborn off spring became prefect for information at school. Keeping our media dream (of me one day working in/on one and you listening in/watching me on one) alive, I delivered to the best of my abilities. My senior four then reached. I had a really ka sweet, humble and yet interesting young lady who was my date. Of course, at first, I was nervous to ask her to be my date, but a day before the PROM, I approached her and in a faint voice asked if she’d mind doing me the honors of being my date to the event. We took beautiful photos. And yeah did I tell you, on the D-day of the event, I did these things ebya bazungu; I mean, man I got on one knee, handed her a rose then we (her and I) did that Hollywood Walk of Fame kind of thing. Of course, my friends knew how shy I was more so when it came to girls but on the inside, I kept telling myself that if you were here, you’d love to see take a date to the dance.  I really gotta give you credit for raising a brilliant mind like mine for sure because when it came to the ‘Ball Room dance’ part, I really did not know how to position my hands, on whether my hand had to be her shoulder or waist or the reverse, but she (my date) tutored me through the whole process which I learnt chap chap and we were good to go.

One other memorable thing I remember doing was coming up with my current other name- MUGIBSON. After a good two weeks of my seat mate and I’s efforts to get me a nick name, I finally sat it through one prep and thought to myself, I am Mugisha, and so is my dad, meaning am his son. That’s how I combined MUGISHA+Biological+Son to make MUGIBSON. Another great way of keeping the memory of you alive and with me always.

So, kati form four got done. UCE Results came back. I had passed and straight up went for Advanced Level. Among my selected subjects was Christian Religious Education (C.R.E) [Divinity] as its usually called. It was accompanied by Entrepreneurship and Literature. Forget that jazz I used to give you when I was a kid that I wanted to be a priest, the reason I chose CRE was because I had a rumor that among the paper of CRE was Div. Paper4 which many students of my age would prefer because it was very explicit and explored a topic many young people love to discuss about. However, man I was thrown an L upon reaching and we were told that the school had scrapped off paper4 that year and replaced it with paper 3 instead. The heartbreak!! Aside the CRE waggwez, I made some great relations while at the school and some have greatly impacted my life till today.

Remember how much I grew to love computers and how they worked because I saw how you did smart work with them and admired to own one? Well yes, while at my A’level school, a team of four other mates and I took part in an ICT contest and for emerging winners, each of us was handed a brand-new Lenovo laptop. So, all those computer lessons I copied from you and those you helped me polish, I now apply at liberty and on my own machine. The ICT contest also opened gates of opportunities. Dad, it was at this event that I tasted a burger for the very first time in my life, man. Kale, it was served along other additional foods like a sandwich (which I was also tasting for the very first time by the way) and chicken. At the event’s award ceremony, I saw kko Juliana Kanyomozi, and I also took a selfie with Flavia Tumusiime who happened to be the MC for the event. It was still during this ICT gala that I met a lovely slim light skinned young lady who belonged to the same category my school/ team was competing in. we talked a little and exchanged contact even. She was my crush for almost a whole year, man. Whole of vac till like mid May 2018 when I gave up trying so hard. But she was worth it, man. Maybe I gave up too soon. I don’t know.

Kati nga 2018 reaches, results come nga I’m oba 10th or 11th best in my former school. So, time for applying for courses reaches. I was kind of hit by bad luck and missed out on being given my dream course of journalism. So, that’s how I missed being admitted to university as I had only filled journalism and only computer related courses. So, as I had gone to Makerere to file a complaint as to why my name hadn’t made the admission list, on the line I met another soul that was there with similar complaints though her complaint was that she had been given business courses yet she wanted Law since she had actually scored the required pre entry mark of that year. Like they usually say ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, as we were on that long cue to the administrator’s office, we begun chatting, and went on for hours and hours and to date, she has since become like a sister and me a brother to her. We counting two years + of friendship.

I later enrolled for a computer networking course; however, it wasn’t as interesting and man the marks I used to get in the tests and exams hooo, they were even less than my highest score in snake Xenia. Well, I made more friends while here, as I also kept attending various events and hackathons which kept my social capital growing. How can I mention events and not brag kko a ka little bit? Daddy can you believe it when I saw the members of the EDM group; Major Lazer live. Like I was backstage at the day of the event where they were headlining. Still can’t believe I was just 2metres away from these icons, man. It was the very same day that I got to see A Pass, Selector Jay, Beenie Gunter, Mc Kats and Miss Deedan for the very first time in person. I eventually joined the world of digital marketing this very year and have never looked back till today. I also briefly joined media school for the mean time but later had to quit to focus on my bachelors as the academic year at university had started.

Kati back to our traditions. In the last 8 years of your heartbreaking passing, a lot has changed where as some have remained constants. To start with the constants;

Remember the very first phones you bought us; the Kabiriti from MTN? of course these necessitated us owning MTN Sim cards, I am proud to say that after all these years later, I am still on the network, and that the sim card of this very network I acquired after replacing my lost sim of the similar network in 2010 has been in my hands for over 10years. Since 2010, up to now I still own the sim card with its number though I had to upgrade to 4G, but under the same number still.

Also, the last phone you bought me while I was in p7; that TECNO k8, well I gave it up a long time after it got so old because of over using it. What is shockingly true is that today, I still use TECNO branded phones; my current is a SPARK3 Pro, and my former was a TECNO SPARK K7. And drum roll, wait for it.*..*.*.*.*.*. I also happen to work for the company today as well; as one of the members in the Digital team for the brand.

Well, at this point, I do suggest you get a refill. I mean, I suppose your drink in your cup is done. I do recall the refreshments collection we used to have home, I know by now you’d be reaching for your next bottle of your favorite; Tusker Malt. Another thing that has stayed the same after all this while is my love for Stoney. Yes, that soda I always ordered when we got to restaurants or the beach while with the rest is still the same beverage I take till today. That ginger flavored soda it is; any day.

Yes, I finally gave up soaps as I kept growing. I actually last followed a soap in 2014. It was called ‘Strange Love’ and it used to show on Urban TV. I shifted my energies to following series, podcasts and films mainly.

Talking look and fashion. I do recall one day you telling me, ‘young man, so for you only iron clothes when someone tells you you are going for an outing or to town’. Well, dad this boy has grown up now and now irons and organizes all his clothes in a wardrobe. Still on looks, I dropped the bald style of trimming, dad. I adopted the culture of growing my hair and only leveling it. it actually looks nice on me. Though I sometimes become too lazy to comb it and it gets messed but it’s still kawa. I have also grown a beard, man.

Is my passion for working with computers still on? Oh, hell yeah it is. In fact, it is with these skills of Microsoft Office that I learnt from you that am able to typeset most of my work such as a reports, proposals and articles. I also currently run a blog site where am actually going to post this, like I have posted my past articles.

How about our travel voyages we used to make? Those to the zoo, the beach and in and around town Well, I recently begun travelling once again, I have since visited Ntungamo, Mbarara, Masaka, been to the equator. Future plans have however been sabotaged at the moment. Man, we are going a pandemic at the moment. I do hope all this gets over soon, so life may go back to normal and maybe I’ll visit the rest of the places I’ve always wished to go to for adventure.

Music taste yo eli etya? You’ll ask. Well, right from childhood, you and I can both agree that I’ve been a music enthusiast. Well, gone are the days we used to burn music on CDs to listen to later on. Nowadays dad, we stream and download music directly to our devices. speaking of which, did you know that in January of this year 2020, yours truly was crowned king of making the dopest playlists by MTN and Tidal? The real gist is that a contest was put out, I participated and I won. Despite going digital with music, I still cherish those days we drove past Akamwesi in Nakawa while nodding our heads to that fire Runyankore gospel of Peace Mbabazi, Mary Assimwe and the likes. I still listen to this kind of music even today.

Our favorite and family supermarket Capital shoppers Nakawa, I still purchase stuff from there. Just like you set the pace. Also, still on Nakawa, I do study at the university that’s just opposite this very supermarket. So, in this one place Nakawa, I shoot a number of birds with one stone, I study, I shop, I see the Nakawa where the story begun and lastly, I get to see the restaurant at Akamwesi where we used to eat at.

About the dream media we had; I might have drifted from tv and fell in love with radio more. And I know very soon I’ll be live on one of Uganda’s leading radio stations. As for now, I have a podcast, which I mainly use for practice. This of course means, am still the great person at talking I’ve always been since I was very little.

The school I attended for high school, I suggested that my little brother, the last born be taken there so he can get quality education and experience it wholly. Just like you and I thought the school a good idea, I do pride in the fact that he actually liked the school.

I also kind of gave up on agriculture, as most of the plans we had was to set up a farm in Mukono but now it is kinda hard to be a one man’s job at the moment. Maybe in my retirement home, I’ll set up a small farm.

What breaks my spirit sometimes is knowing you won’t make it to my graduation physically yet you have been there since day one; braving the rains to make it to come check on me while in primary school, and never missed a single visitation day, and watching me grow academically minus demoralizing me. Also knowing that you won’t be there to hear me once am finally on air and am working on radio also pinches me big time, man. I mean, me knowing you were in the audience while I performed at school music, dance and drama contests made me feel like my efforts while on stage were being watched by you my dearest and were cheering on as you supported me regardless. But I guess, this I’ll learn to cope with it and somehow know you are smiling at me wherever you are.

In my 2018 poetry compilation titled ‘Stellar Youth’, I published these two as a dedication to you:

I sometimes get anxious about what could happen and worry so much about the little ones and about my friends, because life has already robbed me of so much already, so, the mere thought of something bad happening or them not being fine really hits me hard. Maybe am not as strong as you were. But with each day comes new opportunity to grow, to learn and unlearn practices and knowledge. Maybe the anxiety will go away some day. Good thing God is and has always been there by my side. So, I got this.

As we conclude this very long chat, I just wanted to say how proud I am to be your son. That’ll never change. I do wish you, mum, grand ma and grand pa a peaceful rest. As for my siblings and I, we are good. We are in a good family and God is still good as always. So, be rest assured, we are fine. Till next year, Happy Father’s Day in your absentia, dad. Let me now take down the candle and restore my face’s presence online.