Monday, May 4, 2020
My brother the genius ... fare thee well until we meet again
We first met with Paul in mid February of 1978 joining St. Stanislaus Mugwanya Preparatory School in Kabojja for Primary One. We started off with finding our survival skills having been thrust into a boarding school at a very tender age. Kyegombe as we all called him then, soon proved himself to be a class apart. He first broke away from the pack with his fine art skills, being the only one who could draw cars, people and other objects with a three dimensional appreciation unlike many of us that drew stick men.
It soon became obvious to all that Kyeggie as he was later known was indeed a genius. He took on the chaps in the higher classes in Debates, Mathematics Competitions, Art Contests and nearly always the results were obvious even before the first whistle.
At St. Savior Junior School Kyeggie emerged as a great footballer and soon earned himself a place in the Junior Team and his House Team. He was also the reference for all the pupils at the school as every Teacher cited him as the example of a smart hard working pupil. Defining genius, Paul was a permanent member of the Debates Clubs and all Interschool Academic Competitions. Academics and Sports aside, he would later become an Altar Boy to the surprise of many, having not been a Catholic and yet these were Schools run by the Brothers of Christian Instruction.
We became much closer with Kyeggie at Savio. Our parents became friends too. In fact his late Father loaned us one of his company cars when we did not have one. When I was Class Prefect in P6 and P7 Kyeggie was never one of those on my list of noisy chaps to hand in to the Teacher during study preps nor ever on the list of those who failed to get a pass mark in any of the exercises. If fact Kyeggie only got punished for academic reasons for either losing a mark compared to a previous performance or not having scored top marks. We envied him. Indeed one of his worst moments was failing to top the country at PLE in 1984.
At SMACK Kyeggie gave no further chance to his competitors and soon sealed his place as the constant at the top both locally and nationally throughout our secondary school life like many have described. He excelled at everything he set his mind to. Probably the only challenge he faced known to us was music.
We shared a study cubicle - Dyno in HSC together with John Lukwago, Edward Nelson Kamoga, Martin Luther Zziwa, Kenneth Kintu and Anthony Makumbi who was a year lower. Being around him just gave you the confidence because your back was covered and no number was impossible to solve. He demystified the science subject combination at A-Level when he scored quadruple A in PCM/Fine Art. I thank Kyeggie for having been my study mate and peer-mentor throughout school. We even developed similar handwritings not by chance but through daily practice of the calligraphic MacLean handwriting an effort led by Kyeggie. David Mabirizi, Samson Kironde, John Lukwago and Opul Dickson were among the others on the handwriting team. My being a successful Doctor today is thanks to his constant encouragement and example. He worked hard and I had no excuse but to exert myself. Although I was never at the front end of the class, the hard work finally paid off.
We shared life's lessons with Kyeggie and when he got a scholarship to the UK we mused that he was now going to bring back an English girl. This never happened and when he returned after a while in 2001 he found me just married. We embarked on a hunt for his partner only to be called to start his new job in the US. We kept in touch although not as often as we should have but we followed up on each other's achievements in life. I never got a chance for him to introduce to me to his son Solomon but I pray we get a chance to meet with Solomon one day. Just know we love you so much Solomon and that your Dad was a great man and a great example for all of us. The cancer rocked his ship. Being the fighter he was, he recovered and set sail again only to be surprised by another storm that claimed the ship!
Kyeggie, we shall miss you and you remain an inspiration to us. When He calls on you, there's no turning back. Till we meet again may the Lord receive you with divine mercy and grant you eternal rest in peace! Amen. Good bye, Kyeggie!
Dr. Patrick Kyamanywa
at May 04, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
I was heart broken to hear that you had succumbed to your illness. It was such a gut-wrenching feeling. 4 years ago when you hosted me in your beautiful home…I did not know It would be the last time we see each other. It was a blast though that encounter. I will forever treasure it. We shared so many beautiful memories about our childhood. Goodness. Then, it was 38 years of knowing each other from Mugwanya Preparatory School Kabojja in 1978 through Savio Junior School and St.Mary’s College Kisubi in 1991.
We shared about school, football, politics and of course our kids. You took me around Atlanta like am told you did for many of your friends that visited the black Mecca. The most memorable activities we did together was you taking me to indulge in the most passionate thing we both loved, football. You reminded me of how I let you shine on the field with those through passes…with your usual complements…”Man, musajja gwe wali Socrates” What a memory…We both shared our dreams about seeing your sons being giants at the game we love…Ezo sente siimbi …That’s not bad money (That footballers make), you said. But anyway, we agreed that it’s just but a dream. Even then, you still said we can help our kids dream big.
Before we parted, you gifted me your “Yes Can” art Obama memoir. I requested you to sign it on behalf of my kids. I was not surprised by the words you left for them. ”DREAM BIG..BIG DREAMS MAKE BIG REALITIES”. When I returned, I shared the book with my kids and they were so touched and amazed by the beautiful art …but also that uncle Paul, the guy I called my genius brother from another mother advised that they should not stop dreaming.
We had planned to do some things together, but unfortunately this has not come to pass. Yes, those dreams my brother. I hope I will continue navigate this life and attempt to accomplish as much as I can …then I will tell you all about it…when I see you again…my brother, my friend…my genius.
|Atlanta Skyline by Paul Kyegombe|
Dr. Edward Nelson Kamoga and family (Rita, Mercy and Nathan)
Pretoria, South Africa
Your caricatures were great. You added colour to the world through your beautiful art. We shall forever hold dear the autographed book Yes we Can Paintings and speeches (2009) that you gave to Robert. You touched many of us through the soccer games. Summer 2016 will be a memory to treasure for the girls. Rest well Solomon's dad. Dear Solomon take comfort in the Lord for He alone can ease the pain. Hold onto the memories.
|Atlanta Skyline by Paul Kyegombe|
Ssemakula: Virginia, Robert, Ssinzi,Mpeera and Kangi.
Uncle Paul was a man of pure courage and strength. For the years that we knew him, he was our “coach” for not only soccer but in our personal lives as well. It was hard to see him ever slowing down for any task for not just himself but also for others. If it is one thing that I wish I could have done was to be there for him as he was for me.
I am indeed thankful that I knew him for the person he was. In fact, probably the best things I have seen from him was his artistic mindset and abilities. Anyone who is reading this, please take the chance to see his art work, you will be amazed. God really crafted uncle Paul so well that his artwork clearly shows how far God can put his power through us. On that note, Uncle is living in the best situation for any of us walking on this Earth. He is looking at us right now, I am sure that he wants us to be encouraged and to keep going on every day. If it is one thing that is evident, it is that in this current dynamic of the world, we are to serve and to always continue to serve. We should serve like how Uncle Paul did for this community. To not only emulate him but honor his legacy.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)
For his family, I send my deepest condolences. I know this is a very difficult and unimaginably hard time. God has interesting path on how He does his works. Uncle Paul is with all of the Saints and most importantly, he is in great hands
A special message for Solomon: I have faith that you will carry the work ethic that represents your amazing father. I also trust that you will bring a similar impact to what he has done for us in many ways. Lastly, I know for a fact you will continue to keep his passion for the love of soccer. For every Goal scored, it will be a great one.
-Themba and on behalf of the Nsubuga family
Atlanta, GA USA
I met Paul about 10 years ago when I commissioned some work I needed for a project. Since then I have been an avid admirer of his works and determination. We are placed on this earth to find Gods purpose for us and to share our gifts. Not everyone is blessed to do that. Paul has done that. We thank God for his life and his legacy. And pray for his son that he will always know he was loved and has a legacy to follow !
Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze,...........He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.
Rest In Peace Paul🙏🏽
|Barack and Michelle Obama by Paul Kyegombe|
So much to say and not enough time or space! My rewind stops back at when you were backing your car up the Kirunda’s driveway to load up the many presents given to you and your son’s mother at her baby shower when she was very pregnant with your baby boy Solomon.
Yes my dear friend, this is the day I met you! Lydia, Kiddu and I had just moved here from San Francisco and you were one of our first welcoming friends. You and I got very close right After you founded the Atlanta cranes organization.Your love and welcoming for everyone never ceased to amaze me! Not only did you love your friends but you made it a point know about, and bond with our kids. You were always interested and asked questions about how my son was doing at school and on swim team.I was so touched last year when you insisted on accompanying us to UGA to take our Kid to college for the first time, when you were very ill!!
Every Christmas holiday when the wife traveled to Uganda, you would call me every other day to make sure Kiddu and I were okay. Thank you for your love. I really miss you my friend.I miss sharing juicing recipes with you, I will miss those alternate names you have called over the years..., Mukulu Kabs,Mystique,Guru, and lately, Patron.
It is so heart breaking that we can only say goodbye to you via TV screen, closure is going to be hard, but that is the way God planned it. Rest in peace my dear friend, my Coach , my little brother,Love you man!... your pal always,
Kabali Kamya ( PK crane).
Atlanta, GA USA
It feels surreal writing about our dear Brother, Class Mate and Friend Paul Kyegombe whom we called Kyeggie, Paulo, Plougher, etc esp as we are yet to recover from the news of his passing that struck us on the night of Tuesday 14th April 2020 and caused great sorrow to us, many of whom had first met Paulo soon after we joined St Mary's College Kisubi [SMACK] as young Teenagers in Senior One on Monday 18th February 1985. We thank God for the opportunity to have experienced our formative years with him.
Looking back to the time we first met in early 1985, it was immediately clear why Paulo had come out as the 2nd best Pupil in the Primary Leaving Examinations of 1984 as he went on to dominate us in Academics. One of the things that struck me the most was how hard he worked to excel in Academics esp from Day 1 of the School Term as many of us often tended to "chillax" and then waited to study very hard from "first principles" very close to the end of Term by studying late into the night or even the whole night [what we called transnights] or waking up very early in the morning usually between 3am and 4am to study [what we called "banging early birds" following on from the old English Proverb of "the early bird catches the worm"] yet Paulo as well as others such as Dr Samson Kironde a.k.a. Sox, Dr Dickson Opul a.k.a. Opeluxy, Frederick Kasadha a.k.a. "Fred the Mathematical Fly", etc who were like him i.e. having studied from Day 1 of the School Term would be chilling at that time simply revising from their carefully written summary notes - what we called "data" from studying throughout the Term incl already solved questions [what we called "cut numbers"] from the ends of the Topics in the Text Books such as the famous Physics Textbook by Abbott or the Pure Maths Textbook by Backhouse! It's something that I am trying instil in both our Children and the Children of Family & Friends I interact with [much to the Children's chagrin I dare say] but hopefully the habits will be formed and stick well into their Adulthood.
The other thing that struck me was Kyeggie's great humility despite his being very gifted - he almost always went the extra mile to encourage us his Class Mates to seek to be the best that we could be by reminding us that we were indeed very capable and hence need not be despondent when we had suffered setbacks esp in our Academics but rise up instead and work even harder to excel, and was thus very receptive when approached by other Students to explain things that they hadn't understood in Class. He also went ahead to occasionally correct some Teachers when they may have "mis-explained" some topics - not all Teachers took it well and he was once chased out of a Maths Class ... luckily, the Teacher later realized that Paulo was right.
Whereas a lot has been said about Paulo's academic excellence, what is not said as much is how he still found time to be a very active Sportsman plus a Cartoonist given how hard he actually worked to excel in Academics! We shared the same Class Stream from S2 to S6 where his more mischievious side came to light as he used his passion and skill in Fine Art to draw what are akin to today's "Editorial Cartoons" in the Newspapers, to capture the topical issues of the day for young Students in School - such as who did what faux pas on the Sports Field; which School House had lost or won a Tournament; how different Students fared at the "Socials", Seminars, Trips, etc; who had had a run in with the Teachers or School Administration; etc but then took the "precaution" to name the Cartoons as "Not Him"even if it was clear to all and sundry who was being caricatured! Most times the "victims" used to laugh it off and his Cartoons [as well as those of our other Class Mates Noah Edwin Mwesigwa a.k.a. Sodium and Alfred Julius Agaba a.k.a. Alfredo] came to be something we would look out for.
The measure of the man indeed who abided by the SMACK's Motto "Duc in Altum"meaning "Launch into the Deep"! He always sought to excel in whatever endeavour he embarked on while keeping a healthy balance between academics and non academics as well as keeping in touch, and this is something we can honour him by via emulating him.
We, and others who have been around Paulo over the years, have truly stood on the shoulders of a giant and we will do our best to be good Uncles, Guardians, Mentors, etc to his dear Son Solomon.
Fare thee well, Paulo! May your soul rest in eternal peace!
|Chicago by Paul Kyegombe|
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