Very few teachers escape being nicknamed by their students. But even fewer are those that will mention their nicknames with pride such as a one Rehoboam Kakinda Sekaddu, a retired teacher of English Language and Literature in English. Sekaddu, 81, was nicknamed “moving dictionary” by his students at Kako Senior Secondary School in Masaka District who were mesmerised by his exceptional teaching of English language and Literature in English. During his 38 years of service at the school, students were surprised by how fast he would give them meaning of most English words including their proper pronunciation.
But the retired teacher credits his exceptional teaching to Busoga College, Mwiri where he attended A-Level in 1957. “The teaching staff was uniquely recruited. Fourteen of the teachers were British. Only five were Ugandans,” stresses Sekaddu.
He says it is this background that shaped him into an exceptional teacher and administrator at Masaka Technical Institute where he kicked off his teaching career as a teacher of English and Liberal studies, before joining Kako in 1973.
Sekaddu was born at Nangoma, then Kiyebe Sub-county, Kanabulemu, Buddu County on November 17, 1937, to Suleman Kakinda and Georgina Fereki. He started school at Kiyebe Primary School in Nangoma and after Primary Four moved to Kako Primary School in Masaka District. He later joined Kako Junior Secondary and after passing Junior Secondary leaving exams in 1956, he joined Busoga College, Mwiri.
From Mwiri, he Joined Government Teachers College, Kyambogo (1961-1962) and was posted to Masaka Technical Institute as head of English and Liberal Studies.
In 1973, however, new duty came calling and Sekaddu joined Kako Senior Secondary School first as a teacher of English and Literature as well as librarian and compound master.
“The trees I planted are now a forest,” he recalls fondly. But more than just the trees, Sekaddu is happy to say that some of his students followed in his footsteps and became teachers of English language.
For instance Ankole Diocese Bishop Dr Sheldon Mwesigwa taught English language at Secondary school level before quitting to advance his studies and join priesthood.
“I was inspired to become an English Language teacher practicing first at Kibubura Girls Senior Secondary School in Ibanda Town and later Ntare School in Mbarara Town,” Rt Rev Dr Mwesigwa says.
But Sekaddu also recalls how difficult teaching became for him during the days of Idi Amin affecting schools in the long run. “When Amin expelled foreigners, Kako was badly affected because it had many Asian teachers,” he says.
Driven by passion
Despite the crisis, the retired teacher notes that they pushed and some teachers had to take on any subject they were able to handle.
“I took on Luganda, Music and Christian Religious Education for almost a year,” Sekaddu recounts wondering if many of the teachers today have such passion.
He notes that it is such passion and bravery that saw Kako remain afloat academic excellence and co-curricular activities. He was in 1973 appointed head of English department and later deputy Head teacher in 1974.
Consequently, he says the school became popular because of excelling in co-curricular and academics.”Kako became an outstanding school attracting students from other regions such as western Uganda like Gen Caleb Akandwaho (Salim Saleh),” he recounts.
Sekaddu never at one point tried to quit the profession until 1993 when he clocked retirement age. However, because of the vacuum he would create in the English department at Kako at the time, the then head teacher, Rev Gideon Jjunju, requested him to postpone retirement.
Sekaddu, therefore, continued teaching until 2008 when he could not teach any more following a medical procedure that weakened him physically.
In 1966/67 he enrolled for a Diploma in Education, Associate of the College of Preceptors, London and completed in 1967.
In 1968 he joined Makerere University for Bachelors in Literature and graduated in 1971.