Ham Mukasa Ssekibobo Of Buganda

Ham Mukasa Foundation

Life history

                                  THE STORY OF HAM MUKASA



The Ugandan Dream




”A Scholar who never went to school…….”



 The biography of Ham Mukasa Ssekibobo of Buganda

            An inspiration of the Ugandan dream


Ham Mukasa


In the year 1871 the exact date is unknown- a man Zakaria Sensalire and Nyakazana gave

birth to a son called Mukasa, who later was known as Ham Mukasa. Mukasa showed early promise of greatness. He did not attend a school but acquired his education and knowledge through his own extensive reading.


Mukasa came into close contact with the early European missonaries when they visited

Kabaka Mutesa 1, and through them he had access to many people, from whom he learnt



He was always eager for knowledge and quick to take in new ideas. Once he undertook

Something, he would pre on it until its done. He never left anything half done.




Name:                         Ham Mukasa


Other name(s):          Rwamujonjoza


Chieftainship:            Ssekibobo, Sazza chief of Kyaggwe


Buganda govt:           Member, Buganda Lukiiko (Buganda Parliament)


Assigned title:           Sekibobo of Buganda


Office location:          Mukono, Kyaggwe


Job description:         County Chief of Kyaggwe County


Significant role:          Ham Mukasa was one of the Baganda Chiefs who were at the forefront

He contributed a lot towards modernisation of the Kingdom of Buganda and Uganda as a whole, through introducing modern education, health, agriculture and mostly the Christianity. He was a steadfast administrator and served his God and country diligently. He was well respected amongst his peers and after.



Date of Birth:                        1871


Place of Birth:           Singo


Father’s name:          Zachary Kiwanuka Sensalire


Mother’s name:        Nyakazana (from the Ankole Royal Clan of Bahiima).


Clan (Omuziro):         Njovu


Marital Status:           On 26 th,march 1894 Ham Mukasa married Hannah Mawemuko the daughter of Mukasa (a former Katiikiro of Buganda). They got four Children and one of hisdaughters is the grandmother of King Ronald muweda Mutebi II, the Kabaka of Buganda. When Hannah died in 1919, Ham Mukasa married  Sarah Nabikolo the daughter of Musajjalumbwa ( former Muwanika of Buganda- Minister of finance) and they got 10(ten) children. Ham Mukasa left several grand children including the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi.

Education:                  no formal education but he was one of the first young boys to be taught how to read and write at Natete by the first missonaries in Uganda led by Mackay Alexander just before the turn of the nineteenth century. He was often referred to as “ scholar who never went to school…”


Work Experience:      At the time of his youth, most people with positions of responsibility in the society used to send their children, especially sons to grow up and serve in the Kabaka’s Palace (Lubiri). This was to enable them to learn the ways and traits of managing society so that when they grew up, they would take up the leadership roles. As Ham Mukasa grew up in the Lubiri and while there christainity was introduced.


Ham Mukasa was quick to take on and accept the new faith together with many of his peers. Kabaka Mwanga that all the young men who had followed the young faith and converted to Chriatianity were to be arrested and sentenced to death by being burnt alive. Ham Mukasa was one of the young men but happened to be at the time out in the country side at the time of the order. When he returned his father, who had been instructed to look for his Christian son or else he would be killed instead, courageously presented him to the King (Kabaka).


The King asked Ham Mukasa whether he was a Christian and he replied that he was. The King (Kabaka) was impressed with the young man’s courage together with the honesty of his father and he granted him clemency. His peers, the Christians were killed at Namugongo and they are now known as the Martyrs of Uganda.

Later he became the Private Secretary of Katiikiro of Buganda in 1900, Sir Apollo Kaggwa, and he accomplainied him to England in 1901 to attend the coronation King Edward VII of Great Britain. During the trip he maintained a diary where he recorded all about the journey to England. On their return, he wrote a book out of his records called “ The Uganda katiikiro in England”, by Ham Mukasa. This book has now been re-published under the title “Sir Apollo Kaggwa Discovers England”.In many bookshops in Europe and online. ( www.amazon.co.uk)

He wrote a number of books and articles in many journals on Africa. Some of these are currently used in schools and some of his writings are still at the Makerere University Library.





Reading was Ham Mukasa’s biggest hobby of all and he read all sorts of books on different subjects ranging from Christianity, history, science, geography and Politics to Astronomy.  He had a telescope which he would frequently set up on clear nights to gaze into the sky much to the amazement and awe of all. He was an avid reader, and when he was not drafting or dictating letters, he used to bury himself in books.


He was an average musician, having a good voice and an ability to the Kiganda lute, organ, accordion, xylophones, harp and many others. When in good mood he sang Kiganda, kisoga or kisese songs, mainly sea shanties, which he accompanied himself. He also wrote words of his own to fit the music. He also made sure that his children picked up interest in music and arranged for them to learn to play musical instruments including the piano, guitar and other traditional ones. Indeed, all the children became very musical.


Hunting. He was a good marks-man and very fond of hunting birds, animals and his home was full of trophies.

At a set hour each day he chose someone to read for him as many newspapers as possible, to keep him informed of the current news.


He had a particular interest in measuring and estimating distances. For instance, he would often take a tape measure to determine the distance between two objects, or he would try to estimate the distance between his door steps and the boundary of  his garden. He remembered by heart the measurements of each room in his houses. In his garden he marked off various distances by poles of different sizes connected to each other by strings of different colours. He went as far as measuring how much rain has fallen and recorded it.




In addition to his local language Luganda, he spoke fluent Swahili, English and Runyankole.




He retired in 1935 as Ssekibobo of Kyaggwe county having been the longest serving Ssaza chief in the history of Buganda in one county without transfer. He personally wrote a letter to Kabaka on 24th,november 1931 requesting for his retirement on 31st, December 1931, to which the Kabaka replied on the 26th , nov 1931, “ that he understood and he was to send the message to the honourable governor ”. Copy attached

Died in 1956


Missed by many people Ham Mukasa died on 29th,  march 1956. He was then buried at Namirembe Cathedral church of Uganda where he rests. ( see photo album)  He was then succeeded by his oldest son James Hannigton Mukasa.

Create a Free Website