The Bird’s-eye view: Greater good requires concerted efforts

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ALEX TAREMWA

Hanging around a representative sample of UCU staff has revealed two perception extremes. There is a section that is passionate about the university and work wholeheartedly every day to see it prosper.

There is also another section whose association with the university is simply an opportunity to get paid at the end of the month.Sadly, the latter are the majority.

To illustrate this, let us refer to the results of the survey conducted by the Career Development and Placement office among 500 new students, representing a quarter of the registered students.

When asked about how they got to know about UCU, 11.2 percent credited career outreaches, 11.4 per cent the press, 22.2 per cent through students and staff of UCU and 55.2 per cent had heard of UCU through friends and relatives who have no history with the university.

From the above statistics, one would wonder how external forces (friends and relatives) can account for the biggest percentage of information to new students, more than staff and students who arguably have a better understanding of the university within which they work and study.

Secondly, how come the media contributes less numbers despite the university’s continued investment in commercial advertisement over the years? And how can these millions of shillings be redirected for better output?

An overriding reaction may be that the university has not invested a lot in its students and staff to partake of the marketing processes. In so doing, the students and staff see marketing as the sole responsibility of the Marketing, Communications and Public Relations offices.

When crisis hits, it becomes easier for a student or staff member to press their ‘ignore’ button and pass on responsibility for cleaning up the mess to the above mentioned offices.

In the short term, this “as long as I get paid attitude” can be sustained but as the effects sink in, especially in the light of dwindling student numbers, is this attitude tenable?

Is it not time for the university administration to adopt an intra-marketing approach through which it can motivate its major stakeholders: students and staff, to promote and defend its image as people who have something to lose?

What if part of what is invested in the newspapers and TV commercials was to be redirected into making students and staff feel significantly involved in the making of university policies so that when the need to discuss them arises, they do not begin pointing fingers elsewhere?

Superimposing policies and resolutions hatched in exclusive boardrooms is what has caused students and staff to feel alienated in policy formulation and implementation. Instead of being contributors, the stakeholders are merely shock absorbers of the outcomes.

If I did not know any better, I would say that this is what caused the strike that resulted in the expulsion of some students last semester. It did not have to get to that had the students been involved in the dialogue process and reasons for the increment explained.

The bigger picture requires a combined effort of students and staff to sail the university to greater heights in their respective capacities. This, however, has to be done in unison, not discord.

Alex is the Managing Editor of The Transparent Magazine, formerly The Standard’s Features Editor.

‘My success is a testimony’- Kagimba

 

martha-kkBY BRIGHT NIWAHA AND ELIZABETH AMONGIN

Videos of a young woman mimicking singers have, for the last three months, been making the rounds on social media sites. The author and protagonist, Martha Kagimba, is a photographer and comedienne who gained popularity in August this year when a video of her testifying about being nearly knocked by her dream car (the Range Rover) was posted on Facebook.

She has since posted videos of her mimicking Irene Ntale and Sheebah Karungi who are both Ugandan musicians. The 21-year-old has completed her Mass Communication degree at Uganda Christian University, talked to The Standard. “I had no idea that the videos would receive attention from various organisations like the Bill Gates Foundation, musicians and comedians like Anne Kansiime.

I shot the (Range Rover) video for my brother, and I did not initially want to post it on social media. But surprisingly, I woke up the following day to be told that the video had many views,” Kagimba said. That and other videos have brought Kagimba so much fame that she is currently an ambassador of the ‘Fly’ campaign under the Bill Gates Foundation.

The campaign is aimed at showing teenagers that one can achieve one’s goals by pursuing one’s talents. “When one of the campaign’s bosses contacted me about being their ambassador, I hesitated because I was scared that I could not manage the task but after a lot of convincing I accepted the deal.”

Early life

Kagimba was born in Nairobi and raised in Nakasero, Kampala. Born to Margaret and Jessy Kagimba, she is the lastborn of four children. She went to Kabojja Junior School, St Mary’s College Namagunga School, and Kabojja International School before joining Uganda Christian University to pursue a degree in Mass Communication.

Passion for photography

On her 18th birthday, Kagimba’s elder sister asked her what she wanted as a birthday present. “I wanted a phone tablet that could take pictures but my sister suggested that I get a professional camera. She bought me a camera and that was the beginning of my work in photography. I also studied in Haiti for my Senior Six and photography was among the extra activities we would do,” she explains.

Kagimba had no plans of taking photography more seriously though, and she did not enjoy her first internship duties at The New Vision as a photographer. “I preferred artistic photography than journalism photography whose pictures are about news events.”

“When I went for internship at the World Vision, I had the opportunity to take pictures for the organisation. This prompted some of my relatives to encourage me to do photography on a professional level. That is how Martha Kay Photography was born,” she said.

“At the World Vision’s public relations department, I took pictures out of love, not as a source of income. People begun asking me if I would cover their ceremonies like, graduation ceremonies, weddings and this is how it started as business,” Kagimba adds.

Pursuing excellence

Kagimba narrates that while in O-level, she was a poor academic performer and this demoralised her. She painfully recalls that she was always among the last people in her class. In her family, she was looked at as a failure. “My brothers and sisters were always performing well. I had the worst grades, some aunties of mine even used to laugh at my mother,” she says.

“One time my mother was called to the headmistress’ office due to my poor academic performance. She asked me, “Do you think I am going to take care of you for the rest of your life?’ I went back to the dormitory and cried. I felt like a failure, and I was depressed.”

She says that during this period of depression and rejection, she turned to God and read many inspirational books, which helped her to deal with the depression. “I used to read the Bible and other inspirational books.

By the time I came back to Uganda to pursue a degree in Mass Communication, I loved God more than anything that I even forfeited the freshers’ ball for overnight prayers,” she said. Kagimba adds that when she joined the university she still had the fear for failure, but prayers and obedience to God kept her focused.

When the first coursework assignment was returned and the lecturer asked who Martha Kagimba was, she got scared. “I thought that I was the last again, but the lecturer insisted and I raised my hand. He then said my work was the best. This changed my perspective about everything,” Kagimba narrates.

“Recently I was told that I attained a first- class degree but I did not believe it until I saw the results. This is a testimony – God is proving something!” she said.

Mentor and role models

“I have mentors in photography and I continue to learn a lot from them. These include Edgar Arinaitwe, the director of Events Guru Photography; and Lovington Kambugu of Blush Media.”

“When I started the photography firm, I knew how to take photos in a professional way because of the lessons I learnt from them,” she said, adding that she looks up to Dr Monica Chibita, the head of the Mass Communication department and Ben Kiruthi, a Kenyan photographer.

“My future plans include opening up a photo studio next year, as well as starting up an events management company,” she concludes.

God’s image through your intellect

Man’s intellect is perhaps the strongest distinguishing attribute, for it sets him apart from https://thestandarducu.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/page-9.jpg?w=1462plants, and other animals. Unlike man, the other animals do not go to school, or undertake courses and programmes of study. They show no propensity to specialize in their knowledge nor do they write examinations.

This superior intellect tells us something vitally important about man’s incalculable worth in the created order.

When the Creator of all things, the Lord of earth and heaven, thought to create something in his image, he made man – male and female! The magnificence of the stars in the universe and the majesty of animals do not display such splendour as you do – created in God’s image. What an unfathomable thought!

This image may be flawed by sin and illness, weakness or disability, but each is no less stamped: “Created in the image of God”. This is true of every tribe and race, of the unborn child, the comatose patient, and the mentally handicapped. C o n s e q u e n t l y , Christians must abhor volitional abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Even tribalism belittles God’s precious creation. All this is injustice, which dishonors man, who is created in the image of God.

This image is in male and female equally, expressed through our gender categories. Since God is not comparable to our gender categories, imago dei , as theologians call it, is not gender related. To think in those categories is to wrongly infer that God is in our likeness. Prof. Wayne Grudem explains that “imago dei” means that “man is like God and represents God, but is not identical with God”. Churches that claim ‘identity with God’, that we are ‘gods’, propagate a heresy. To be ‘like’ is to show evidence of that likeness. Our knowledge of this likeness will always be partial because our knowledge of God is partial.

However, this image in us is the worth of who we are, our core identity; it is our distinguishing mark. Remove it, and evolution, materialism, pantheism, suicide bombing, and all the religious ‘isms’ make sense! We become comparable to other creation, leading meaningless lives.

Let me explore five ways in which this imago dei is made manifest:

We bear spiritual likeness to God. Man is incurably religious. All cultures have a form of religious expressionism.We pray and engage in rituals to connect with a higher being. The image longs for its divine nexus. It seeks after its life source.

  • Our moral likeness to God, the longing for righteousness and holiness. There is an innate sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, in each of us. Every human community has standards of right and wrong, and breaking them leads to feelings of guilt and fear of punishment.
  • Our relational likeness to God, imaging the trinity relationship, one God, three persons. Our sense of community and social intercourse is superior. Our social dynamics generate shared visions and lead to mutual growth and development. l
  • Physical likeness to God, God is spirit but He is nevertheless visible through our physicality. He is a God who sees; so we see too. We hear as he hears, we speak as he speaks, and express many other attributes of God through our physical members. Besides, we bear children physically in our likeness as he created us in his likeness. l
  • Finally, we bear intellectual likeness to God. Jesus is called the logos, the word of God, for our God knows all things and works through reason. So, man too is endowed with the ability to reason, to think logically, to learn and to create. He grows in knowledge and his creativity is far superior to other animals.

If you observe and study the world around you, you clearly see reason, the mind of God, behind its set-up. He made us in his image to bear a mind of reason like the original! He gave us an inquiring mind with which we study the intricacies of the created order.

We go to the university and spend hours discussing and arguing about complex things to grow in understanding. We want to know as God knows! We create and produce beauty, art, music, and literature, the sciences and technology. We were created in his image to use our intellect to create, as he the Creator, created all things “very good.”