A Tribute to our Colleague, Mentor and Friend, Associate Professor Christopher ZigiraCollins Mann
John Michael Edoru
Quality Assurance Unit, Kabale University
I am greatly humbled to write this tribute to Associate Professor Christopher Zigira — a friend, colleague, teacher, scholar, educational administrator, Dean of Education, husband, father, mentor, counsel, and advocate to name a few attributes. In whatever role we knew him, from whatever vantage point, he stood apart as someone special!
I first met Christopher just as I was facing the interview panel to consider me for the post I hold. He was a member of the University Appointments Board. His special leadership abilities and charismatic personality were readily apparent! It was clear that he had an outstanding career as an educational leader. He had after all demonstrated it when he taught Religious Studies at Makerere University and later at the University of Swaziland from where he returned to Uganda and joined Kabale University. I take pride in having gone for my doctoral studies as he did to the University of South Africa in Pretoria, never mind that we did so at different times. My working time with Professor was a point of departure in our longstanding professional friendship and I later taught on part-time basis at the Faculty of Education under his leadership.
Christopher was committed to research focused on empowering folks to understand religion and as it applies to contemporary situations and as opposed to dogmatic teachings. He had special love for the synoptic gospels from where I believe he read about John Mark which name he often erroneously called me by, yet I am John Michael. Kabale University, Makerere University, University of Swaziland, Kisoro, Rwentobo, Makanga and I believe elsewhere, he was passionate about enabling mankind to live fulfilling and empowered lives. He was a transformational leader and change agent who had great dreams of what public education could be. He had a gift of innovative thinking, a visionary spirit, and the tenacious patience required to successfully lead meaningful educational reform through teaching religion and tradition. Having observed those qualities in Christopher, the Head of Department Science Education under Faculty of Education had this to say about the fallen Professor: “Christopher had a credible, authentic and reliable leadership ability. He was all inclusive and consolidated solidarity and professionalism in the Faculty. He left a legacy of no trauma among staff and students”.
This latter comment that was endorsed by many other faculty staff members reveals that Christopher’s contribution to educational reform extended well beyond his home environment! In addition to his devotion to his work and to the improvement of education locally and globally, Christopher always found time for his colleagues, his friends, his family, the Rotary Club and All Saints Church where I met him every Sunday morning. It was a privilege for me to have been a part of Christopher’s life although much too short.
Farewell Professor Zigira!