Victoria University, whose Vice Chancellor Dr. Lawrence Muganga recently grabbed headlines as a victim of human rights abuse by Uganda’s security forces, is back in the news.
This time, the University has stirred controversy for choosing to name foul-mouthed socialite Shanita Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black, as the University’s Brand Ambassador for one year.
But the decision has not gone down well with an overwhelming majority of Uganda’s elites who believe the self-professed prostitute is the wrong choice as a Brand Ambassador or role model for an institution, more so a University. This came when Bad Black enrolled for two certificate courses in English and Digital Marketing at the University.
Many have castigated VU and its leadership led by Muganga for trying to seek popularity at all costs.
The furious debate has not spared media houses, which members of Uganda’s elite society have accused for promoting sleaze in entertainment shows as well as in music.
But others have jumped to the defense of Muganga and team with arguments that the job of the university is to transform ‘bad’ characters into responsible members of society.
Indeed Muganga emphasized this very point in a statement in which he sought to portray University as a temple of reformation whose doors are open to sinners and non sinners.
He emphasized the fact that Shanitah seeks to become a better person and perhaps quit the dark world, by acquiring an education as a digital marketer. As a university whose job is to transform society, Muganga defended his institution’s decision to accept her.
But perhaps, the bone of contention for many was not about enroll Bad Black but instead to raise her as the face of the university.
Victoria University has also received backing from other circles, with those in favour arguing that, not only does Bad Black help to raise the visibility of the university, but also that those who criticize Bad Black are simply judging her unfairly.
Supporters of Victoria University’s move say the institution is playing its rightful role of changing society by picking the ‘wretched of the earth’ and try to mold them into useful human beings.
Below is the abridged statement sent out by VU’s Vice Chancellor to clear the air about Bad Black’s new role.
This communication re-affirms our initial and continued position that Ms. Namuyimbwa is our Brand Ambassador. The University, has to this effect signed a Memorandum of Understanding with her.
We have explained to her responsibilities and obligations. We are here to be part of a new chapter, in her life and she committed herself to us and the public.
We also explained that Victoria University has an innate mandate to transform society through providing quality and meaningful education that works for everyone without discrimination or segregation. We believe that everyone who wants to better himself or herself is a valuable member of society should be given a chance to change and evolve into the person society and the family can benefit from.
Ms. Namuyimbwa came to Victoria with an overwhelming desire to better herself and become a decent contributing member of society and a role model to her children,
For those who don’t know, Ms. Namuyimbwa is a mother four incredible children that she loves so much like any parent should always do. As a mother, she yearns to become their good role model as she continues to raise them into responsible citizens of this country.
Society knows very well Ms. Shanitah’s inequities, she understands them as well, and she is remorseful about it. That is why she is trying her best to walk away from her past into a better transformed Shanitah Namuyimbwa that her children and society can be proud of as a mother, sister, advisor and friend to many.
Uganda is famously known for her generosity when it comes to supporting the vulnerable, for example receiving refugees who escape persecution to seek better life and Ugandans being a warm and hospitable population, they welcome these refugees with open hands to give them a second chance in life. Victoria University is emulating this culture of supporting the vulnerable – and those in need in this country of ours.
It was against the above background that Ms. Shanitah Namuyimbwa reached out to us seeking our support to help her become a better person.
Ms. Shanitah Namuyimbwa expressed her passionate desire to pursue two short courses at Victoria University and her priority courses were English and Digital Marketing.
Ms. Shanitah has a goal of becoming a fluent English speaker and Digital Marketing Guru, and that is how Victoria University comes in to help her like any other Ugandan to realize such an incredible dream and becoming a decent contributing member of society.
Therefore Victoria University calls upon the public to join us in transforming lives and education, join us in helping those in need, join us in supporting the vulnerable and kindly join us in rehabilitating those that are broken.
Let us not judge others; we should leave that to God because he is Mighty.