The extraordinary rise of the Archibishop-elect
Rev. Samuel Stephen Kazimba Mugalu was last year elected as the 9th Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda and will replace retiring Archbishop Stanley Ntagali.
But the journey for Bishop Kazimba’s rise to the highest office in the powerful Anglican church is a captivating tale of perseverance, endurance and God’s power to change calamity into opportunity.
Samuel Kazimba was born to Basweri Kaddu, a polygamous father, in 1962 at Gulama, Najja Kyaggwe – Buikwe district. In fact his father not only was he polygamous, he had his wives under the same roof.
While speaking to Wolokoso Extra, an online channel, Dr. Kazimba recalls that the number of wives for his father varied while they were young, depending on the season. “If it was a harvest time, he would marry another wife.”
Kazimba’s mother, now the late Jessica Nanyonjo, got ‘married’ to Kaddu in similar circumstances. It didn’t take long however for her to realize she was being used and abused by her polygamous husband. She walked out with her young son at around the age of 3, and went to Kampala to start a new life.
She rented a one roomed shark in Katwe where she begun to sell stuff in the market to ake a living. If Katwe market is still one of Kampala’s poorest and filthy neighborhoods, imagine what it was like back then.
She struggled but succeeded to educate the young Kazimba until he completed his primary seven. This was despite amid serious financial hardships that didn’t afford the young Kazimba the privilege of wearing shoes to school.
After primary, his mother put him on a bus to Kyaggwe to look for his father. Her objective was to seek financial support to enable her son advance for secondary studies. She was disappointed when he returned empty handed, save for the few pawpaws and mangoes he carried.
She sought help from Kazimba’s uncle, a one Emmanuel Mukasa who accepted to take him in his house. Mukasa was a farmer and beer brewer for the then popular locally produced Mwengebigere that is brewed from bananas and sorghum.
He taught the young Kazimba the values of hard work an avenue for one’s sustenance. As he narrated: “He taught me how to work. I would dig in gardens, go to school and returned home to brew beer in the evening.”
He was fortunate to complete senior four successfully, despite the difficulties. The curse of school fees shortage returned after his senior four exams as Mukasa could not afford to take him for further studies.
Hardened by the previous domestic routine, Kazimba didn’t find it hard to look for manual jobs including digging in people’s gardens, brewing to ake out a living.
In the midst of nowhere, he was advised by a friend to start to frequent church as a means to finding a suitor. He -initially resisted the idea, on grounds that in Church they talked about a ‘Father’ as Christians, refer to God. His resentment for his biological father, for not educating him, formed a basis for resenting anything by that title.
Amidst huge hesitation, he accepted to go to church. A powerful sermon that talked about the unending love of God, which was delivered by the priest, helped to reassure him.
“Because of the vacuum I had arising from the absentee father, I found the sermon fulfilling and reassuring. And on March 7, 1984 at 9:00AM, I gave my life to Christ, fully,” Bishop Kazimba recalls with glee.
Acceptance of Jesus endeared him to the church activities including participating in the choir but also in helping an elderly priest.
After about one year of commitment to church, he was spotted by the elders as a potential priest and was recommended to the Baskerville Theological college in Ngogwe Mukono where he started his priestly journey formally as a student lay leader.
He started missionary work at St. Peter’s Church Lugazi, before he enrolled for a provincial certificate course at Uganda Martys Seminary in 1988, and after three years, he was ordained as a catechist by the late Bishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo.
He recalls engaging in a number of activities to raise money for survival which included selling charcoal and brew local beers.
Between 1990-1994, he served as Assistant Vicar at Nakibizzi Parish.
1994 – 1996, he completed his Diploma in Theology at Bishop Tucker College.
Between 1997 – 2000, he served as Parish priest at Katente Parish.
2000 – 2001, he was posted to Mukono Diocess as Vicar and here he was made Acting Provost of Mukono Cathedral.
2002 to 2003, he completed his Master’s Degree in theology at Western Theological seminary, USA. In 2004, he was confirmed as the provost of St. Philip and Andrew‘s Cathedral Mukono.
2004 – 2007, he embarked on his Doctorate of Ministry at Western Seminary USA and also made a Canon in 2007 by Bishop Elia Paul Luzinda Kizito.
He became the 4th Bishop of Mityana Diocese on October 26, 2008 replacing Bishop Dr. Dunstan Kopriano Bukenya
And after 11 eventful years at Mityana, Kazimba was elected by the House of Bishops as the ninth Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.