Feature

Voice of Uganda’s broadcast icon Okoku Obomba goes silent

Obomba was among the founders of the UCU journalism and communications programs.

By Jimmy Siyasa
A master story teller and resourceful member of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) community has rested. Celebrated Ugandan broadcaster and academic Remegious Okoku Obomba died on September 25. He was 64 years old.

Obomba was among the founders of the UCU journalism and communications programs.  Until his death, he was the coordinator of internships at UCU’s Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, where he also served in the capacity of Senior Lecturer. 

Family of Remigious Okoku Obomba at the funeral service organized at UCU.
Family of Remigious Okoku Obomba at the funeral service organized at UCU.

Obomba played a pivotal role in developing the maiden curriculum for the Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communication at UCU, according to the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, Prof. Monica Chibita. 

During his decades-long tenure at UCU, Obomba taught several course units, including Effective Public Speaking, Introduction to Mass Communication, Broadcast News Reporting and Current Affairs, Media Theory and Media Literacy.

“He was deeply committed and dependable. To the best of my memory, Mr. Obomba never turned away an assignment,” Chibita wrote in her eulogy. “He took his work seriously. He was willing to teach unpopular course units like Media Theory, when other lecturers avoided them…he built bridges with the media industry as he coordinated our internship program for many years.”

One of Obomba’s daughters and a former student, Laura Cenge, breaks down while giving a speech at the funeral.
One of Obomba’s daughters and a former student, Laura Cenge, breaks down while giving a speech at the funeral.

Often dressed in loose-fitting wear, Obomba would come off as old-fashioned from the perspective of many students. Even if he had known that that is what they thought of him, Obomba cared less. His simplicity, however, contradicted the exploits he had made in his more than four decades of a journalism career.

Before joining UCU, Obomba worked at Uganda’s public broadcaster, Radio Uganda, where he rose up to the rank of editor.

Another founding member of the Department of Mass Communication at UCU, Dr. Jackson Turyagenda, narrated how they hatched the plan to start a journalism course at the institution. 

“We used to discuss most of the plans to start a course in mass communication at UCU inside a commuter taxi on our way home,” the 80-year-old Turyagenda said. 

Obomba’s youngest daughter, Lorah Cenge, was one of his students at undergraduate level. Cenge, who is currently working as a graduate trainee at UCU’s Africa Policy Center, told the mourners during a funeral service at UCU’s multi-purpose Nkoyoyo Hall how her father often encouraged them to pursue graduate studies. 

“My father’s death caught us all by surprise,” she added.

Background
Obomba has been married to Joanita Ngabiroch Obomba since 1986. The couple had nine children. Obomba and Joanita, both media practitioners, met at Radio Uganda in 1985. 

Obomba attended St. Joseph’s College Ombaci, in northwestern Uganda for O’level, before switching to St. Peter’s College, Tororo, in eastern Uganda for A’level. In 1981, he graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, majoring in international relations.

Five years later, Obomba enrolled for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education at Makerere University. In 1994, he graduated with a Master of Arts in Journalism from Cardiff University in Wales, United Kingdom.

He was laid to rest on September 30, 2021, at his ancestral home in Nebbi district, northwestern Uganda. 

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