Last Saturday scores of Ntare School old boys converged on Rebero hill about five kilometers south of Nyamata town to join residents in the monthly Umuganda.
Rebero is a rather rocky hill with a lovely view of Bugesera plains to the East and South, situated in Mayange sector of Nyamata district.
The OBs from Kigali with hundreds of residents led by local leadership including Mayor Mr. Louis Rwagaju, area army commander Lt. Col. Kakira and Mayange Executive Secretary Mr. Nkurunziza did a good job clearing the bush on a site where the OBs are planning to build a model secondary school.
The Ntare School Old Boys association, NSOBA, plans to contribute to the development of education in the country by sponsoring a model school characterized by academic excellence, according to the founding chairman of the association Mr. Fidele Rwigamba.
The veteran teacher/ administrator said that sponsoring a school is a noble gesture that blends well with NSOBA commitment to giving back to society what “we received from society in not only the same measure but more”.
That certainly echoes William Shakespeare. “Look, this Muganda reminds me of the Saturday duties at Ntare School which involved all students in cleaning the school environment in a sprit of healthy competition” said another OB.
This healthy competition did not stop at house (dormitory) competitions for cleanliness but extended to other activities like sports, debate, dance, drama, and was more evident in academic pursuits.
That Ntare School was an academic giant, at least in the seventies which I remember well, is beyond doubt. If my memory serves me well, in 1970 it was ranked among the best performers in East Africa at Ordinary level examinations and at the Advanced Level of Education in 1972.
The alumni of Ntare school speak volumes about the quality of education; President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, high profile politicians in both countries, civil servants, prominent scientist and academics who have rendered invaluable service not only Uganda and Rwanda but the world over.
Ntare School has produced Industry Leaders, and the men who inspire us: Poets and writers like Laban Erapu, Richard Ntiru and John Ruganda (RIP) to mention a few.
As usual the Rebero communal work was followed by a brief meeting in which Mr. Charles Gahima, the NSOBA chairman Rwanda chapter, and the Mayor underscored the significance of the partnership of Bugesera people and NSOBA in the co ownership of Ntare School Rwanda.
The prospects of quality education and employment opportunities received resounding applause from Bugeserians.
With another Ntare school at Rebero-Nyamata, the old school could face stiff competition from the young sibling when fully fledged, if the solidarity of Ntare OBs and the enthusiasm exhibited by members in the meeting after the Saturday muganda at Gacaca Bar &r Restaurant in Nyamata town is anything to go by.
The camaraderie that characterized the meeting dominated by altruistic values and readiness to community service, NSOBA Rwanda Chapter is a promising group and with the high energy young men like Ntabwoba a student at KIST and the wisdom of elder OBs like Professor Geoffrey Rugege, experts in Engineering, Finance and of course our accomplished social mobilizer Hon. Eng. Protais Musoni we expect nothing but the very best.
Ntare school alumni have substantial achievements to be emulated .The association has established the Crichton scholarship fund (named after the founding Headmaster William Crichton), that sponsors outstanding students from the school to world class universities for higher education.
The funds are raised through NSOBA membership contributions and through net working the lucky boys are placed in appropriate faculties under ideal mentorship. The fund is open to Rwanda boys who are studying at Ntare School as it is earned through open competition.
Although Ntare is a public school, NSOBA has contributed to the modernization of the school. A 1000 capacity ultra modern hall and a three storey block housing computer laboratories, library and class rooms have changed the face of the old school, thanks to NSOBA.
I look forward to the forthcoming fundraising event bringing together NSOBA members from Uganda, Rwanda and the Diaspora for a worthy cause of establishing Ntare School Rwanda.
It should be another Bugenyi (weekend bull dance where the lions shed off academic fatigue) where our brothers from Uganda will feel at Rwanda the way I felt at home in Mbarara during that crucial period of my life. Murakaza neza murisanga
My grandson who will be joining secondary school in three years is starting to ask the question; where to after my primary school? I would wish him to go to a school that provides holistic education, the Ntare style, near home.