10 prominent persons who died in 2013

Certainly, most people lost a close or distant relative, a friend or even just a neighbour in 2013. Then there are people who died during the year whom you didn’t know personally, but whose demise saddened you. Kenneth Agutamba recounts 10 deaths, at home and beyond, that touched many hearts.
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

Certainly, most people lost a close or distant relative, a friend or even just a neighbour in 2013. Then there are people who died during the year whom you didn’t know personally, but whose demise saddened you. Kenneth Agutamba recounts 10 deaths, at home and beyond, that touched many hearts.

Dr Higiro Semajege

A Rwandan Economist who in his capacity as the Secretary of the Ugandan Constitution Review Commission articulated issues which led to the formal recognition of the Banyarwanda community by the Constitution as one of Uganda's ethnic groups.

He also served as the Deputy Speaker for the Buganda Kingdom (Lukiiko), and Member of Parliament for Lwemiyaga in Masaka District. He died aged 79.

Brig. Gen. Dan Gapfizi

A gallant officer of the Rwanda Defense Forces, who fought in the liberation war that ended Genocide in 1994, he died in road accident on Kagitumba-Kayonza road in June. He had served as the commandant of the reserve force in the Southern Region. His friends nicknamed him “Kimasa cy’Amaboko or “bull of strong arms’ to describe his endless courage at work.

Chinua Achebe

Things fell apart for the Nigerian novelist who was regarded by millions as the father of African literature. He died in March at the age of 82.  He left behind great literary works such as No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964) and A Man of the People (1966) all of which address the issue of traditional ways of life coming into conflict with new, often colonial, points of view.

Nelson Mandela

He will probably always be Africa’s greatest son. In life he was a force of inspiration after emerging from a 27-year jail stay to liberate South Africa from apartheid. In death, he attracted over 100 current heads of state to bid him farewell. USA President Barrack Obama dubbed him, ‘a giant of history’. He died at 95 but his legacy will surely live longer than that.

Margaret Thatcher

The "Iron Lady ‘was Britain's first female prime minister. She was loved and hated in almost equal measures. In Africa, many might still loath her for dismissing Nelson Mandela's ANC party as "a typical terrorist organization" but she was a great inspiration for women worldwide. She died in April at the Ritz Hotel in London, aged 87.

Douglas Engelbart

He invented the computer mouse. His research in human-computer interaction led to many of today’s popular applications such hypertext and graphic user interfaces like Windows, iOS and other "point-and-click" operating systems. Engelbart died in July aged 88.

Frederick Sanger

The British biochemist whose work on the structure of proteins led to the development of DNA fingerprinting died in November. He won the Nobel Prize for chemistry twice - one of only two people to have won the award twice in the same category. 

Jiroemon Kimura

The world's oldest male ever known to have lived finally died in June aged 116. He worked in post offices in Japan for nearly 50 years, before becoming a farmer. 

Robert Edwards

Was a British Nobel prize winning physiologist, reproductive medicine and in-vitro fertilization scientist. More than five million babies have been born to parents otherwise unable to have children as a result of Edwards' research. He died aged 87, on April 10.

Hugo Chavez

He lost the battle to cancer and died aged 58 in March. He was a revolutionary socialist who assumed leadership of Venezuela in 1999. Hugo made his global mark through sweeping domestic social reforms that saw roads and hospitals fixed, free medical care and increase the country’s literacy rate. He was also a critic of what he called ‘American imperialism.’

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