John Nagenda passed away in March, only a month before his 84th birthday. He will be mourned for his intelligence and generosity, but above all, for his excellent sense of humour. Cameron Duodo recalls his meetings with the celebrated Ugandan writer, political figure and sportsman.
John Nagenda, who died in Kampala, Uganda, on 4 March 2023, aged 84, was one of the writers who emerged in the former British colonies in Africa, after their countries had gained their independence from Britain.
I met him at an African Writers’ Conference – the first of its kind – organised at Makerere University, Kampala, in 1962.
From Ghana, the delegates were myself, Efua Sutherland and Kofi Awoonor; from Nigeria came Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Chris Okigbo; while South Africa’s delegates included Ezekiel (later Iskiya) Mphahlele, Lewis Nkosi, Bloke Modisane and Bob Leshoai.
Because colonial Africa had been arbitrarily divided into rigid geographical…