On 28th January 2020, Prof. Derek Peterson from the University of Michigan delivered a mind-intriguing lecture to Makerere University staff and students on the history Uganda’s cultural heritage and development.
The lecture titled “Renovating History in Idi Amin’s Uganda” focused on an obscure, unremarkable bureaucrat, a man named John Tumusiime, who from 1972 to 1976 was the 'Culture Officer' of Kigezi, Western Uganda. Over the course of years Tumusiime conceived, financed, organized, and built several institutions, a museum, a monument that preserved local history. He worked with fragile and transient things. The building of memorials in Uganda as everywhere else has always been a struggle to cheat time of its spoils. It requires impervious materials, concrete, wire fences, brass plaques, glass display cases to transform the great events of the age into turning points on the historical record. All of it is hard work. Repairs are always needed. And especially in places where things like concrete and wire are in short supply, it needs human ingenuity, self-sacrifice, and dedication to achieve the 'museum effect'.