Makerere University’s Senior Lecturer, Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo has won two awards- The Human Rights Defenders Impact Award (2023) and The Civil Liberties Award (2023)
Ssentongo received the prestigious award of the most outstanding human rights defender of the year 2023 from the National Coalition of Human Rights Organisations - Uganda in partnership with the Kingdom of the Netherlands .
Dr. Ssentongo was recognised for his outstanding contribution to human rights spheres and continued resielience in Uganda. He received the Human Rights Defenders Impact Award 2023 during the International Human Rights Defenders Day Commemoration on 8th December 2023, at the Source of the Nile Hotel, Jinja city.
Jimmy Spire Ssentongo is a Senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is a multiple award winning engaged academic with a conviction that academics ought to actively involve themselves in problems affecting their societies.
Accordingly, he writes a column in the Observer newspaper where he also contributes editorial cartoons. As an ethicist, he has also been involved in justice-oriented social media activism.
The Civil Liberties Award 2023
The Philosophy teacher, cartoonist and columnist also received The Civil Liberties Award from Chapter Four Uganda in partnership with Konrad Adeneur Stiftung. The Civil Liberties Award 2023 was in recognition of his outstanding and courageous contributions in the defense of civil liberties in Uganda .
Jimmy Spire Ssentongo as a Cartoonist, Artist , Painter and Sculptor
Born on August 14, 1979, Ssentongo holds a PhD in Humanistic Studies from the University of Humanistic Studies in Holland; Masters in Ethics and Public Management (Makerere University); Master of Science in Education for Sustainability (London South Bank University); BA in Philosophy (Urbaniana); and a Diploma in Philosophy and Religious Studies (Apostles of Jesus Philosophicum, Nairobi).
As a cartoonist and artist, Ssentongo utilises art as a tool to motivate, dialogue with those in authorithy on political and social issues affecting Ugandans. He has become an influential figure in the Ugandan art scene and a prominent voice for change using his art to comment on issues such as corruption, governance, and human rights. Spire draws bold and incisive cartoons that tackle difficult topics with humor and satire.
Notably, Dr. Ssentongo created the ‘Kampala Pothole Exhibition’, an innovative art installation that used humor and satire to draw attention to the poor state of Uganda’s roads. The exhibition featured life-sized potholes filled with concrete and painted to look like actual potholes, complete with witty slogans and satirical images. The exhibition became the agenda in several media, generated a national conversation on the state of Uganda’s roads and eventually, government and KCCA pledged and took action to fix all the potholes in the capital city within two weeks.
Untitled image – Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo, 2020
Besides using art as a form of expression, Dr. Ssentongo uses art to inform, educate and inspire people about important social issues. His works have featured in the Ugandan and oversees media including The Observer, The New Vision, The East African, and The Guardian.
Jim Spire Ssentongo@SpireJim 24 April: A doctor negotiating his way through patients on the floor at Mulago National Referal Hospital Casuality
Jim Spire Ssentongo@SpireJim Breaking : UPDF is on exercise of testing their new submarines in Kampala oceans
In addition to his cartooning work, Dr Ssentongo is also an accomplished painter and sculptor. His art explores themes of identity, history, and spirituality, and has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Uganda and beyond.