Oh Uganda composer passes on

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George Kakoma

Kampala, UGANDA-Professor George Kakoma famed for composing the Uganda national anthem has been confirmed dead this Easter morning by family members at his daughter’s home in Kololo, Kampala.

Kakoma has been fighting stroke which he suffered in August 2010. His
son Robert Kakoka said the family cannot confirm when and where he
will be buried since not many have heard about his demise.

Kakoka said: “We can not say anything beyond his death because many
people including government are not aware about it.” He added: “My
father’s situation worsened yesterday evening. His doctor was called
in and he kept with him the whole night. The doctor confirmed to us
this morning, that he could not fight on.”

Rumours of demise
News relayed on a number of FM stations in February, 14 morning
indicated that the legendary Kakoma had succumbed to death after the
stroke. However, the family denied the reports, as the 89-year old was
still breathing at his daughter’s Kololo residence with the help of
his wife, Maria Tereza.

Kakoma writes history

Kakoma graduated from Trinity College of Music and Durham University.
In 1962, shortly before the British government relinquished power to
Ugandans, advertisements were published in the Uganda Argus, a defunct
government-owned newspaper, for interested people to compose the
national anthem.

Three sub-committees were established to deal with
Uganda’s national symbols. The sub-committee for the creation of a
national anthem encouraged Ugandans to submit their proposals.
“The compositions had to be short, original, solemn, praising and
looking forward to the future. They had to be harmonised in the usual
four parts-soprano, alto, tenor and bass,” said Kakoma in an

In July 1963, the committee chose Kakoma’s composition. It had taken
him a day to compose the music and lyrics for Oh Uganda, Land of
Kakoma beat five other composers in the competition. His winning
composition, Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty would then become the song of
the nation, sung at any part of the globe where Uganda would be

He wrote both words and the music of the anthem, one of the shortest
national anthem’s in the world

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