While many young adults look at completing university undergraduate education as a conquest and a prestigious achievement, experience differs, with many people who have been down that murky waters saying it is the beginning of real life.
Graduating from university comes with its responsibilities and challenges especially in a country like Uganda where opportunities don’t come easily. It takes being innovative, assertive and lucky to get going.
And as students of Victoria University graduated at Kabira Country Club in Bukoto, Kampala, a world of certainty for many waited them. But in all this, they were chanced to have a man of reason among them to pep talk them and prepare them for a life of chasing opportunities.
Dr. Emmanuel Katongole who spoke at the third graduation ceremony of Victoria University is a man respected for his accomplishments - rising from a peasantry life to one of the most influential business people in Uganda’s corporate circles.
Addressing the graduating students, Dr Katongole, astute as ever, made mention of the things that these young adults must do to sail through the next life of laboring, finding your footing and contributing to the building the country.
Now that that these now graduates are going into the job market, he tips that employers are looking for a graduate from a well managed university like Victoria University. He says employers are looking for a person with ethics and integrity, transparency, quality, accountability and ability to execute assignments.
“Thirty three years ago, at my graduation, as I sat and listened to the chancellor of Makerere University then, the vice chancellor, chairman of council and the commencement speaker then, I was filled with dreams.
“Dreams that I too would contribute something to the country but also to empower myself and my family. I know these are the same dreams that you have.Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy, neither will it be that easy for you.
“But what matters is the drive, the desire that you are going to succeed, the determination, the dedication but above all it is the discipline and resolve that you put in,”
Dr. Katongole was born in 1962 to illiterate village parents. They could not even write their names, he says, but he managed to beat all odds including losing his father who had moved to Kampala city as a labourer at a tender age of four leaving all responsibility to raise him to a woman who had no job.
Determination, discipline, hard work, luck, academic excellence and resilience of his illiterate mother saw attend some of the best schools in the country enroute to completing university at Makerere University.
Dr. Katongole is now currently the Executive Chairman of Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited (CQCIL) the only company in Sub-Saharan Africa authorized to manufacture triple-combination anti retro-viral drugs.They also make malaria treatment drugs. He concurrently serves as chairman of the Uganda National Oil Company and other corporate boards including ABSA Bank.
Over 22 African countries are using malaria drugs from his CIPLA, registering close to 9bn malaria treatments per year. Becaus of CIPLA and Dr. Katongole malaria deaths in Uganda reduced from 400 to less than 200 per month. He has a dream of seeing a malaria free world.