By Caroline Karimi
Let me tell you something about a building that was larger than life because it is no longer here. Makerere University’s iconic Ivory Tower was razed by a mysterious fire on Sunday morning, September 20.
Built by the British in 1938 the Ivory Tower is a definitive structure that stands in the middle of this great and history-rich institution.
The building that hosts the offices of the Vice Chancellor, the finance department, national archives and boardrooms, is beyond an administrative wing at the oldest university in Africa. If you are in Makerere, you must see it.
To Makerere, this tower is what ‘Christ the Redeemer’ monument is to Brazil or the ‘Statue of Liberty’ is to New York. Or closer home, the African Renaissance monument in Senegal.
A throw back to my campus years; our writing lecturer Julius Mucunguzi (current communications advisor for the Ugandan Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda) gave us an assignment to write about it. No one came back with the same observation.
One of its most ‘awe-inspiring’ features is that it’s built in between two churches; St Francis and St. Augustine. All its pillars have a lion head on them –a sign of protection.
Sunday morning we woke up to the sad news that the Ivory Tower was on fire! The entire building affected by the fire leading to massive cracks from the roof to the ground.
To many of us who schooled here, our hearts are crashed by this sad event. The fire decimated our memories and decades-rich history.
Even if it will be rebuilt, gone with flames are precious memories and a priceless legacy that should have nourished more generations.
The author Caroline Karimi from Kenya is a former Mass-communication student at Makerere University (2004-2008.) She currently works as a communications officer.