Dr Sarah Ntiro, first woman university graduate in East Africa, dead

Dr Sarah Nyendwoha Ntiro, the first woman university graduate in East and Central Africa died yesterday after battling with a number of unknown illnesses for a long time.

She died on her way to Mengo hospital where she was being rushed for treatment.

Ntiro was born in Hoima to Erasto B. Nyendwoha Akiiki of the Bakwonga clan and Jane Nsungwa Nyendwoha Adyeri.

She started school at Duhaga Girls’ School in Hoima where she studied up to Primary four and in 1938, she joined King’s College Budo where she studied for eight years, from Primary five to Secondary six (1938-1945).

At the end of these years, she sat the Makerere College entrance examinations and was admitted to Makerere College to train as a teacher.

She finished three years, doing history, geography, English and teacher training.

She did her teaching practice at King’s College Budo and Kyebambe Girls’ School and later received a teaching certificate.

In 1951, she joined Oxford University where graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History in 1954.

She was the first East and Central African woman to graduate from Oxford University at a time when no tertiary institutions granted degrees in East Africa.

She taught at Kyebambe Girls’ School in Fort Portal.

In 1955, she joined Gayaza High School before joining Duhaga Junior Secondary School (DJSS) in Hoima where she taught for two years before she resigned from active teaching service in 1958.

According to her biography, in the late 50s, when the British announced they were to grant Uganda her independence, she started civic education sessions at the Hoima district headquarters to discuss democracy and elections.

She served in the Uganda Legislative Council from 1958-1961 where she tabled a private member’s bill on the Registration of Marriages in 1961.

She married Sam Joseph Ntiro in December 1958. They had two sons, Joseph Kakindo Ntiro Amooti (1960) and Simbo Nyakwera Ntiro Atenyi (RIP).

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