Uganda: Makerere Gets Shs3.7b to Rebuild Ivory Tower

This is what is left of the Makerere University main building following the fire outbreak.
26 September 2020

Mastercard Foundation has announced a $1 million (about Shs3.7 billion) contribution towards the restoration of Makerere University Ivory Tower commonly known as the Main Building which was razed by fire early this week.

"I was saddened to learn about the fire at Makerere University and the extensive damage to the iconic building. Thankfully, there were no injuries or loss of life. You do not need more challenges during a time you are leading the university and your teams through a global pandemic as well as preaparing to recive medical and final-year students in mid-October. Our heart go out to you. We understand that the efforts to repair and rebuild as well as recover records are considerable. To assist with these efforts, the Foundation would like to provide a USD $ 1 milion in support to Makerere University," Mastercard Foundation President and CEO, Reeta Roy writes in September 25, 2020 letter to Makerere Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.

Prof Nawangwe welcomed the donation saying Makerere was grateful.

"I am overwhelmed by the great show of solidarity by the Mastercard Foundation in rebuilding our damaged iconic and historic administration building through a pledge of 1 Million US Dollars. Makerere is immensely grateful for this generous contribution," he tweeted on Friday.

According to the VC, the first donation towards the restoration of the iconic administration building came from Prof. Busingye Kabumba of Makerere Law School in the sum of Shs1 million. "He sent his donation on Sunday morning immediately after fire had gutted the building," Prof Nawangwe said.

Meanwhile, the Mastercard Foundation letter comes a day after Uganda Society of Architects pledged to offer technical expertise in the efforts to restore the Ivory Tower to its former state.

The Ivory Tower, which is the main symbol of Uganda's oldest university, was left in ruins by fires that broke out in the wee hours on Sunday.

The building was left visibly cracked, tainted with smoke, and the windows blown out.

In a statement released on September 23, the architects said the building is representative of the Uganda's history and education, which should be restored.

"We believe in the preservation and maintenance of our heritage and as such are ready and willing to participate in restoration efforts of the Ivory Tower," Ms Jacinta Kabarungi, the president of the architects' society, said in the statement.

Ms Kabarungi also told Daily Monitor that despite the significance of the building, the old structure cannot be maintained.

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