Archive for May, 2011

Vitalis Bbege: Uganda, Africa, and Germany Boxing Champion; and the Mike Tyson Knockout Image

May 22, 2011

American boxer Michael Gerard “Iron Mike” Tyson was born in the New York City borough Brooklyn on June 30th 1966. The ferocity and intimidating style of Tyson involved a series of rapid knockout wins that lead to his becoming the youngest heavyweight champion of the world in 1986. Ten years after Mike Tyson was born, a young northern Ugandan boxer Vitalis (Vitalish) Bbege, who had quickly acquired the equivalent of a national Tyson-like ferocious boxing image, was scheduled to represent Uganda at the 1976 Olympics to be held in Montreal from July 18th to 31st. Among the boxers on the Uganda team were future national boxing legends John Baker Muwanga (bantamweight) and featherweight Cornelius Boza-Edwards (Bbosa). Vitalish Bbege was scheduled to be Uganda’s welterweight competitor. Many African and other countries politically boycotted the 1976 around the starting of these Olympics. The scheduled preliminary bouts involving boycotting nations’ boxers were ruled walkovers in favor of the opponents of the non-boycotting nations. In retrospect, Bbege had widely acquired his national brutal rapid knockout reputation during the 1974 African Amateur Boxing Championships that just so happened to be held in Bbege’s Uganda home territory. The boxing tournament took place in Kampala in November. Welterweight Bbege quickly disposed of all his opponents by early knockout, save for the audacious and strong Prince of Egypt who persistently held on until the end. Young and relatively unknown Bbege was quickly in the books as Africa’s amateur welterweight boxing champion. For decades, his name has remained legendary in Uganda and as synonymous with not only boxers, but also with belligerent and hard hitting regular people. Bbege, as a welterweight represented Uganda at the Pre-Olympic Boxing Tournament in Montreal from November 27th to December 1st 1975. In the quarter-finals, on November 27th, the referee stopped Nico Jeurissen from Bbege’s onslaught, in the very first round. Bbege, in the semi-finals on November 29th, true to fashion, knocked out Leo Pelletier of Canada in the second round. But the finals, on December 1st, were not fruitful for Bbege. Bbege was defeated by Yoshifumi Seki of Japan with the referee stopping the fight in the first round. Bbege went home with the silver medal. And so did heavyweight Jacob Odonga, another Ugandan who was technically knocked out in the finals (by Hocine Tafer of France). The only other Ugandan contestant at this tournament was Mustapha Wasajja. He won the gold medal after outpointing Bryan Gibson of Canada. After the 1976 Olympic boycott, Vitalish Bbege soon moved to the then West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany-FRG) where they would be more lucrative boxing opportunities for him. He remained an amateur boxer and never boxed professionally. He joined the Sparta Flensburg Boxing Club (BC Flensburg) in the city Flensburg where he still resides and is a fitness and boxing trainer. Representing Sparta Flensburg (BC Flensburg), Bbege won numerous annual Schleswig-Holstein Amateur Boxing Association (SHABV) titles from the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s. In 1979, Bbege won the SHABV amateur middleweight (75kg) title, the same title as a light-middleweight (71 kg) in 1980 and 1981. In 1982, 1986, and 1990 Bbege became the SHABV middleweight champion. In 1984, 1985, and 1987, Bbege as a heavyweight (81kg), was the SHABV title holder. On January 30th 1984, Vitalish Bbege represented West Germany in a boxing dual verses the United States. He boxed as a light-middleweight and defeated Michael Cross by two points to one in a three-round match-up. Interestingly Bbege has a brother who goes by the names Vitalish Nyamor Bbege and was another capable boxer who moved to Germany. Under the name Vitalish Nyamor, he also represented Germany at the same tournament and as a welterweight defeated Alton Rice by three points to zero. It is remarkable that out of the ten bouts, the Bbege brothers won two of the total of four bouts won by West Germany. John Odhiambo of Uganda and legendary Kenyan boxer David Attan are some of the other Africans that boxed in the Germany Bundesliga during the 1970’s and 1980’s. John Odhiambo, as a light-middleweight, had been scheduled to represent Uganda at the boycotted 1976 Olympics. Vitalish Bbege and Vitalish Nyamor-Bbege, both regarded as Flensburg boxing legends, are well settled in Germany with their families. Offspring Dennis Nyamor Bbege is a boxer. Others of the Bbege descendants include Iris Bbege, Nancy Bbege, and Elvis-Aaron Bege.

Jonathan Musere


Amos Omolo and John Akii-Bua: Comparative Performances of Two Major Uganda Runners

May 18, 2011

Amos Omolo, born in 1937, was a Kenyan immigrant running for Uganda, a well-built 5’10” sprinter (100m, 200m, 400m and the relays). John Akii-Bua, born roughly a decade later in 1949, was an indigenous northern Ugandan, a sprinter, a javelin thrower, a decathlete; and for the most part a hurdler, 400m and 4x400m relay runner. Akii-Bua at 6’2″ was of a lean and well-muscled build. Both Omolo and Akii-Bua were of the Luo language-speaking ethnic grouping of east Africa. Both were policemen. While Omolo was Uganda’s most renowned track star of the 1960’s, Akii-Bua was in turn Uganda’s most significant track athlete of the 1970’s. Akii-Bua’s athletic prowess was discovered relatively early in life when he joined the police force while in his teens. However, Amos Omolo started harvesting his track running abilities relatively late in life, a late bloomer. It was while he was in his mid-twenties that Omolo became a significant international runner; and his personal records were achieved when he was in his early thirties before he soon retired.

The Olympics
Both Omolo and Akii-Bua are significantly remembered for their feats at the Olympics; Omolo especially in 1968 (Mexico City) and Akii especially in 1972 (Munich). At both, the two Olympians ran a full finals’ lap: Omolo in the 400 meters, and Akii-Bua in the 400 meters-hurdles. In both of these Olympic finals, the world record was broken. There were sharp contrasts in the finals’ lane placements: Akii-Bua was in the innermost lane, one which usually slows runners down from taking shorter strides because of the rounder and tighter circumference; while Omolo ran in the outermost lane 8 which while the turns are easier, the runners are less able to gage their position and progress vis-a-vis the runners in the lower lanes.

At the Olympics of 1972, Akii-Bua then in his early 20’s, was relatively young. Amos Omolo in the Olympic finals of 1968, aged 31, was relatively advanced in age and the oldest among the finalists. He was also Uganda’s oldest Olympics participant. In a 400m Olympic quarter-finals heat, Omolo would win in a Uganda record time of 45.33. This national record remained intact for nearly three decades. Akii-Bua’s Olympic gold medal win in the 400 meters-hurdles in 1972 involved the establishment of a 47.82 world record that would stay intact for four years. As a Uganda national record, it has remained intact for four decades. On the other hand, Omolo was beaten into 8th and last place at the 400m finals in 1968. Nevertheless, the crowned gold medallist Lee Edward Evans of the United States had established a new world record that would survive for more than two decades. While Lee Evans here became the first man to ever run a sub-44 seconds 400m, John Akii-Bua in winning became the first man to ever officially run the 400 meters-hurdles below 48 seconds. While Amos Omolo was Uganda’s first Olympic track and field finalist, John Akii-Bua was Uganda’s first Olympic gold medallist and track and field world record holder.

In Mexico City at the Olympics, on October 16th 1968, fifty-five international athletes that were placed in eight heats, were scheduled to run in Round One of the 400m. The four top finishers in each of the heats would advance to the quarter-finals. Amos Omolo won in his Heat Five, finishing in 45.85, a new national record. Four quarter-final heats were ran the next day. Omolo again performed impressively, winning in Heat Two in a new Uganda record of 45.33. The four top finishers in each heat, moved on to the two semi-final heats which would be run later that day. Omolo’s performance in the semi-finals was not as fruitful. The second semi-finals’ witnessed Omolo finishing fourth in 45.52. Of significance, the winner of this heat Lee Edward Evans at age 21 established a new Olympic record time of 44.83. Omolo had narrowly missed being axed from advancing to the finals. The finals were set to feature three African Americans, three Africans, and two Europeans. The next day, October 18th, Omolo was placed in outermost lane in the final; the only Commonwealth of Nations’ finalist. The gun went off, Omolo ran a relatively fast 200m, but thereafter tired and slowed down and seemingly lost hope. He finished last and his time of 47.61 was more than two seconds behind seventh placed Andrzej Baderiski of Poland. Omolo was known to fluctuate widely in his performances, sometimes performing excellently and sometimes performing surprisingly poorly relative to his recent performances. American Lee Evans in lane 6, under pressure from his two fellow Americans Lawrence “Larry” James and Ron Freeman, had won in an astounding world record of 43.86. All three Americans were less than 22 years old, the youngest among the finalists.

As for Akii-Bua at the Olympics in the 400mh in 1972, in all three rounds including the finals, he ran in either lane one or lane two. In the first qualifying round that took place on August 31st, Akii was placed in the fourth heat (out of the five) in lane two. The top three finishers of each heat plus one next top finisher would move on to the semi-finals. Akii-Bua won in his heat, finishing in 50.35 seconds. The two semi-finals heats were held the next day. Akii, placed in lane two, won in a relatively fast time of 49.25, followed by world leading Ralph Mann (USA) in 49.53, followed by Olympic champion Dave Hemery (Great Britain) in 49.66. The four leading finishers of each of the semi-final heats would move on to the finals. Next day, September 2nd witnessed Akii-Bua make history by breaking the world record and being the first to officially run the race below 48 seconds. He had done it in 47.82 seconds while running in the restrictive lane one, while the runners-up (same sequence of finishing as their semi-final heat) were in the more favorable lanes 6 (Ralph Mann who won silver with a time of 48.51) and lane 5 (Dave Hemery with a bronze medal finish of 48.52). After four decades, Akii-Bua remains Uganda’s only Olympic gold-medallist and Africa’s only Olympic gold medal hurdler as well as short-distance runner. What Amos Omolo did not achieve for Uganda at the Olympics in 1968, Akii-Bua rose to the occasion in 1972 to cement for Uganda, Africa, and the rest of the world!

Amos Omolo and William Santino Dralu, Uganda’s top sprinters, were selected to run the 100m and 200m dashes respectively in Mexico City in 1968. All the rounds and the final were ran on October 13th 1968. Omolo was placed in the second heat of Round One. There were nine heats and the top three finishers in each heat, plus the next five fastest runners would move on to the quarter-finals. Omolo finished fourth in this preliminary round, posting a time of 10.50. The time would enable him to move on to the quarter-finals. Omolo was placed in the third heat (out of four) of the quarter-finals. The first four of each heat would move on to the semi-finals. Competition was quite intense. Omolo was beaten into 7th place and out of the competition; but with a time of 10.45, he had improved on his previous timing. Also significant was the breaking of the world record, twice in this quarter-final. The world record was set by Hermes Ramirez of Cuba (10.10), and later by Charlie Greene of USA (10.02). In the finals, American Jim Hines would win the gold medal in a world record time of 9.95, the silver would go to Lennox Miller of Jamaica, and Charlie Greene would win the bronze.

The flashback to the 1964 Olympics held in Tokyo involved Omolo competing in the 400m and the 4x100m relay. On October 17th 1964, Omolo was scheduled to run in the third heat (out of seven) of the preliminary round. The top four runners of each heat, plus the next four top finishers would move on to the next round. Omolo aged 27 finished in a time of 47.6 in the very first round, and his 5th place would not allow Omolo to advance to the next round. On October 20th, Omolo was part of Uganda’s 4x100m relay team (with Erasmus Amukun, Aggrey Awori, and James Odongo) that was eliminated in the preliminary round. Uganda’s relay group finished 6th in 41.4 seconds.

As for Akii-Bua, Uganda politically boycotted the 1976 Olympics that were held in Montreal. Akii had been scheduled to compete for Uganda in the 400 meters-hurdles and had been training and competing in Germany and USA. He even ran a 45.82 personal best in the 400m flat in 1976. However, the third week of June, Akii tore a thigh (left hamstring) muscle that would have reduced his chances of winning a medal or even competing at the 1976 Olympics at Montreal.

The Olympics that were held in Moscow in July 1980 were also boycotted by many countries, significantly reducing the pool and strength of the competitors. Akii’s performance had declined, but he qualified to represent Uganda again in the 400mh and in addition the 4x400m relay. On July 24th, Akii ran in the first heat (out of the three) of the first round of the 400 meters-hurdles. He was in the relatively favorable middle-lane 4, a far cry from the Olympics of 1972 where he had been placed in either restrictive lane one or two in all three rounds including the final. Aged 30 in Moscow, Akii was the oldest of the competitors in the low hurdles. In this first round, on July 24 1980, Akii finished 5th in 50.87 seconds. He moved onto the semi-finals given that he was one of the next four fastest hurdlers to the top four fastest finishers of each of the heats. The next day, Akii-Bua, drawn in the outermost lane 8 in the semi-final, finished 7th in 51.10 seconds. He was eliminated from moving on to the finals. On July 31, Akii-Bua was in heat two of the first round of the 4x400m relay. Despite having Africa’s strongest long-relay team in Moscow, Uganda finished 5th (3:07.0) in this first round and was disabled from moving on to the semi-finals. Uganda’s other relay athletes were Silver Ayoo, Charles Dramiga, and Pius Olowo.

Both Akii-Bua and Amos Omolo apparently represented Uganda at two Olympic venues, and both their Olympic finales were when they were in their early 30’s. Omolo was less consistent in his performances whereby he sometimes achieved exceptional times and sometimes was simply satisfactory. But notably, Omolo’s personal best performances were when he was in his thirties. Akii-Bua’s personal best records were attained when he was in his early and mid-twenties. Akii was a determined athlete despite the unfavorable social and political climate of Uganda at that time. Amos Omolo competed for Uganda during a period of relative peace.

The Commonwealth of Nations Games
The then British Empire Commonwealth Games in 1962 took place in Perth in Australia in the last week of November. Amos Omolo was scheduled to represent Uganda in the 440 yards dash and in the 4x440y relay. Uganda’s relay team would eventually not participate in the relay. As for the 440y, on November 26th 25 year-old Omolo impressively won in the third (of a total 6 heats) of the first round, finishing in 47.20 seconds. Next came the two semi finals in which qualifying Omolo was placed in the second one. Here on November 26th, Omolo (46.96) was beaten into second place by George Kerr (46.93) of Jamaica in a photo-finish. The finals, later in the day would be quite a battle between the top three finishers. In another photo-finish, George Kerr (46.74) won the gold medal, Robbie Brightwell of England won silver, and Omolo (46.88) won the bronze. The next runner-up finished nearly one second behind. Omolo emerged as a formidable and promising runner in the Commonwealth and in Africa. This would be Uganda’s only athletics medal at the venue, one of Uganda’s first medals at such internationally significant games. It was also an exciting time for Uganda as it closely followed the granting of political independence from Britain on October 9th 1962.

The 1966 Commonwealth Games would be hosted by Kingston in Jamaica from August 5th to 13th. Omolo would again be placed to represent Uganda in the 440y and in the 4x400y relay. The preliminary round of the 440y would be contested on August 8th and Omolo was placed in the fourth heat. Omolo (48.3) finished second to Martin Winbolt Lewis of England (47.6) and advanced to the semi-finals that would be contested on August 11th. Omolo was placed in the second of the two semi-final heats. Omolo finished 6th in 47.84 seconds and was eliminated from moving on to the finals. He had therefore failed to replicate his presence in the finals in which he had won the bronze at the previous Commonwealth Games venue.

Next for Omolo would be the long relay on August 13th. There was just one preliminary (semi-final) round before the final and Uganda was placed in the second of the two heats. Uganda’s relay team of Omolo, George Odeke (future national coach and prominent sports administrator), Francis Hategakimana (Hatega), and Asuman Bawala Nkedi won in their heat (3:13.4), but the runners in the other (first) heat were relatively faster. The finals saw Uganda turning up a disappointing 8th and last place in 3:13.6. Trinidad and Tobago won in 3:02.8, followed by Canada, then bronze for Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Also, all of Uganda’s 4x400y relay runners had, including Omolo competed in the individual 400y but had not performed well.

Edinburgh in Scotland would be the next venue for the Commonwealth Games, from July 17th to 25th in 1970. Omolo had been a finalist in the 400m at the Olympic Games of 1968, and was 8th. In Edinburgh, Omolo was nearly 33 years old which was at that time considered a relatively advanced age for a sprinter. This time Omolo was placed to to run only in the 100m for Uganda. His performance in the second heat (out of the 8 preliminary heats) was lukewarm. Omolo was eliminated from the competition after finishing 6th in a time of 10.76 seconds. This would be Omolo’s last Commonwealth Games’ performance. Uganda was in contention for the men’s 4x400m relay, but the team of Bill (William) Koskei, Charles Obilu, William Santino Dralu, and Daniel Oboth would be disqualified during the preliminary heats.

John Akii-Bua’s presence in Edinburgh would be the first and last time he would represent Uganda at the Commonwealth Games. This quite contrasted with Omolo’s three-time presence at the Commonwealth Games. Internationally unknown Akii-Bua aged 20 would compete in the 110 meters-hurdles and in the 400 meters-hurdles. On July 17th, Akii was placed in the first heat (out of the three) of the preliminary round of the 110mh. He finished fourth in 14.39 seconds, and advanced to the semi-finals. Interestingly, the winner in this heat and eventual gold medallist was David Hemery of England who had won gold in the 400mh at the Olympics of 1968 in a new world record, and who would win the bronze medal at the next Olympic venue in which Akii would win the gold and break Hemery’s world record. The semi-finals of the 110mh in Edinburgh would be contested the next day–July 18th. Akii Bua finished 5th in 14.43 seconds, coming short of moving on to the finals.

On the same day July 18th, Akii ran in the first round of the 400mh. He was placed in the second heat of the three heats, and he won in 51.82 seconds. Next would be two semi-final heats on July 21. Akii, in the first semi-final finished second (51.94) after John Sherwood of England. The second semi-final was won by Uganda’s Bill Koskei in 51.39 seconds. In the finals that were ran on the same day, Akii (51.14) was beaten into fourth place behind gold medallist John Sherwood (50.03), silver medallist Bill Koskei (50.15), and Charles Yego of Kenya (50.19).

Akii-Bua’s first significant introduction to the athletic world was his 400 meters-hurdles win at the Africa vs USA (USA-Pan African) meet on 17th July 1971 in Durham, North Carolina. Akii-Bua won in an astonishing 49 seconds, a new Africa record, and the fastest time of the year.

All-Africa Games
At these continental games, Amos Omolo competed at venues in the 1960’s but did not win any medals. On the other hand, Akii-Bua won a gold and silver medals at these Games. The first of these Games were held in 1965 in the capital Brazzaville of Congo. Akii was at the All-Africa Games in Lagos in January 1973, fresh from the Olympic gold and world record setting in Munich in the Fall of 1972. Akii-Bua’s winning time in Lagos was in an excellent 48.54 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of runners up William Koskei (50.22) of Kenya, and Silver Ayoo (50.25) of Uganda. It was the fastest 400mh time ever recorded on the continent. Akii was also part of the 1973 4x400m relay Uganda team (3:07.21) that won the bronze medal behind winners Kenya (3:06.38) and silver medallists Nigeria (3:06.98).

The erratic occurring All-Africa Games were held five years later, in 1978. This time in Algiers in Algeria, Akii (49.55) was narrowly beaten into second place by Daniel Kimaiyo (49.48) of Kenya. Akii, similar to the previous venue, additionally was part of the 4x400m relay team. This time, the Uganda team performed significantly better, both in positioning and time recorded. In the finals in 1978, the winner was Nigeria (3:03.24) followed by silver medallists Uganda (3:04.20), thereafter Kenya (3:05.92). This would be Akii’s last appearance at the All-Africa Games. The next venue would be in 1987 in Nairobi in Kenya.

East and Central African Championships
In 1968, when the venue was Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, Omolo won the gold medal in the 400m, finishing in 46.7 seconds. Earlier, in 1964, with the venue Kisumu in Kenya, Omolo was part of Uganda’s 4x400m relay team that won the gold medal.

Akii-Bua’s haul of gold medal wins at these champions was bigger than Omolo’s. The championships in Kampala in 1969 involved Akii-Bua winning the gold in the 110 meters-hurdles in 14.6 seconds. In 1971, in Lusaka in Zambia, Akii won the gold in the 400 meters-hurdles with a finishing time of 50.5 seconds. At the same distance, Akii-Bua would again win gold in 1975 when the venue was Mombasa in Kenya. He was timed at 50.2 seconds. At the same venue, Akii was part of Uganda’s 4x400m relay team that won the gold in 3:09.01.

Amid the many comparisons and contrasts, Amos Omolo and Akii-Bua will forever reign among Uganda’s and Africa’s greatest athletes. As Omolo was retiring from athletics, young Akii-Bua was beginning to shine. Akii took over the helm to attain the universal top athletic status that Omolo had strived to but failed to achieve. Akii-Bua has for four centuries remained Uganda’s most significant track athlete.

Murphy, F. The Last Protest: Lee Evans in Mexico City. Windsprint Press, Michigan: 2006.

Phillips, B. Honour of Empire, Glory of Sport: the History of Athletics at the Commonwealth Games. Parrs Wood, Michigan: 2000.

Jonathan Musere

Gathering Information Using Google and Other Resarch Mechanisms

May 13, 2011


Gathering information entails skill, practice, patience, and perseverance. It is the Google Search Mechanism, which is the most universally popular and most accessed search engine, that will be mainly referred to here, but the search methods apply to countless levels of obtaining information. The Internet has undoubtedly revolutionized searching for information whereby tapping information is easier and faster than in the past traditional library search era. Google search tools include the general Web pages, Book pages, Blog pages, Scholar pages, News pages, Image pages, Video pages, and additional (“More”) pages, etc.


When searching, on the web pages, placing the plus (+) sign at the beginning of the term you are searching for, helps yield more specific results. For example, if you are researching on Sargeant Shriver, entering “+Sargeant +Shriver” will, for example, deliver more specific information on this person than entering “Sargeant Shriver” or “+Sargeant Shriver” “Shriver” or “+Shriver.” Certainly, many people carry the names Sargeant and Shriver, the plus signs at the beginning of the word or term reduce on the time and effort on your search. If you are searching for a much less common word or term like “Lugolugenyi,” you need not go into specifying the term using a plus sign. But terms like, “John,” “Charles,” “Kennedy,” “wilderness,” “Carter,” “environment,” “pressure,” “Churchill,” etc. are so common that the search ought to employ ways to gather more specific results. Certainly, a good researcher cultivates a highly creative mind. The more complex and less common the word or term, the higher the likelihood of achieving accurate hits. Also, keep in mind that many terms that may yield valuable information may have been misspelt. For example, the name John Akii-Bua has sometimes been misspelled as John Akii-Buwa, John Aki-Bua, or John Aki-Buwa. Logically, one should search all these terms, and also discover other terms that will yield more information about the person. Some literature lists “Charles” as one of his names. A good researcher hence ought to be imaginative and flexible, in addition to being creative.

Also, continue searching. The end of an academic program or a written article is not really the end. You ought to keep harvesting the ongoing changes and the new information that continuously appears. Keep reading and updating, and latch on to new and more efficient methods of harvesting information. The world is one of new discoveries made, and more information uncovered on and off the Internet, every minute. This is not a static gloomy world! Reading what you have written gives others the opportunity to review, correct, or provide additional information that is to your advantage. Continuously reading broadens your horizon as regards knowledge, vocabulary and grammar; enabling you to continuously efficiently express yourself in faster and more accurate ways. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”

Having too many misspelled words in your work reduces your credibility. Misspellings are as counterproductive as poor grammar. Fortunately, spelling check boxes are ubiquitous on the Internet. They make writing much easier. However the misspelling checks only help. If you type a word “their” instead of “there,” the spelling tool will not catch that mistake. The grammar check tools on the Internet also help, but they cannot be expected to be 100% accurate. But they largely help in offering suggestions and hinting at you to weigh in on and consider changing your sentence structure. In many cases both the spelling and grammar check tools are intertwined in the spell-check tool.

Beware of over quoting. It may seem that borrowing lengthy phrases from other sources gives you a lot more credibility. However, doing this dilutes the creativity and originality of your writing, it makes you look like a copy-cat. Quote just a few words or sentences from any source; quote the minimum of what is relevant to and reinforces your point; cut out the irrelevant and superfluous words from the quotes. Also, by copyright law, if you write a book that has quoted or used more than 500 words from other documents, you are required to seek approval from the author or publisher of the borrowed source. The sin of plagiarism is surely much worse than over quoting. Plagiarism involves “stealing” other people’s written sources and attributing them to yourself. Putting other people’s creative works under your name reduces your credibility, is unfair to the original writer, and in the worst case scenarios can be sued, stripped of your academic credentials, and even fired. In March 2011, faced with protests by academicians and the public, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned after it was discovered that he had plagiarized passages in his doctoral dissertation.


Many books, journals, newspapers, and magazines are printed entirely or partially in this section. The ones that are older and therefore less under intellectual property protection (e.g., 75 years or older in print) are the most likely to be readily available online. However, many quite recent texts are available, free-of-charge, in the book pages. A competent researcher ought to go beyond the general web pages, and into and beyond the book pages. This is an age of digitizing texts, and Google progressively gets better at presenting them, and progressively adds more text pages. Many of the texts in the book pages are quite old and invaluable, but are hard to and take long to obtain through the conventional library and inter-library loan system. On the google book pages, the information is readily available after just a few keyboard strokes. The researcher and the student saves quite a chunk of time and money by taking advantage of digitized book texts. Full or partial texts are also available on


The blog entries can yield more valuable information beyond the web and book text pages. But the researcher ought to be judicious here given that many blog entries are plagiarized or scrambled words. Many steal other’s Internet work to build up their’s just for fun, to build up their credibility, or even for generating traffic for publicity and commercial gain. Look for blog entries that appear to be genuine or are contributed by regular bloggers under their author names. Notwithstanding, blogs often yield a lot of well researched entries and they offer many ideas and direction.

The image and more so the video button tell a lot more of the story at visual glance. Google contains entries from such popular sites as You-Tube, many invaluable films gathered by professional or regular people. Many sports competitions are available under Google videos, such that you can tell your own story based on what you visualize. Images are invaluable in aspects like science and art, where pictures and diagrams are important. Billions of picture images are available online. Where relevant, do not forget to also click the image, and also the videos button. Some of the results yielded may not be directly relevant to what you are looking for, but might only be linked to a website that contains some of the information. Google recently added an exclusive You-Tube video website. The aphorisms, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and “the camera never lies,” largely hold true. Picture and video images also enhance one’s ability to tell his or her story and assess the situation in his or her unique way.


Listing these at the end of the written article, in a consistent and orderly format, gives much more credibility to your work. This is as important as correct grammar and spelling. An article that has references essentially becomes a scholarly article. Many academic and public articles can require prescribed formats. These are many, and some of the popular format styles are the APA (American Psychological Association), CSE (Council of Science Editors), Chicago, MLA (Modern Language Style), the Turabian Style, and the AAA (American Anthropological Association) styles. Listing bibliographies and references, and quoting sources in prescribed sources can be quite irritating; but after minimal practice and familiarization it will not be much of an issue. Ultimately the final product looks neat, and appears as a written piece from a credible and disciplined source.


The traditional library will always be a powerful information powerhouse, even though the Internet has made it less relevant. Interlibrary loan services allow for books and other documents not available at the local public library to be transported from other public and college libraries in the nation. There are billions of documents that are not on the Internet. Aside from libraries, government and private agencies house countless forms of information. Oral literature and information, the spoken word that is from people themselves can be credible and relevant. Any information gathered is best credible when it is cross-checked with other sources of information. Information is endless and is eternally being created.


Jonathan Musere

Filbert Bayi Sanka: Tanzania’s Superstar Athlete and the Path to the World Records

May 13, 2011


Legendary Kenyan athlete Hezekiah Kipchoge “Kip” Keino had in October 1968 under searing temperatures in the high-humidity and high-altitude Mexico City, and against medical advice because of his stomach ailments and weakness, won the Olympic gold medal in the 1500 meters (establishing a new Olympic record of 3min. 34.91sec.). Kip Keino even managed to bag the silver medal in the 5000 meters, finishing behind legendary Tunisian Mohamed Gammoudi, and ahead of the third Naftali Temu who had won the very first ever Olympic gold for Kenya by earlier winning in the 10000 meters. Keino had collapsed from weakness while competing in the 10000 meters, but would rise up and congratulate and hug his young team-mate at the finishing line.

A versatile, enthusiastic, patriotic, and determined middle- and long-distance runner, Kip Keino now in Munich in the summer of 1972 was now a 32 year-old veteran and an Olympian for a third consecutive time. But Keino, amidst the youthful competition, defied his age. In Mexico City, in 1968, only two of the 52 other competitors in the 1500m had been older than the then 28 year-old Keino. In Munich at age 32, Keino was very much the elderly statesman in the 1500m line-up. Furthermore, the astonishing Keino had only four months earlier started to embrace the 3000m steeplechase. And he did qualify in the steeplechase to compete for Kenya! Keino had taken the steeplechase seriously after he had found that the Olympic schedule would not allow him to compete in both the 1500m and the 5000m.

Compared to glorious Keino, a very unknown commodity in the person of Filbert Sanka Bayi was in Munich to represent another east African country–Tanzania. Keino was undoubtedly one of Bayi’s foremost idols and inspirations. Keino remains the most immortal name among African track athletes!

Filbert Bayi, an athlete with an “afro-hairstyle” and boyish looks, had grown up near Arusha on a farm in Karutu within sight of Mount Kilimanjaro. Bayi left school at age 17 and migrated to the capital Dar-es-Salaam. Bayi’s early running training was relatively crude. In the crowded, high-humidity capital, Bayi would pick out and sprint alongside a moving bus and rest when the bus was loading and unloading passengers—some form of interval training. In 1971 Bayi achieved a reasonably good personal best of 3min 52 seconds in the 1500m.


It was earlier in 1972, Bayi’s personal bests and national wins in the 1500m (3:45) and steeplechase (8:55) qualified him to represent Tanzania at the Olympic Games in Munich.

In Munich, Filbert Bayi, a tall 19 year-old lightweight, a Tanzania airforce technician just so happened to be scheduled to compete in the same two events that Kip Keino was enrolled: the 1500m and the 3000m steeplechase. And while Keino was the elder, Filbert Bayi was one of two 19 year-olds that were youngest of the steeplechase competitors. There would only be four heats, and the top three finishers in each round would advance to the finals. The heats took place on September 1, 1972. Bayi was drawn in Heat One, the same heat that included Keino. Tapio Kantanen of Finland won (with an Olympic Record of 8:24. , Keino was second, and the third finals’ qualifier was Takaharu Koyama of Japan. Bayi was ninth with a time of 8:41.4 (a Tanzania national record) and therefore was out of the competition. Heat Two witnessed Kenya’s legendary Benjamin Jipcho win; in Heat Three another Finn Pekka Paivarinta won. The Fourth Heat was won by another Kenyan legend Amos Biwott who had won the steeplechase Olympic gold four years earlier. Biwott’s finish in 8:23.73 broke the Olympic record that had been established three heats ago! Notably, Biwott’s steeplechase win in 1968 would be the beginning of the consecutive dominance of the steeplechase by Kenyans at the Olympics (apart from the 1976 and 1980 Games which Kenya boycotted) that has yet to be shattered!

The finals of the steeplechase were held on September 7th, 1972. Kip Keino would win in a new Olympic record of 8:23.64, followed by Benjamin “Ben” Wabura Jipcho (8:24.62), and the bronze was won by Tapio Kantanen (8:24.66). Amos Biwott came in sixth in a time of 8:33.48.

As for the 1500m, seven heats were established for Round One to take place on September 8th. The fastest four of each heat (plus two wild cards) would advance to the semi-finals. Filbert Bayi was eliminated when in Heat Two he finished sixth out of 8 competitors. But commendably, Bayi had again established another new national record–3:45.4. Keino won in Heat Four and was followed by Rod Dixon of New Zealand. Heat Six was won by Pekka Vasala of Finland; and Heat Seven was won by another Kenyan legend Mike Boit. The semi-finals were held on September 9th. Mike Boit, Keino, and Rod Dixon won in the three Heats. Ten that including big names in the competition such as Pekka Vasala and Brendan Foster (GBR) were set for the 1500m finals showdown. On September 10, Keino worked to psychologically wear down the competition, but in the final stretch of the 1500m he was outsprinted by 24 year-old Pekka Vasala (3:36.33) of Finland and settled for the silver (3:36.81). This was regarded by many as an upset. Rod Dixon of New Zealand claimed the bronze, Mike Boit was fourth, and Brendan Foster was fifth. What would become of Filbert Bayi?

The annual East and Central African Championships were next held in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, comfortably Bayi’s territory. Bayi was not disappointing. On December 3rd, 1972, only 3 months after the Olympics, Bayi became a regional champion in the 1500m. He won in an impressive time of 3:38.9, not only a national record but a shaving off of more than 5 seconds from the national record he had established less than three months earlier at the Olympics. Two Kenyans Wilson Waigwa and D. Mungai won the silver and bronze, respectively. Bayi was fast gaining the confidence to face even more formidable competition.


Bayi would compete again with Keino at the second All-Africa Games which were held in Lagos in Nigeria in January 1973. It would be interesting. On January 11th in a 1500m heat that included both runners, a slow and relaxed run witnessed Bayi take second place in 3:48.32, following Olympian Shibrou Regassa (Ethiopia), then Kip Keino jogging in third. Keino was quick to say that he had relaxed and simply wanted to make it to the finals. Keino assured the public that the finals would be very different from what had happened in the Heat. But perhaps all those years of running and victory had exacted a toll on the aging veteran. On January 13th, Filbert Bayi taking the lead from the start, beat Keino, winning in the finals in a commendable time of 3:37.18, yet another Tanzania national record. Shibrou Regassa was third. Notably, Bayi had suffered a bout of malaria just before the Games. Henceforth Africans and the rest of the world started to take a second serious look at this new Tanzanian phenomenon that had emerged from nowhere. Kipchoge Keino would retire from competitive sports in 1974 as an ITA (International Track Association) professional, but he was impressed by Bayi to whom he offered congratulations and encouraging words.

A string of wins in international competition, followed in 1973. In Paris, near the end of May, Bayi won in the 1000m and established an Africa record of 2:19.5. Then in Boras in Sweden in early June, Bayi won the 1500m in a relaxed 3:45.5. The next day in Strangnas also in Sweden, Bayi won in the 1500m in 3:44.6. Again in Sweden, this time in Stockholm, Bayi won in quite a fast 3:37.9 on June 12th.

Then on the June 14th, Bayi changed gears and went for the 800m in Potsdam in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Bayi was beaten by 2-time Olympian Dieter Fromm (GDR) into second place, but Bayi managed to establish a Tanzania record of 1:46.9.

A week later on June 21st, at the Kusocinski Memorial Meet held in Warsaw in Poland, Bayi won in the 1500m, finishing in 3:37.9. He then flew to Denmark to participate in the Aarhus Games. Here Bayi won the 1500m in 3:35.6, a new Tanzania record! Bayi was moving up fast and furiously! Danish Olympian Tom Hansen was second, and Olympian Rolf Gysin of Switzerland was third.

Only four days later, on June 28th at the World Games held in Helsinki in 1973, Bayi won the 1500m in what would be the world best time in the 1500m–3:34.6–yet another Tanzania record. This race was significant in that it included many notable international athletes that included Kenyans Mike Boit and Ben Jipcho, and Americans Steve Prefontaine and Dave Wottle, among others. Bayi would display to the world his signature way of running—take the lead with a fast pace right from the starting of the race!. Bayi had ran a blistering 53.6 in the first 400m, 1:51.6 at the 800m mark, and 2:52.2 at the 1200m mark! David Wottle (800m Olympic gold medallist) was second (3:36.2), and Ben Jipcho (Olympic silver medallist) was third (3:36.6).

The very next day, June 29th, this time in a track meet in Vasteras in Sweden, Bayi was again the victor in the 1500m, winning in 3:40.7.

Again in Sweden, this time at a meet in Stockholm, but this time running the slightly longer one mile, Bayi was challenged by an impressive field that included Jipcho and Emiel Puttemans. It was July 2nd, 1973. This time, Ben Jipcho won, beating Bayi into second place. But Bayi did establish a Tanzania mile record of 3:52.86. At hand to watch the much anticipated battle between 20 year-old Bayi and 30 year-old Jipcho for a possible world record in the mile, were 18120 spectators in Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium. Near the end of the race, the leading Bayi started to tire and Jipcho (who had been 10 yards behind) passed Bayi about 75 yards before the finishing line. Jipcho, encouraged by a standing cheering audience, had established the fastest mile in Europe in 3:52.0, one of the three fastest times ever recorded in the world, and a new Kenya and African record. Bayi had set quite a trying pace: 400m–52.5, 800m–1:51.1, and 1200m-2:52.2.

Only three days later, July 5th at the Oslo International, Bayi true to form, beat an impressive field. He won in the 1500m in an impressive 3:37.6. On the 19th of July, Bayi was in Tunis to compete in the African Youth Festival Championships. Bayi won in the 1500m in 3:45.3. Second place was captured by Suleiman Nyambui, another Tanzanian who is only a couple of months older than Bayi. Nyambui would continue to be one of Bayi’s track rivals and he would gradually become a national sports icon. On July 24th at the Bislett Games held in Oslo, this time in the 800m, Bayi was beaten into second place by 20 year-old John George Walker of New Zealand–another of Bayi’s more enduring historical track rivals! Walker won in 1:46.3. Still, Bayi’s time of 1:46.7 was a new Tanzania record.

The next day, July 25th, Bayi was at a track meet in Stockholm. He won in the 1500m, finishing in a good time of 3:38.46. Soon afterwards, on August 4th, Filbert Bayi was ready to run the 1500m at the Africa vs. USA Meet that was taking place in Dakar in Senegal. This time Bayi was beaten into second place by his older and more experienced rival Ben Jipcho. But Bayi’s time of 3:37.85 was impressive. Twelve days later, at the Latin America vs. Africa Meet held in Guadalajara in Mexico on August 16th, Bayi achieved first place in the 1500m in a time of 3:40.6. There followed a relatively long interval, until Bayi competed in Nairobi. In the 1500m, Bayi started off very fast, 52.0 in the first 400m, 1:52.0 at the 800m mark. But the abysmally high pace likely cost Bayi the race. He was beaten into second place by another Kenyan legend John Kipkurgat. The then 29 year-old Kipkurgat is mostly renowned for having competed in the 800m.


Nearly exactly a year after Bayi, in beating Kip Keino, had won in the 1500m in Lagos at the All-Africa Games, the very busy athlete was ready to meet the impressive middle-distance line-up at the Commonwealth of Nations Games held in Christchurch in New Zealand. Bayi would compete in the 800m followed by the 1500m.

On January 19th of 1974, about a week prior to the Commonwealth Games, Filbert Bayi was beaten into second place in the 800m by Kenyan Olympic bronze medallist Mike Boit. Nevertheless, Bayi was impressive in his setting of a new Tanzania record–1:46.0.

In Heat One of the actual Commonwealth Games, Bayi won in the 800m in 1:47.09. This was on January 27th 1974. The winners of the other three heats, respectively, were familiar middle distance giants: John Kipkurgat, John Walker, and Mike Boit. The top four finishers of each heat would be placed among the two semi-final rounds to be held later in the day. Bayi was placed in the second semi-final. In Semi-Final One, the top four finishers were advanced to the finals and they were John Kipkurgat, Andy Carter (England), Daniel Omwanza (Kenya), and Phil Lewis (Wales). Semi-Final Two witnessed Bayi (1:46.56) advance to the finals although he was beaten into fourth place, perhaps him relaxing and simply contented with qualifying for the final round. Mike Boit won in this semi-final, followed by John Walker, then John Hooker (Australia).

In the finals, ran on January 29th, John Kipkurgat of Kenya won impressively in 1:43.91 (a new Africa Record), followed by Mike Boit (1:44.39), and then John Walker (1:44.92). Filbert Bayi was fourth in 1:45.32, nevertheless yet a new Tanzania record! At the 400m mark, Bayi had made a spirited effort to keep up with the tall lanky Kenyans, but they were too fast and too smooth, and Walker would eventually overtake Bayi. Apparently, Bayi was never a strong sprinter so, it benefited him to lead widely from the beginning given his stamina and consistency.

The heats of Bayi’s main specialization, at the Commonwealth Games, the 1500m, would take place on January 31st. There were three heats, Bayi was placed in Heat 2, and the top four finishers of each heat would move on to the finals. Heat One involved Mike Boit (3:44.61) winning, followed by Australian Graham Crouch (3:44.64) , then New Zealander Rod Dixon (1:44.64), then fourth was Englishman Brendan Foster (3:44.89). The second heat would turn out to be by far the fastest of the heats. Here the top four were Filbert Bayi (3:38.18), John Kirkbride of England (3:39.79), David Fitzsimons of Australia (3:39.92), and Tony Polhill (NZL) in 3:40.30. The final tally of the first four finishers in Heat 3 was John Walker (3:42.52), Bayi’s fellow-countryman Suleiman Nyambui (3:42.57), Australian Randal Markey (3:42.77). Ben Jipcho, probably relaxed and simply contented with advancing to the finals and saving his energy for the ultimate run, was fourth (3:43.55).

The 1974 finals of the 1500m, at the Commonwealth Games, will loom in the minds of many track enthusiasts for a very long time. On February 2nd Bayi would ran his most iconic race, taking the lead from the beginning. The timing at the 400m mark was 54.4, 1:51.8 at the 800m mark, and 2:50.4 at the 1200m mark. Bayi established a new world record of 3:32.16, only 15 months after he had competed and emerged as a mediocre unknown at the Olympics in Munich. But given Bayi’s incredible progress over the course of a year, Bayi had been predicted by many to break the world record. The runners-up also achieved phenomenal and leading world times–John Walker (New Zealand national record)—3:32.52; Ben Jipcho (Kenya national record)—3:33.16; and Rodney Dixon (New Zealand)–3:33.89. Graham Crouch was fifth (3:34.22), Mike Boit was sixth (3:36.84), and Suleiman Nyambui (3:39.62) was eighth. Jipcho’s signature spurt in the last three hundred meters did not manage to stave off the young energetic Walker who was chasing Bayi, and Walker did close up on Bayi in the fight for the gold. About taking the lead right from the start, Bayi would remark, “I got boxed in [at the Olympic Games of 1972 in Munich] and was never able to take the lead. …So now I take the lead from the start” (in “Bayi Breaks Record in 1500 Meter Race,” by AP in Rome News-Tribune, February 3,1974).

The employment of a fast rabbit in this race would likely have produced a faster world record. Also, in the race, the leading Bayi often looked behind at his competition–perhaps an indication that he had expected the other athletes to chase him faster than they had done, and for him to achieve a better time. Also, Bayi’s fast previous semi-final may apparently mean that he had fewer energy reserves for the finals than did most of the other elite competitors. In the end Bayi was elated and jumped up and down as he jogged in front of the appreciating jubilant crowd after his world-record win. Bayi was used to winning, so it was the world record that was the more exciting. Filbert Bayi had erased the 1500m world record that had previously been held by legendary American James Ronald (“Jim”) Ryun. Bayi had shattered the world record by nearly one second, and Walker had also finished below Ryun’s previous record. Legendary Jipcho who finished slightly outside the previous record, had already won gold in both the steeplechase and the 5000m. His gallant endeavor to win an unprecedented Commonwealth Games triple gold became thwarted!

The previous 1500m world-record run on July 8th 1967, during the USA vs. British Commonwealth of Nations track meet in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, mostly involved a memorable duel between Kip Keino and Ryun. The two exchanged the lead a couple of times in the fast pace, Ryun ran away from Keino near the end of the race and established a new world record of 3:33.1. The world record (3:35.6) established by Australian Herb Elliot on September 5th 1960 was no more. This was undoubtedly one of Ryun’s greatest running performances. Track and Field News reported that “after 220 yards of dawdling, a record seemed out of the question.” However, after 440 yards, which Ryun, in third place, passed in 60.9 seconds, Kip Keino took the lead and ran the next lap in 56 seconds (the fastest second lap ever run in the 1500m at that time). Ryun, just behind, passed the 880-yard mark in 1:57.0. At 1320 yards the two were side by side in 2:55.0. Ryun pulled away to finish in 3:33.1, a record that stood for seven years. With a last 440 yards of 53.9 and a last 880 yards of 1:51.3, Cordner Nelson of Track and Field News called it “the mightiest finishing drive ever seen,” and said of Ryun’s performance, “This was most certainly his greatest race.”

On June 5th 1974, in the Tanzania capital Dar-es-Salaam, Filbert Bayi won in the 800m during the national championships after a relatively long layoff from primary competition. The finishing time was a modest 1:49.7. Later on, on June 27th in Helsinki, at the Top Games, Bayi was for the first time beaten in the 1500m by main rival John Walker. The winning time margin was quite significant: Walker finished in 3:33.89 and Bayi was second (3:37:20). On just the next day, at the International Meet in Vasteras in Sweden, Bayi changed gears to the 800m and was able to win in 1:47.1, beating legendary Kenyan Olympic 800m finalist and 4x400m relay gold medallist and also 1970 Commonwealth of Nations 800m and 4x400m relay gold medallist Robert Ouko. Soon after, in Stockholm at the Dagens Nyheter Galan meet, Bayi won in the one mile in quite an impressive 3:54.10 on July 1st. The next day, in the same event, Bayi won in the 1500m, finishing in 3:43.16. Soon afterwards, on July 4th, Bayi was at the Bislett Games in Oslo. But, he uncharacteristically, probably from injury, did not finish in the 1500m. The winner was Tom-Birger Hansen (Denmark) who was tenth in the 1500m at the Olympics held in Munich; Olympic silver medallist Mike Boit of Kenya was fifth in this meet in Oslo.


After quite a long layoff from international competition, Bayi emerged in 1975 at the New Zealand Games right in Christchurch where he had set the world record. This time, on January 20th, Bayi competed in and won in the infrequent 3000m and won in 7:53.9. Four days later at the New Zealand Games in the same city, Bayi won in the 800m (1:45.49), beating second-placed John Walker (1:45.9) and even 800m Commonwealth Games gold medallist John Kipkurgat who was third. The finals of the 800m, at an International meet in Auckland on January 28th witnessed Walker winning (1:46.7) in the 800m, Bayi racing in second (1:47.3), and John Kipkurgat beaten into a disappointing third place. At the end of January, Bayi competed in the Milrose Games in New York, winning in the mile in his first indoor performance in 3:59.3.

Soon afterwards, on February 7th, Bayi competed in Los Angeles (Inglewood) at the Los Angeles Times (160y indoor) track meet. Here, in the mile, Bayi won in 3:59.6, and beat off John Walker who was second in 3:59.9. On February 15th, in San Diego at the Jack in the Box Invitational (160y indoor track), Bayi significantly improved on his personal best through winning in 3:56.4, again beating nemesis John Walker (3:56.9) who was second. February 21st witnessed Bayi winning in the 1500m at the Olympic Invitational in new York. His finishing time was 3:41.2, ahead of second-placed Irish future legendary indoor world-record holder Eamonn Coghlan. At the AAU Indoor Championships in New York, on February 28th, Bayi won in the mile in a moderate 4:02.1. Then on the 6th day of March, in Cinque Mulini in San Vittore Olona in Italy, Bayi won in an unconventional 9.5 km cross-country race, ahead of New Zealanders Euan Robertson and then John Walker in third place.

After three months, Bayi was back again in international competition, again in an Italian city Formia. At the Citta di Formia, on May 8th 1975, Bayi won in the infrequently ran 1000m with a delivery of a national record of 2:18.1. On May 10th, again in another Italy city Caserta, Bayi won in the 800m at an international meet. The competition was not strong, and the finishing time was relatively modest: 1:48.3. But it was one of the tune-ups for Bayi’s next legendary run.

On May 17th 1975, Sergeant Filbert Bayi had traveled all the way to the capital Kingston of Jamaica to compete in the mile at the Martin Luther King International Freedom Games. The competition was quite formidable and it included Eamonn Coghlan and American legend Martin “Marty” Liquori. Bayi confidently stood in the inner lane at the start line and immediately took the lead when the gun went off. During the first 600 meters, Bayi ran away from the other athletes and maintained a considerable length of lead just before Liquori and Coghlan began zeroing down on him and attempted to overtake him. But this simply encouraged Bayi to run faster and wear them out. The rest of the runners were considerably far behind. At the 440 yard mark, Bayi was timed at 56.9, 1: 56.9 at 880 yards, 2:55.3 at 1320 yards, and an amazing 3:35.0 at 1500m. In this “Dream Mile” (or “Miracle Mile”), Filbert Bayi broke Jim Ryun’s world record by establishing a time of 3:51.0. Bayi had shaved a tenth of a second off Jim Ryun’s record set in June 1967 in Bakersfield in California at the National Amateur Athletic Union meet. The previous 1500m record that Bayi broke had also been held by Ryun. In the “Dream Mile,” Marty Liquori of Philadelphia was second (3:52.1), followed by Eamonn Coghlan (3:53.3) then at Philadelphia’s Villanova University.

When interviewed, Bayi would remark, “I run hard at the start because that way I don’t have to run in a bunch. They have to catch me. …When I run from the front I know what kind of strength I have. ..I didn’t know if I was running a world record. …All I was doing was trying to win (In Bayi New King of Milers; Williams Outsprints McTear,” by AP in St. Petersburg Times, May 19, 1975).

On August 12th 1975, nearly only three months after Bayi had slightly shattered the mile world record, his main nemesis the 6′ 1″ tall and sizeable (185 pounds, about 50 pounds heavier than Bayi) 23 year-old New Zealander John Walker further lowered the record by an astounding 1.6 seconds! The new record became 3:49.4, the first ever timing below the 3:50, established at the Goteborg Games in Germany. Bayi was not among the competitors in this world-record run, but the margin of more than 5 seconds ahead of second placed Kenneth Hall of Australia was also significant. Walker had, this year lost three times to Bayi, two times indoors.


In 1975, John Walker would become number one with the leading time of 3:32.4. Bayi would be ranked second with the time of 3:35.0 this year. !In 1976, Bayi again dropped down to third in ranking (3:34. behind John Walker (3:34:19) and Thomas Wessighage of Germany (3:34.80). In 1977, Bayi was not on top 10 list. Walker was still number one, followed by Steve Ovett of Great Britain. In 1978 Bayi was ranked world second behind Dave Moorcroft of Great Britain, and it would be the last year that Bayi would be among the leading 1500m ten runners of the world. This year he lost the Commonwealth 1500m crown to the same Dave Moorcroft, Bayi winning the silver medal.

Bayi’s athletic performances reached their apex during 1973 to 1977. Thereafter, Bayi continued to perform relatively excellently and he also progressively participate in more of the longer distances such as the 3000m, 3000m steeplechase, and 5000m. Bayi was far better at the longer distances than the 800m. At the same time, competition intensified with more and more people all over the world were taking on athletic careers as the dividends from sports opportunities became more and more lucrative. Competition became progressively more challenging Over the four years toward the end of his indulgence in international competition in 1989, Bayi competed less and less, and concentrated on mainly marathons a couple of times per year. The marathon results were mixed, but notably at the Honolulu Marathon on December 12th 1986, Bayi was fourth placed behind Kenyan legend Ibrahim Hussein and fellow Tanzanians Suleiman Nyambui and Gidamis Shahanga. Bayi’s time was good (2hr:16:16). Bayi’s career in athletics had spanned quite a busy two decades. Bayi stands out as one of the most disciplined, flexible, well-conditioned and dedicated athletes; the greatest athlete that Tanzania has ever produced.

Among the other more notable of Bayi’s achievements were the silver medal in the 1500m at the Commonwealth of Nations Games held in Edmonton in 1978; the silver medal in the 3000m steeplechase (in a new national record) at the Olympics held in Moscow in 1980 (Tanzania did not participate in the Olympics in 1976), several East and Central African gold medal wins, and several African Games wins. The medals that Bayi and Suleiman Nyambui won in Moscow are still the only Olympic medal wins by Tanzanians.

The beginning of the new century witnessed Retired Major Filbert Bayi and his wife commendably setting up a foundation (Filbert Bayi Foundation) and building schools in Tanzania that are intended to tap and develop athletic and educational talent in youngsters as part of discipline, health, economic, and overall empowerment. Bayi’s complex lies in Mkuza which is 50 miles from the capital city Dar-es-Salaam. He is the Secretary-General of the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC). Bayi certainly stands out as much greater than his image of one greatest athletes in the world.

Jonathan Musere

The Books of Jonathan Musere

May 13, 2011

Southern Californians’ Attitudes to Immigrants: Blacks Compared to Other Ethnics
by Jonathan Musere
ISBN: 0964596938
ISBN-13: 9780964596931
Format: Paperback, 167pp
Publisher: Ariko Publications
Pub. Date: March 2000
Traditional African Names
by Jonathan Musere
Format: Hardcover, 416pp
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Pub. Date: December 1999
ISBN-13: 9780810836433
African Proverbs and Proverbial Names
by Jonathan Musere
Publisher: Ariko Publications
Pub. Date: April 1999
ISBN-13: 9780964596924
Paperback: 216pp
African Ethnics and Personal Names
By Jonathan Musere, Christopher Odhiambo
ISBN: 0964596911
ISBN-13: 9780964596917
Format: Paperback, 281pp
Publisher: Ariko Publications
Pub. Date: January 1999
African Names and Naming
by Jonathan Musere, Shirley C. Byakutaga
Publisher: Ariko Publications
Format: Paperback, 157pp
Pub. Date: June 1998
ISBN-13: 9780964596900
African Sleeping Sickness: Political Ecology, Colonialism, and Control in Uganda
by Jonathan Musere
Publisher: Edwin Mellen Press
Pub. Date: October 1990
ISBN-10: 0889462801
ISBN-13: 978-0889462809

George Oywello: Uganda’s First Commonwealth of Nations Games Gold Medal Winner

May 13, 2011

The bulging and powerful Uganda Heavyweight boxing champion George Oywello stood at 5’11”. During the early 1960’s, Oywello represented Uganda in several significant national and international boxing competitions, won on many of the occasions. Oywello, will forever be remembered in Uganda sports history as Uganda’s first internationally prominent amateur heavyweight champion; and one of the earliest of Uganda’s foremost inspirations to Uganda’s gaining prominence in the tradition of boxing that became cemented in the 1970’s. Oywello certainly participated in more international boxing competitions than has any other amateur heavyweight champion of Uganda.

George Oywello was born on January 17, 1939 in Gulu in Northern Uganda. He died prematurely, apparently from a road accident, approximately several months after representing Uganda at the Olympic Games held in Tokyo in Japan in 1964.

Oywello’s most significant international presence came with his representing Uganda as a light-heavyweight (81kg) in Rome at the summer Olympic Games games held from August 25 to September 5, 1960. Unfortunately, in just the preliminary rounds, George Oywello succumbed to legendary Gheorghe Negrea of Romania who won by 5-0. Notably, Negrea was the silver medalist at the previous Olympics held in 1956 in Stockholm in Sweden, and he would even go on to represent Romania in the forthcoming Olympics held in 1964 in Tokyo. After defeating Oywello, Gheorghe Negrea did not go far. He was stopped in the quarter-finals by Anthony Madigan of Australia, by a knockout in the second round. In the semi-finals American Cassius Clay (later to become the flashy and flamboyant world heavyweight champion and later to rename himself Muhammad Ali) outpointed Anthony Madigan by 5-0. Cassius Clay would later claim the gold medal.

On October 5, 1962, a friendly dual match took place in Kampala in Uganda between Uganda and England. George Oywello lost to Englishman Dennis Pollard in the light-heavyweight bout, by points. Ugandans J.Kamya, Grace Sseruwagi, Peter Odhiambo, and T. Mwanje also lost to opposing Englishmen. However wins by fellow countrymen J. Wandera, John Sentongo, Kesi Odongo, D. Ochodomuge, and Francis Nyangweso drew national excitement and applause, given that Uganda had boxed to a draw with a mighty foreign power. Kesi Odongo would in the 1970’s become head trainer of the Uganda national boxing. Peter Grace Sseruwagi would become national boxing coach and gain fame for the successes of Uganda boxers in the 1970’s. Francis Nyangweso would become a boxing referee, become a Major-General and a Senior Commander of the Uganda Army during the regime of Idi Amin in the 1970’s, and Nyangweso would for three decades serve as a senor member of the International Olympic Committee. Nyangweso had an illustrious career from the time he was a boxer, and served in several capacities that included stints at being Uganda boxing captain, in addition to the military and political capacities, and the lengthy national and international career in national and international sports administration.

The next significant international opportunity for Oywello came with his representing Uganda as a heavyweight (above 81kg) at the Commonwealth Games that were held in Perth in Australia from November 22 to December 1, 1962. In the quarter-finals, Oywello was pitted against Rocky L. James (Len “Rocky” James) of Wales. James was disqualified in the third round, paving the way for Oywello to take on Holgar Johansen of Fiji. Oywello would win by points. For the finals, Oywello was pitted against William Kini of New Zealand. By beating Kini by points, George Oywello became the first Ugandan to win a gold medal at a major international event! Commendably, other Ugandans (boxers) won medals at the Games held in Perth: John Sentongo and Francis Nyangweso won bronze medals, while Kesi Odongo won a silver medal.

At the African Nations’ Boxing Championships held in Accra in Ghana in 1964, Oywello again displayed his strength and skill by winning in the finals against James Mazhar of Egypt.

The next Olympic Games were held in Tokyo from October 10 to October 24, 1964. Unfortunately, Oywello was knocked out in the first round in the preliminaries by future legendary heavyweight champion and first man to ever beat Muhammad Ali. Oywello was knocked out by none other than Joe Frazier (Joseph William Frazier), in the very first round when the referee stopped the contest. A hard and consistent-punching slugger, Frazier would ultimately become the Olympic gold medal winner, and later in the early 1970’s would establish himself as a legendary world heavyweight champion.

It will never be know regarding what would have become of talented George Oywello, had he not succumbed to a road accident when he was only in his mid-twenties. At the next major international event, the Commonwealth Games held in Kingston in Jamaica in 1966, Heavyweight Benson Ocan who is regarded as Oywello’s successor won bronze. The other two medals won by Uganda also came via boxing: Light-welterweight Alex Odhiambo won bronze, and so did middleweight Mathias Ouma. The sport of boxing was gaining steam in Uganda, and nation’s victories in the amateur ranks would reach their apex in the forthcoming decade–the 1970’s.

Jonathan Musere

Ayub Kalule: Uganda’s Most Highly Rated Boxing Champion

May 12, 2011

Ayub (Ayubu) Kalule was born on January 6, 1954, in the Buganda region of Uganda. He was born to Juma Balinnya (a former boxer) of Kibuye. Kalule started studying at Kibuli Primary School at which he started boxing early, while only in the fifth grade. Balinnya did encourage his youngsters to be a boxers, although Kalule had never seen him box. Kalule began boxing nationally in 1971, through famed club Kampala City Bombers and through his high school Modern Senior Secondary School. In terms of length of world professional ranking, together with skill and performance, Ayub Kalule has endured as Uganda’s top boxer. Kalule will also, for long, stand out as one of the most revered as well as one of the most debated of African world champions.

Of significance, Ayub Kalule, in 1972, fighting as a light-welterweight, became the under-19 Africa champion. In 1973, Kalule in the semi-finals of the lightweight division, lost and settled for bronze at the All-Africa Games held in Lagos. Thereafter, Ayub Kalule had recently turned 20 when he represented Uganda in what was his first major international test…the Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch, New Zealand held in the last two weeks of January 1974. Throughout his career, Kalule was known for his unique right-handedness, in that he who would face his opponents as if he were a southpaw, or face them in what some boxing writers call a “square stance.” This was likely an advantage in his ascent to becoming world champion, insofar as he performed as an ambidextrous boxer who would continuously confuse and barrage his opponents with either hand. Because of his strong, solid, muscular body, Kalule a man of stamina was regarded as an iron man. His opponents would tire from attempting to pound on him and his advancing pressure of relentless arms and speed.

Ayub Kalule boxed as a lightweight at the Commonwealth games, and started in the preliminaries by outpointing 20 year-old William Lyimo of Tanzania. Six years later, by which time boxing professional Kalule had become WBA Junior Middleweight Champion, Lyimo would fight for Tanzania at the Olympic Games held in Moscow. Lyimo at 27 years of age would go past the second round, but would in the quarter-finals be knocked out in the third round by 20-year old Anthony Willis of Great Britain, and thus settle for 5th place in the welterweight division.

At the quarter finals of the 1974 Commonwealth Games, Kalule out-punched and bloodily disfigured the face of 22-year old Irish “Sugar” Ray Heaney who was in the fight given two mandatory counts because of heavy punishment from the fast and hard-punching Ayub Kalule. Heaney would later become a professional, but would fast retire with an undistinguished boxing record. At the quarter finals, Kalule was pitted against 19 year-old New Zealander Robert Charles Colley. Colley would be outpointed (and settle for the bronze), allowing Kalule to move on to the final stage. After being eliminated by Russian Valery Limasov in the first round at the Olympic Games of 1976 held in Montreal (Canada), Colley would turn professional. Though Colley’s professional record is impressive, it is mediocre insofar as his fights were confined to New Zealand and Australia, and Colley retired quite early…in 1980. At the finals of these Commonwealth Games, Kalule would outpoint Kayin Amah of Nigeria and therefore win the gold. Kayin Amah, who had in the preliminaries lost to legendary Philip Waruinge of Kenya in the previous Commonwealth Games (1970), would this time be happier with taking home a silver.

Perhaps Ayub Kalule’s most prestigious amateur encounter, would be the World Amateur Boxing Championships that were held in Havana in Cuba in August 17-30 1974. Kalule starred for Uganda as a light-welterweight. Kalule’s first bout was encouraging, inasmuch as he disposed of Puerto Rican Amador Rosario by points. Next, Kalule similarly outpointed Marti Kalevi Marjamaa of Finland. Tall 5’11” Marjamaa did consecutively represent Finland at the forthcoming Olympics, but was eliminated early in the preliminaries at both the Olympics in Montreal (1976) and Moscow (1980). At the quarter-finals of the World Championships, Ayub Kalule defeated Mark Harris of Guyana by points. Mark Harris was scheduled to box for Guyana in the forthcoming Olympics in Montreal, but Guyana became one of the many countries that boycotted the Games. Harris thereafter turned professional, but his record was mediocre, including being knocked out during his attempt at the Commonwealth (British) welterweight title. Harris was knocked out by Colin Jones of the United Kingdom. Harris retired from professional boxing near the end of 1982.

In the semi-final of the World Championships, Ayub Kalule was pitted against Ulrich Beyer of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Kalule outclassed the German, and won by points. Notably, in the previous Olympics (Munich, 1972), Beyer was eliminated by Sugar Ray Seales (eventual and only national gold medalist, during these Olympics) of the USA, in the first round. Later in 1978, as professionals, Ayub Kalule would beat Sugar Ray Seales in a 10-round decision. However, Ulrich Beyer would be eliminated by Sugar Ray Leonard of the USA in a memorable fight of the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal in Canada. The finals of these World Amateur Boxing Championships saw Ayub Kalule defeat Vladimir Kolev (silver medalist) of Bulgaria by a clear 5-0. At the forthcoming Olympic Games in Montreal, Uganda was not represented but Vladimir Kolev won a bronze medal.

Ayub Kalule’s next major outing came at the African Boxing Championships that were held in home territory, in Kampala in Uganda in November 1974. Kalule, a recent Commonwealth Games’ and World Amateur Boxing Champion, was expected to win. Kalule was not disappointing, winning the gold in the final against Kenyan Philip Mathenge, in the light-welterweight division, on points. Earlier, at the Commonwealth Games held in late January 1974, Mathenge had commendably won bronze in the light-welterweight division, falling to Anthony Martey of Ghana on points. Martey would go on to be defeated by legendary Obisia Nwakpa of Nigeria, in the finals, by points. Nwakpa is now a Nigeria national boxing coach.

Ayub Kalule moved to Denmark in 1975, under Morgas Parley Promotions. Kalule distinguished himself by winning against Delroy Parkes of England for the European Cup title in the light-welterweight division.

Ayub Kalule, rose quite rapidly in the world ranks, even in spite of his being based in Denmark rather than being situated the more championship-lucrative USA. Though Kalule turned professional in 1976, during 1977 he became the foremost contender for the WBA light-middleweight crown. Peter Heller in his book “Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story” (1995: 142) writes that Ayub Kalule already top junior middleweight contender for the WBA crown, was from 1977 to 1979 denied a shot at the title. Although a champion was required to defend his title at least once every six months, the WBA did almost everything to keep Kalule from fighting the champion who happened to be a mediocre Latin-American fighter named Eddie Garzo. The WBA did not want Garzo to risk losing the title to Kalule. It was long after Garzo had lost the title to Japanese Masashi Kudo, and after considerable pressure was mounted on the WBA, that Kalule was given the chance at the title. Kalule easily defeated Kudo, and thus became Uganda’s first ever professional world boxing champion. But in order to sanction the fight, the Latin-American WBA president had requested that the Japanese promoters furnish his team of officials a long list of amenities in Japan (including luxurious dinning and hotel accommodations and seven round-trip tickets to Tokyo). The WBA has a long history of being presided over by Latin Americans.

Kalule’s fight against Masashi Kudo took place at the City Gymnasium in Akita in Japan, Kalule won the 15 round fight by unanimous decision. The fight took place on October 24, 1979. The win was quite lopsided and the scores in favor of Kalule read as: Referee Robert Ferera 149-139, Judge Harold Lederman 146-139, Judge Tim Kelleher 149-145. At age 28 and at 5’10”, a relatively young and tall Kudo would retire from boxing after this and only loss, ending up with a record of 23 wins, 1 loss, with 50% of the bouts won by knockouts. Kudo had previously, successfully, defended the WBA light middleweight title three times, over the 14 months since he won the title from Eddie Gazo. In addition, Masashi Kudo had held the Japanese middleweight title for several years, so his fame and his only defeat at the hands Kalule has actually made Ayub Kalule’s name quite infinitely endure amongst Asian boxing circles. Kudo is not regarded as a technically efficient boxer. Kudo virtually never threw a hook or uppercut, and he relied solely on jabbing and throwing straight rights. That, to some extent made it easier for Kalule to defeat him. And in retrospect, Kudo had originally been a wrestler, and he turned to boxing after failing to make it on the Japanese wrestling team to the Olympics of Munich in 1972. Maybe Kudo was in professional boxing by default, but was not really that interested in it. Even in the bouts he won, most were won by a few points. Kudo’s power was punctuated by his enormous amounts of stamina and strength, which enabled him to retire without having ever been knocked down.

Ayub Kalule’s defense of the WBA Junior-Middleweight against African-American Olympic gold medalist and superstar Ray Charles Leonard (“Sugar” Ray Leonard), is Kalule’s most internationally acclaimed fight. Undefeated Kalule had won all 36 of his previous professional fights. The fight took place at the Astrodome in Houston in Texas, amidst a capacity crowd, on June 25 1981. In the first and second round of the fight, Leonard was surprisingly the attacker of the solidly built Kalule. Leonard was certainly, faster and more agile of the two, this enabling him to penetrate Kalule as the champion worked to figure Leonard out. Leonard’s compact jab convincingly worked through Kalule’s defenses. The third round was different. It was revealed later that a left hook to Kalule’s head had resulted in the bruising of Leonard’s middle finger, a handicap that became permanent. The injury was cumbersome, but Leonard courageous attacked Kalule in the fourth round, even dazzling him a couple of times. Finishing Kalule off was the hard part, for Leonard seemed to ran into a brick wall each time he tried to finish Kalule off. The tough spirited exchange between Ayub Kalule and “Sugar” Ray Leonard demonstrated just how sturdy and unyielding Kalule was.

Into the fifth round, Kalule registered control, much with his right hand, and in the seventh round registered a right to Leonard’s head, knocking the challenger off-balance. Leonard recovered, but Kalule’s confidence blossomed. Kalule displayed more toughness in the eighth round, Leonard tiring with Kalule gaining the upper hand. Round 9 is interesting. The two boxers looked exhausted but determined, such that the non-stop and no-holding exchange that had continued right from the beginning of the fight showed no signs of abating.

The formidable Kalule continued to absorb Leonard’s faster and more accurate punches in exchange for Kalule’s bruising and ambidextrous, unpredictable punches. But Leonard did seem to sense that with the formidability of Kalule, the best thing for him to do would be to take the risk of throwing in a flurry of combinations that would disable Kalule. Ray Leonard apparently sensed that strong Kalule was also tiring and slowing down. Near the end of the round, Leonard unleashed a series of hard combinations that seemed to confuse Kalule. A flash right hand landed Kalule to the ground into a sitting position, an indication that he was not unduly hurt. At the count of six, Kalule got up, and backed up to the ropes of the neutral corner to further recuperate. The Panamanian referee who did not communicate in English, surprisingly, stopped the fight. Kalule appeared stunned by the stoppage, shrugging his shoulders and arms in questioning stance. There are claims of miscommunication between Kalule and the referee. It is said that the referee was not convinced that Kalule was willing or able to continue, based on facial gestures, but not on exchange of words between the referee and Kalule! It was deemed by Kalule’s team, that their champion had been unfairly dispossessed of his world title. An unsuccessful formal protest followed. But again, Ray Leonard was regarded as a small version of Muhammad Ali, maybe his successor in skill, speed and antics. This was American territory and Americans wanted famous and handsome golden Olympian Ray Leonard to win. Ray Leonard displayed the antics of Muhammad Ali, and was widely regarded as the heir apparent of, “The Greatest.”

Ayub Kalule had been scheduled to represent Uganda at those Olympics in Montreal in 1976 where “Sugar” Ray Leonard won gold, but Uganda became one of the many countries that boycotted the Games. The “Sports Illustrated” cover of July 6, 1981 reveals Ray Leonard in the process of landing a left jab to the chin of Ayub Kalule. It turned out that at the stoppage of the Kalule-Leonard bout, at 3 minutes and 6 seconds of the 9th round, the bout had unanimously been scored in Leonard’s favor: 76-78 by Panamanian referee Carlos Berrocal, 76-78 by judge Harmodio Cedeno, and 75-78 by judge Ismael W. Fernandez. Hence, even relative to the scoring, the differences in scores were too small for the fight to be easily and prematurely stopped. But let credit due be given to Leonard. He was the faster and more flexible of the two fighters, he landed more combinations, and he had moved up in weight to fight Kalule. This loss confirmed that Kalule had reigned as WBA Junior Middleweight champion for 20 months.

Ayub Kalule would unsuccessfully contest the decision that favored Leonard. In the September 19, 2009 issue of the Uganda national newspaper “New Vision,” Moses Mugalu reports on a recent interview (“Face to Face with Kalule”) with a 55 year-old Kalule. Kalule remarks, regarding the knockout at the hands of Ray Leonard: “I was shocked when the ref stopped the fight because I had beaten the count before the bell rang. I went to my corner for a break and was ready to continue fighting.” In much of the rest of the interview, Kalule laments his business investments in Kenya (neighboring his native Uganda which was not regarded as comparatively stable for investments) following, his retiring in 1986. The investments were disastrous and involved swindling. Kalule had invested with his buddy, former sparring partner, fellow countryman, and former highly ranked boxer Mustapha Wasajja who was a light-heavyweight. In the interview, Kalule mentions that he has children in Denmark, Kenya, and in his native country where he now resides and trains boxers. He was reconsidering moving back to Denmark for promotional contracts which he had turned down over the years. Kalule also lamented the sorry state of affairs of the sport of boxing in Uganda which he says involves corruption and bribery. Kalule says of Uganda boxing: “Real boxing stopped with our generation, the current crop of boxers have had a bad foundation.” About why his face looks remarkably smooth for a boxer, a face not bearing the swells and marks noticeable on many long-time boxers, Kalule tells Moses Mugalu, “I had a long reach. I used it properly to keep my opponents at a distance and I guarded well that’s why my face is smooth.”

Only three months after his historical battle with Ray Leonard, Kalule was back in the ring. On October 9, 1981 in Copenhagen, Kalule beat Spaniard Andoni Amana on points. Amana notably had an impressive record of 42 wins and only 2 losses, reigned as Spanish middleweight champion, and had unsuccessfully failed to capture the European Boxing Union title in just the previous fight against Tony Sibson of the United Kingdom. This was apparently the beginning of Amana facing quite formidable opponents, and Amana’s losses would continue to accrue.

A month later, Kalule challenged O’Dell Leonard of the USA in Randers in Denmark. Leonard’s record was mediocre (16 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw), the fight was scheduled for only eight rounds, Kalule won by points. Next, on February 26, 1982, Kalule would be pitted against France-based Jacques Chinon of Martinique. With a record of 20 wins, 20 losses, and 5 draws, Chinon’s record was not impressive. But he managed to fight Kalule the whole 10 rounds, Kalule winning by points, in Copenhagen.

On April 30, 1982, Kalule challenged American Oscar Albarado, the encounter again taking place in Copenhagen. Though apparently declining, the veteran Albarado had an impressive record of 58 wins, 12 losses, and 1 draw. “Shotgun” Albarado even reigned as world WBC and WBA light-middleweight champion for six months, from June 1974 to January 1975. He was moving into his mid-thirties, and he had boxed professionally since the 1960’s. Sadly, Albarado had lost his previous two fights by knockout. Kalule’s knockout of Albarado in the second round would officially be the end of Albarado’s professional career. Apparently, Kalule had remained very active, notwithstanding his loss to Ray Leonard. In his next professional outing, Kalule would once again challenge for the WBA World light-middleweight title.

Ayub Kalule was set to challenge young, upcoming and undefeated (10 wins, no losses) Davey “Bronx” Moore of the USA, in Atlantic City in New Jersey on July 17, 1982. Moore had won the WBA title in February 1982, wresting it from Japanese Tadashi Mihara by knockout in the bout that took place in Tokyo. At the time of the knockout (10th round of a scheduled 15 rounds), the judges each had Kalule trailing by a couple of points. 24-year old Davey Moore lost the WBA title to legendary Panamanian Roberto Duran, by knockout; after one title defense in which Moore had knocked our Gary Guiden. In 1986, in France, Moore was knocked out by American Buster Drayton who defended his IBF world light-middleweight title. There followed 5 more non-title bouts with heavily ranked and talented boxers such as Edwin Rosario, Lupe Aquino, and John David Jackson. The results were mixed. Davey Moore’s last official fight was with Gary Coates, in New York. Moore won by a knockout. on April 30, 1988. On June 2, 1988, Moore was apparently killed in his own garage, when he stepped out of his car to open the garage door. The car was running and was geared in reverse instead of neutral, the car abruptly rolled backward and pressed him against the garage door, killing Moore on the scene.

Next Kalule would face undefeated and future WBA champion, Jamaican Mike McCallum in a non-title but significant bout. On November 13, 1982, again in Atlantic City in New Jersey, Kalule would face a skillful McCallum who many notable boxers such as “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran had apparently avoided challenging. But while McCallum’s amateur career is not as spectacular as Ayub Kalule’s, McCallum got better and better with time. McCallum represented Jamaica at the inaugural World Boxing Championships in Havana held in 1974. He boxed as a welterweight, and he was eliminated early in the rounds by Clint Jackson of the United States. Notably, Ayub Kalule as a light-welterweight became the first African to win gold in this tournament.

Kalule would also win the British Commonwealth Games’ gold medal, and the All-Africa Boxing Championships’ gold medal in the same year of 1974. Mike (Michael) McKenzie McCallum would later win gold at the British Commonwealth Games, held in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada in 1978, representing Jamaica. Earlier on in 1977, McCallum became USA Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) welterweight champion. In the same year, McCallum became USA National Golden Gloves’ Welterweight champion. Again in 1979, McCallum became USA National Golden Gloves’ welterweight champion. In 1979 at the Pan-American Games held in San Juan in Puerto Rico McCallum was knocked out in the second round in the finals by Andres Aldama of Cuba; so, McCallum had to settle for silver medal. The last major amateur encounter for McCallum involved him in losing to New York Puerto Rican Alex “the Bronx Bomber” Ramos, for the New York Golden Gloves’ Championships.

The Kalule vs. McCallum fight was not a title bout, it was scheduled to last 10 rounds. McCallum overwhelmingly dominated Kalule. McCallum was slimmer and 2 inches taller than the stockier Kalule, McCallum was visibly faster and more agile and accurate in jabbing, and his continuous blows hit the head and anywhere above the waistline. McCallum took advantage of his long reach and speed, leaving a strong and valiant Kalule unable to reach him. Kalule also suffered an upper-cut knockdown during the preliminary rounds. Kalule kept being punched by “The Body Snatcher” McCallum, and in the 7th round was on the verge of being knocked down. The decision in Kalule’s corner was that he would not continue. McCallum had won by technical knockout by Kalule retiring! McCallum would in 1984 become WBA world light-middleweight champion, a title he would lose to Sumbu Kalambay (a Zairean resident of Italy) whom Kalule had defeated. McCallum notably became the first Jamaican world boxing champion. McCallum would later regain the WBA title by defeating Herol Graham who was the opponent in Kalule’s last professional fight. McCallum even became WBC world light-heavyweight champion, was later defeated, and later retired in 1997, aged 40, after an illustrious and excellent career of 49 wins, 5 losses, and 1 draw. Both McCallum and Kalule are ranked as among the greatest of world light-middleweight boxers of all time.

It was after an unusually long spell of nearly 18 months that Kalule was entered for a professional fight. On April 25, 1984, Kalule knocked out highly regarded and undefeated Jimmy Price of the United Kingdom, knocking him out in the first round in London. Kalule went on to knock out Canadian Wayne Caplette, in the third round in Randers in Denmark, in October 1984. On November 9, 1984, Kalule outpointed Lindell Holmes from the United States. Lindell Holmes would, after several spirited attempts become IBF super-middleweight world champion in 1990 with a win by majority decision over legendary American boxer Frank Tate.

The next significant bout for Kalule would be that against France’s highly regarded champion Pierre Jolly on June 20, 1985, in Copenhagen. This was a contest for the vacant EBU (European Boxing Union) middleweight title. Jolly lost, by a TKO in round 8, in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds.

Six months later, this time in Marche in Italy, Kalule was pitted against Zairean born Sumbu Kalambay, right in Kalambay’s adopted hometown. The bout which took place on December 19, 1985 involved two fine boxers. Kalule was knocked down in round 5 and in round 11. Kalambay was knocked down in the final 12th round. The referee Mike Jacobs awarded Kalambay the win by 113-114, the two judges sided with Kalule: 118-115 , and 117-114. Kalule had retained the EBU title by majority decision! As for Kalambay, he would in 1987 win the EBU middleweight title by beating Herol Graham, would even beat legendary American Iran Barkley for the vacant WBA world middleweight title, by unanimous decision; he would in 1988 defend against Mike McCallum for the same title, beat Americans Robbie Simms by unanimous decision and knock out American Doug Dewitt for the same title. Kalambay’s biggest humiliation of his career came with his getting knocked down by Michael Nunn in the first round of the IBF world championship match-up. “Ring Magazine” dubbed this, the “1989 Knockout of the Year.” To add insult to injury, the WBA had already stripped Kalambay of his WBA middleweight crown!

In the next year of 1990, Kalambay’s wins, in non-title bouts, would mostly come by knockouts. On Aril Fool’s Day of 1991, he again was pitted against his nemesis Mike McCallum for the WBA world middleweight title, in Mote Carlo in Monaco. The bout went the full 12 rounds. Judge Fernando Viso had Kalambay lose by 114-116, Judge Orlando Sam had Kalambay win by 115-114, and Judge Justo Vasquez had Kalambay lose 115-116. In their revenge re-match bout, McCallum had won narrowly. Kalambay’s next several wins included the defense of his EBU title against Steve “The Celtic Warrior” Collins of Ireland, the bout taking place in Italy. May 19, 1993 would officially mark Kalambay’s last official professional appearance as a boxer. He was beaten by British Chris Pyatt in Leicestershire in the United Kingdom, by unanimous decision, and thus failed to capture the vacant WBO (World Boxing Organization) world middleweight title. With 57 wins, 6 losses, and 1 draw, a man who challenged many boxing greats, Sumbu Kalambay will remain an African and Italian legend.

On February 5, 1986, Kalule was scheduled to defend his title in Yorkshire in the United Kingdom against Herol “Bomber” Graham of the United Kingdom. Graham stopped Kalule in round 10, of a scheduled 12 rounds. The loss of Kalule’s EBU title to Herol Graham officially spelled Kalule’s hanging up his gloves from the professional scene. It is of interest that Herol Graham, as an amateur beat another famous Ugandan boxer–John Mugabi in the finals of the Junior World Championships held in 1976. The loss to Graham spelled Kalule’s 46th and final fight.

In the issue of the Uganda newspaper “Bukedde” in the article “Kalule Ayomba” by Silvano Kibuuka (November 9, 2009), Kalule recounts that he had intended to retire after 50 fights, and that one of the biggest things he was proud of was that he never got beaten in the ring by a white boxer. Kalule left Denmark in 1993 and settled in Kenya where his business ventures failed. He went back to his his native Uganda, after several years in Kenya.

Later, in 1987, Graham lost the EBU title to Sumbu Kalambay (whom Kalule had defeated). Graham would also lose to Mike McCallum (by split decision) in 1989, in London, for the vacant WBA world middleweight title. After some victories, Graham would be knocked out in round 4 by Julian Jackson, in the bid for the vacant WBC world middleweight title, the bout taking place in Andalucia in Spain.

In 1992, Graham again lost to Kalambay in his attempt at the EBU middleweight title, in Marche in Italy. After some impressive wins and one loss to Frank Grant, Graham faced Charles Brewer of the USA for IBF world super-middleweight championship in New Jersey in 1998. Though Graham had built an early lead and even knocked down Brewer twice, Graham was eventually knocked out in round 10. That was the end of Graham’s boxing career.

As for Ayub Kalule, given his excellent amateur wins in his native Uganda country, in the east and central African regional championships, in the all-Africa boxing championships, at the amateur world championships, at the European championships, and the world championships, Kalule will for decades remain Uganda’s most accomplished and most decorated boxer. Kalule boxed during his country’s golden age of boxing and sports (the 1960’s and 1970’s), all the professional boxers (only four) who managed to defeat legendary Ayub Kalule are themselves legends. Ayub Kalule was occasionally denied opportunities for the world crown, by the WBA. Kalule’s willingness to fight any contender, above all, illustrates himself as a very dedicated and determined competitor who loved and respected his game of boxing. During his professional tenure of boxing while resident in Denmark, Kalule there and then became the most renowned migrant.

Jonathan Musere

William Dralu: Uganda Star Sprinter

May 12, 2011

Although Uganda has never internationally significantly nurtured champions in the short sprints, one William Santino Dralu achieved a reasonable level of significance in the realm, during the late 1960’s and in the 1970’s. Dralu has endured, for more than forty years in Uganda’s history, as a prominent Ugandan sprinter, more specifically in the 100m and 200m dashes, and in the sprint relays. Even after decades, Dralu continues to be an inspiration for Uganda sprinters. The level of international participation of Ugandan track and field athletes, continues to be disproportionately significant in the middle- and long-distances realm; leaving a dearth of athletic representation in the sprints and in the field events.

In 1969, at the East and Central African Championships (an annual track and field battle initially between, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania), William Santino Dralu achieved his biggest international accomplishments by winning in the 100m dash with a time of 10.5 seconds. This meet was held in Dralu’s home country, in the capital of Kampala in Uganda. Significantly, in the same year, Dralu established a 100m dash national record of 10.1s, a Uganda record that has endured for four decades. The record was set in the Uganda capital, Kampala, on August 8, 1969. This was an excellent record, given that the world record at that time was 9.9 seconds. Prestigiously, with this timing of 10.1, in the international Track and Field statistics, William Dralu would be ranked third in the world in 1969 (along with Charles Greene and John Carlos of USA , Pablo Montes of Cuba, Edwin Roberts of Trinidad, Melvin Pender of USA, and Detlef Lewandowski and Hermann Burde of the German Democratic Republic). Hermes Ramirez of Cuba, and Valeriy Borzov of the Soviet Union, both with a personal best timing of 10.0 in the 100m dash were respectively ranked first and second.

It is in Pietersburg in South Africa, on March 11 in 1998, that Ugandan Moses Mila equaled the Uganda record by a hand-timed 10.1 seconds. However, on website, Moses Mila’s personal best is listed as 10.48s and achieved in Johannesburg in South Africa, on March 27, 1998. At the same track meet, Moses Mila, according to the, ran his personal best in the 200m dash, a timing of 20.63s, on the same day.

Muscular William Dralu stood at a relatively tall 6′ 0″. He was born on June 27, 1947, in the east African country of Uganda. Dralu’s achievements at the Olympics, held previously in 1968 in Mexico City, were much less flattering than his achievements in 1969. At the Olympics of 1968, 21 year-old Dralu was enlisted to compete in the 100m and 200m dash. As for the 200m dash, in Heat 5 of the first round, Dralu was disappointingly eliminated after running in 6th with a time of 21.38s. His personal best of 21.1s would be achieved in the following year of 1968. In the 100m dash, Dralu was similarly eliminated very early, turning out to be 7th in Heat 1 of Round 1, timed at 10.8 seconds. At the Olympics of 1968, Dralu’s ultimate performance rank is 59th (of 66 competitors) in the 100m dash and 36th (of 49 competitors) in the 200m dash.

The next Olympics would be held in the summer of 1972 in Munich in Germany. Santino Dralu’s achievements would, again, be inconspicuous at the Olympics. In the 100m dash, 25 year-old Dralu was seventh in just Round One (Heat 6), in a time of 10.92s. Even in the 200m, Dralu was eliminated from moving further on, after ending up 6th in Heat 6 of round one, Dralu timed at 21.87s. Significantly, Dralu’s performance at the 1972 Olympics, was generally no better than his performance at the previous Olympics. At the Olympics of 1972, Dralu’s final performance rank is 67th (out of 90 competitors) in the 100m dash, and 48th (out of 66 competitors) in the 200m dash.

The next significant international track gathering took place in Christchurch in New Zealand from January 24-February 2, 1974. These were the British Commonwealth Games which are held after every four years. William Dralu was part of the Uganda 4×400 meters relay team that won bronze (3.07.45), behind the winning Kenya team (in 3.04:43); and the British team (3.06.66) which won silver. The other runners in the Uganda relay team were Pius Olowo, Samuel Kakonge, and Silver Ayoo. This is the only occasion, so far, that Uganda has achieved medal status in either the Olympic or British Commonwealth Games.

The East and Central African Athletics Championships of 1976 were held in May of 1976 in Tanzania. This was a quite exciting duel between the participating countries, the events including many world class athletes. Uganda managed to win, overall, beating favored Kenya. In the 200m final, legendary Kenyan sprinter Charles Asati managed to ward off Dralu. Asati would win in 21.2 seconds, Dralu would be second in 21.5 seconds, and John Mwebi of Kenya third in 21.6 seconds. At age 29, this would be one of Dralu’s prestigious performances.

By participating, and even being ranked highly, at world level; and by emerging among the top sprinters in several national and regional events during the 1960’s and 1970’s, William Santino Dralu has maintained legendary national status as one of the foremost of Uganda’s sprinters.

Jonathan Musere

Amos Omolo: Uganda’s Top 1960’s Sprinter and Track Olympian

May 12, 2011

Uganda sprinter Amos Omolo was born on March 9, 1937 presumably in Kenya from where he is said to have migrated to Uganda for which he competed for a considerably lengthy period of time. Omolo comes through as a dedicated and excellent runner, one who competed with some of the legendary 400m world-record holders and Olympians of the 1960’s and 1970’s. At the Olympic Games of 1968, Amos Omolo would establish a national record in the 400m run, that would endure for 27 years. As such, Amos Omolo will forever stand out, internationally, as Uganda’s (first) premier elite runner.

At the British Commonwealth Games of 1962 held in Perth in Western Australia, held during November 22-December 1, Amos Omolo demonstrated international competence. Omolo’s bronze medal win in the 440 yards run (nearly the equivalent of the metric 400 meter-run) timed in 46.88 seconds was a photo-finishing close battle. George Kerr of Jamaica won in 46.74 seconds, and Robbie Brightwell of England came in second with in 46.86. In Bob Phillip’s Honour of Empire, Glory of Sport: the History of Athletics at the Commonwealth Games (2000: 92), it is mentioned that this was only the sixth time that bronze medalist Omolo had dabbled in this distance. Many were impressed by this African performance, a promise of spectacular African performances in the very near future. Omolo was also part of the Uganda 4x400m relay team. The others in the group were Asmani Bawala, Francis Hatega, and George Odeke. It was a prestigious presence, but the Uganda team was eighth and last in a time of 3:13.6.The only other medal won for Uganda was a bronze gathered by Benson Ishiepai who ran in the 440 yards-hurdles.

The other notable Uganda achievements at these Games were by way of boxing: a gold medal won by heavyweight George Oywello, a bronze medal won by bantamweight J.Sentongo, silver medal won by lightweight Kesi Odongo, and a bronze medal won by Francis Nyangweso. The overall 6-medals’ count was a milestone for newly politically independent Uganda. Uganda’s overall performance was 11th out of the 35 nations that competed at the Games. The leap was gigantic, compared to the lone Uganda medal won by welterweight boxer Thomas Kawere in the previous Commonwealth Games that were held in 1958 in Cardiff in Wales. In Cardiff, Uganda emerged 17th, overall out of 24 participating nations. Uganda first participated in the Commonwealth Games in 1954, held in Vancouver in Canada. Uganda’s inaugural participation resulted in a lone medal for the nation: the silver medal won by Patrick Etolu in the high jump. This was an encouraging start for Uganda, the nation placed 14th overall, out of 24 participating countries.

Tokyo hosted the summer Olympics of 1964 that were opened by Emperor Hirohito on October 11, 1964. The closing ceremony took place on October 24. Amos Omolo’s relatively mediocre performance would not allow him to move on beyond the very first round. In heat 3 of the four heats, 27-year old Omolo finished 5th with a time of 47.6. All the men who had beaten Omolo were considerably younger than him. Further disappointment came in Tokyo, when the Uganda 4×100 men’s relay team consisting of Amos Omolo, Erasmus Amukun, Aggrey Awori, and James Odongo were eliminated from further contention after ending up in 6th place in the preliminary round.

The Commonwealth Games were next held in Kingston in Jamaica, during August 4-13, 1966. Uganda did not win any medals in track running, but boxers Alex Odhiambo (light-welterweight), Mathias Ouma (middleweight), and Benson Ocan (heavyweight) went back home with bronze medals. Uganda’s overall performance, compared to that registered in the previous Commonwealth Games, was lackluster. Uganda emerged 21st overall, out of 32 participating countries.

The East and Central African Athletics Championships (primarily involving Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania; and later also Zambia, Somalia, Ethiopia, and even Egypt) are normally held annually. Among Omolo’s crowning performances at these Championships were the gold medal he won in 1968, the tournament held in Tanzania’s capital Dar-es-Salaam. Omolo won in 47.6 seconds. During the 1960’s, Omolo was often part of the Uganda’s many medal victories in both the short and long relays.

Amos Omolo arrived in Mexico City to represent Uganda at the Olympics held during October 12-27 in 1968, he was nearly 32 years old and he was notably Uganda’s oldest participant. His comparatively advanced age, with many of the world’s top 100m and 400m runners nearly 10 or more years younger than him, did not seem to phase Omolo’s determination.

Omolo was much less regarded in the 100m than in the 400m run. In Round One (held on October 13) of the 100m dash, Omolo was drawn in Heat 2. Surprisingly, Omolo was comparatively impressive, running in fourth (in 10.5 seconds) respectively behind legendary future world-record holder 22 year-old James Ray “Jim” Hines (10.26 seconds) of the USA, Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa (10.30 seconds) of Madagascar, and Gaoussou Koné (10.37 seconds) of the Ivory Coast. The four advanced to the quarter-finals’ round.

The quarter-finals were held later, on the same day of October 13. Omolo was drawn in Heat 3. Omolo was eliminated from further contention after running in 7th and timed at
10.45 seconds. The winner was Pablo Montes of Cuba (in 10.1 seconds). The three who followed, advanced to the semi-finals. They were Hartmut Schelter (10.29 seconds) of East Germany, Hideo Iijima (10.31 seconds) of Japan, and a photofinishing Gerard Fenouil (10.31 seconds) of France. The four advanced to the semi-finals.

On October 16, the Round One heats of the men’s 400 meters-dash were held. Omolo won in his heat (Heat Five), with an impressive time of 45.88 seconds. The runners who respectively finished behind him and altogether advanced to the next (quarter-finals) round were Munyoro Hezekiah Nyamau (45.91 seconds) of Kenya, Jean-Claude Nallet (45.93 seconds) of France, and Hellmar Muller (45.98 seconds) of West Germany.

The quarter-finals were held on the next day, October 17th. Omolo was drawn in Heat Two. Consequently, his performance was phenomenal. Omolo won with a crowning Uganda national record of 45.33 seconds that would stand until Davis Kamoga broke it in 1995 on May 5 in Nairobi in Kenya, timed in 45.29 seconds. Kamoga would subsequently improve on the record for five more times until August 5, 1997 whereby in a second-place finishing in Athens at the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships, Kamoga was timed at a national record of 44.37 seconds. Davis Kamoga is still officially the only Ugandan to have run the 400 meters faster than Omolo.

Omolo did beat past and future 400m (and 4x400m relay) world record older Lee Evans of the USA, in the quarter-finals. But, it could well be that legendary 21 year-old Lee Evans was simply relaxed during the race and was comfortable with simply and safely advancing to the next (semi-final) round. Lee Evans ran in second in 45.54 seconds, Munyoro Hezekiah Nyamau was third and timed at 46.12 seconds, and Wolfgang Muller of East Germany (GDR) was fourth in 46.32 seconds. The four advanced to the semi-finals. Amos Omolo had proved that he was a strong medal prospect! Hezekiah Nyamau would later be part of the surprising 1968 Kenya 4x400m relay team that established a national record and won silver, being runners-up to world record-breaking USA.

In the next Olympics (Munich, 1972), Hezekiah Nyamau would be part of the Kenya gold winning team. The USA had become weakened because recent 400m gold and silver medallists Vince Mathews and Wayne Collett were banned from further competition because of alleged shoddy indiscipline as they stood on the medal stands as the USA anthem was played. American John Smith who was the favorite to win in the 400m run, was weakened by a leg injury and in the finals he pulled out early in the race. Severely reducing the USA team, gave Kenya the opportunity to win. They did just that, proving that their silver medal win in the previous Olympics had not been a fluke! In addition to Nyamau, the Kenya relay team consisted of all fine and legendary runners: Charles Asati, Julius Sang (the 400m bronze medal win at the same Olympics), and Robert Ouko.

The semi-finals of the 400m run were also held on the same day the quarter-finals were held (October 17), testimony that the closeness between the heats required the strategy of the competitors to minimize overexerting themselves. The tables did turn! In heat two, where Omolo was placed, Lee Edward Evans won in 44.83 seconds (a new Olympics’ record), arch-nemesis 20 year-old George Lawrence “Larry” James of the USA ran in second in 44.88 seconds, 23 year-old Martin Jellinghaus of West Germany (FDR) ran in third and was timed at 45.06 seconds, and 31 year-old Amos Omolo came in fourth in 45.52 seconds. These four athletes would move on to the finals in which they would compete with the other (Heat One) first-four semi finalists: 28 year-old Amadou Gakou (45.17 seconds) of Senegal, 21 year-old Ron Freeman (45.47 seconds) of the USA, 25 year-old Andrzej Badenski (45.50 seconds) of Poland, and 27 year-old Tegegne Bezabeh (45.60 seconds) of Ethiopia. The line-up was set up for the final showdown!

In just the next day, with not much of an interval rest, the finals of the men’s 400m run were set for October 18. The race would prove to be outstanding and historical. Amos Omolo was unfavorably drawn in the outermost lane 8 (lane 4 and 5 are considered the more advantageous in this distance run) where the runner is placed at the forefront of the competition at the beginning, whereby his judging of the speed competition behind him is minimized. In the end, Lee Evans won in a new world record of 43.86 seconds that would not be broken until 20 years later (in 1988) by Harry “Butch” Reynolds of USA. Furthermore, Lee Evans had become the first man to ever run the 400 meters below 44 seconds. Young Larry James, in unfavorable lane 2 had chased Evans down, but would only manage to rush in at 43.97 seconds (a personal best).

Perhaps one of the inspirations behind these sub-44 seconds’ achievements had been Omolo who had started off with a surging sprint in the first 200 meters. But Omolo apparently became drained. he ended up in last (8th) place with a mediocre timing of an athlete who had lost hope, in 47.61 seconds. As for the rest of the field, American Ron Freeman running in disadvantageous lane 1 won the bronze medal with a time of 44.41 seconds. Perhaps the big race ultimately became a battle between Lee Evans and Larry James.

The fourth place finisher was Amadou Gakou (in favorable lane 5) of Senegal in 45.01 seconds, Martin Jellinghaus (in lane 3) of West Germany (FDR/ FRG) came in fifth in 45.33 seconds. Tegegne Bezabeh of Ethiopia, running in favorable lane four, was placed 6th and timed at 45.42 seconds. Andrzej Badenski of Poland ran in 7th in a photo-finish with Bezabeh, Badenski also timed in 45.42. An apparently disillusioned and struggling Omolo would be the only one among the finalists to finish in a time of more than 46 seconds and even more than 47 seconds. Omolo trailed behind and finished in a disappointing 47.61 seconds! Not something that would have been expected of a competitor who had won in two of the previous rounds.

The Olympics of 1968 would be Omolo’s last magnanimous appearance. Amos Omolo’s performance was bitter-sweet. Omolo had proved his worth, despite his advancing age, with establishing his personal best and longstanding 400m Uganda record in 1968. He prestigiously won in two previous succeeding heats, he went on to the finals of an Olympic running event, achievements which still remain rare among Uganda’s Olympians. The Olympics in Mexico City were among the most significant in history. The “black power” demonstrations were there, Africans (more so the Kenyans with the several medals they won) displayed that they were a force to reckon with on the sports scene. Several Africans established personal, regional, and even Olympic records. Amos Omolo was very much part of that magnanimous history.


Murphy, F. The Last Protest: Lee Evans in Mexico City. Windsprint Press, Michigan: 2006.
Phillips, B. Honour of Empire, Glory of Sport: the History of Athletics at the Commonwealth Games. Parrs Wood, Michigan: 2000.…/1962_British_Empire_and_Commonwealth_Games

Jonathan Musere

African Names and Naming of Twins and Others of Multiple-Birth, and their Siblings

May 12, 2011

African twins (or multiple-birth children, in general), according to their ethnic group and gender, are traditionally given specific names. Often, the siblings who preceded and the ones who followed the twins are also given specific names. Traditional reactions to multiple baby births vary from culture to culture. However, a commonalty is the subjecting of those born in multiples to ritual cleansing. Some of this cleansing can involve wild partying. Generally, such births are regarded either as bad omens, or as mysterious extraordinary happenstances, or as symbols of goodwill from God or ancestors. The births, therefore, require proper ritual cleansing for their benefits to be realized or for their possible negative impacts to be counteracted or nullified. Improper handling of multiple birth siblings would cause the spirits to vent their anger upon the family or the community. Multiples are indeed treated with extra care, if not suspicion. The following is in a piece that Jan Daeleman devotes exclusively to the exploration of multiple-birth naming traditions in Sub-Saharan Africa (1977: 189).

“The birth of twins has a very particular meaning in many Sub-Saharan tribes, as the twins are considered to bring along a message from the ancestors to their living descendants. Their birth is accompanied by very specific rites and a carefully patterned name-giving. …in the Ngwi language the twins are called Nker, “grave”, which makes their relationship with the ancestor world very explicit: they are indeed considered to be mediators between the world of the living and the world of the dead. …they are also designated as “numinous children”…and compared with the bird…sent by God to guide all other birds (birds being believed to be of supernatural origin)….Twins are given names that refer not only to mysterious natural phenomena as “thunder” and “lightning”, but also to mysterious aweinspiring [sic] animals such as the “snake”…or felines such as the lion, the leopard, the serval…African tiger-cat…the “kingly” and “lordly” animals…. The…Koongo interpret them to be…”sacred children”…pre-existent spirits…being incarnated in the family of their choice…. Welcoming-rites…aim at making them realize that they are acknowledged as spirits.”

Paulus Mohome writes about the Basotho of southern Africa (1972:178).

“…the birth of twins always is a cause of joy and anxiety. …a great deal of excitement as well as concern surrounds the birth of twins, more so if they happen to be identical twins. They are regarded as a special gift from the ancestors. The birth of twins is said to indicate that the ancestral spirits are happy and proud about such parents. The cause for concern always stems from the belief that the twins are delicate and thus frail. There exists a strong belief among the Basotho that twins rarely grow to be adults without dying. To insure the survival of twins, great precautionary and protective measures are taken. … the mother receives special care by being given plenty of food so as to maximize her lactic capability. Rituals and taboos are elaborate. The joy of the parents is shown by organizing lavish food and beer parties to celebrate the occasion. Two sheep or goats are slaughtered to welcome the twins. Custom dictates that everything must be done twofold, for it is believed that if this is not done, one of the twins may die.”

The Nandi of Kenya have their side of the story (Hollis 1969: 68).

“The birth of twins is looked upon as an inauspicious event, and the mother is considered unclean for the rest of her life. She is given her own cow and may not touch the milk or blood of any other animal. She may enter nobody’s until she has sprinkled a calabash full of water on the ground, and she may never cross the threshold of a cattle kraal again. One of the twins is always called Simatua (Fiscus sp.) whilst the other receives an animal’s name such as Chep-tiony, Chep-sepet, Chemaket, Che-makut, etc.”

The Luhya of Kenya and Uganda have a lengthy traditional ritual (Wako 1985: 37-38).

“If a woman gave birth to two children, they were called “Amakhwana.” The mother of twins was nicknamed Nabakhwana or Balongo. …But on giving birth to twins, the husband and herself shut in their hut for one month or more [sic]. A sheep would be slaughtered for her and neighbors would come and stage dances in the home. On the day of exposing the twins [to the public], the mother would cover her waist with special leaves called “amaatikhani.” …He [the father] would…choose the day for releasing the twins and their mother from staying indoors. …the man would take a long three-pronged stick and a young cockerel while his wife would take a small hoe called “Akhasiri,” a small pot of “busaa” and some water. Then they would set off for the ceremony, accompanied with a large crowd of men, women and children. …On arrival at the home where the ceremony was to be held, there was no formal welcome as the house was full of people dancing and rejoicing. The new arrivals had therefore to force their way in. Often fighting erupted with those who attempted to prevent them from going in. The man specifically invited to perform the ceremony would proceed to the house in which the twins were, followed by his wife and using his three pronged stick, he would push the door open. The two pairs would meet at the entrance, where upon [sic] the door opener and his wife would spit some liquor in the twins’ faces. This would be the climax of the ceremony and would be followed by drinking and dancing. …Twins…the first [born]…was called Odongo if a boy and Adongo if a girl. If one of the twins died, it had to be buried behind the mother’s house. There was no mourning for a dead twin. The living twin was referred to as Abanji. a woman who gave birth to twins was forbidden to enter any house at her original [parental] home until her husband had given her parents a heifer and the door opening ceremony had been performed. …In other areas, the first twin..whether a girl or a boy was called Mukhwana. The second twin was called Mulongo. The child that followed twins was called Shisia whether a boy or a girl. The follower of Shisia was called Khamala. If one twin died, the surviving one was called Walekhwa.”

Multiple-birth related names used in central Africa include Ishemboyo and Boika (for a father of twins), Tangbo and Inababiri (for a mother of twins), Inabushuri (for a mother of triplets), Manata, i.e., “carrier of twins” and Kibika, i.e., “the one who calls the twins” (for a sibling whose birth preceded that of twins), Mputu (for a firstborn sibling after twins), Tingbo, i.e., “twin’s arm” (for a second-born sibling after twins), Tsiimba, i.e., wild cat and Nzusi, i.e., serval tiger-cat (for female twins), Khosi, i.e., lion and Makaanzu, i.e., “the one who holds the lion by his feet” (for male twins), and (for triplets) Omba, Shako, and Mbucu (Daeleman 1977: 191-14).

Among the Baganda of Uganda, the twin who is given birth to first is commonly named Wasswa (m), or Singoma (m), or Babirye ( f ), or Nangoma ( f ), whilst the younger one is named Kato (m), or Teenywa (m), or Nakato ( f ) or Wuuja ( f ). The names Wasswa, Babirye, Teenywa, and Wuuja are adapted from ones used by the neighboring Basoga, while Singoma and Nangoma are adapted from names used by the neighboring Banyoro.

According to Whitehead (1947: 46), the Nuer of Sudan name the firstborn after twins Bol (m), or Nyabol ( f ); the second born after twins is named Geng (m), or Kaat (m), or Nyacwil ( f ); and the third born after twins is named Tot (m), or Nyatoot ( f ). According to Evans-Pritchard (1948: 108), the firstborn after twins is called Bol (m), or Bicok (m), or Nyibuol ( f ); while the second born after twins is named Tot (m) or Cuil (m) or Nyatot ( f )


Daeleman, Jan. “Proper Names used with ‘Twins’ and Children Succeeding Them in Sub-Saharan Languages.” Onoma 21, (1977): 189-195.

Evans-Pritchard, E.E. . “Nuer Modes of Address.” Uganda Journal 12, no. 2 (1948): 166-171.

Hollis, A. C. The Nandi: Their Language and Folk-lore. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1969.

Mohome, Paulus M. “Naming is Sesotho: Its Sociocultural and Linguistic Basis.” Names 20 (1972): 171-185.

Musere, Jonathan. African Names and Naming. Los Angeles, CA: Ariko Publications, 2000.

Wako, Daniel M. The Western Abaluyia and Their Proverbs. Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya Literature Bureau, 1985.

Jonathan Musere