Mak Student Drowns in University Swimming Pool

Written by: 
Moses Mucunguzi & Bridget Nangobi

Makerere students are still in shock a day after one of their own drowned at university swimming pool on Sunday.

At the time of his death, Uwimpuhwe James, a Rwandan national, was a second year student of Arts in Arts (BARS) at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 drowned in the Makerere Swimming pool on Sunday, 13th October at around 15:00 hours. Uwimpuhwe's death, which is believed to have occurred at 3pm, was first rumoured by his classmates in their WhatsApp group at 5:54pm. Sharing a photograph of the deceased, one of the students posted: “The guy has downed in the swimming pool in campus.”

His death was later confirmed by the University Vice Chancellor Professor Bananas Nawangwe through a social media post. He described the incident as a shock.

"I have received with much shock news of the death of James Uwimpuhwe, a second year Arts student who has drowned in the University swimming pool this evening. A brief to me from the Swimming Pool management indicates that James got stuck while attempting under-water Swimming. Life savers on duty rushed to his rescue, offered Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other first aid but he died on the way to hospital. I send my condolences to his family and the entire student community. May His Soul Rest In Peace," read Professor Nawangwe's post.

An eyewitness who preferred anonymity narrated to our reporter that an old man who was also swimming at the time of the tragic incident claimed to have noticed something like a person on the swimming pool bed. “A member of the University swimming team then dived into the pool only to emerge on the water surface with a body. It had substances around the mouth and nose. Guys tried to offer first aid but the body to me looked lifeless,” he explained.

It appears the deceased was still trying to find his bearings in the swimming pool. “That same guy was saved from drowning in this swimming pool on Independence Day. I think he was just trying to learn,” another eyewitness told Journalism@Mak.

Uwimpuhwe's body was rushed to Abii Clinic in Wandegeya by swimmers. He was unfortunately pronounced dead by the Clinic's medics shortly after.

Ritah Atuhaire, a classmate and friend told our reporter that it is hard to believe Uwimpuhwe's death. Umutooza Winnie another friend said she contacted leaders in the Rwandan Students Association at Makerere University. These then contacted the Rwandan Embassy which contacted Uwimpuhwe's parents in Rwanda.

Last year, John Paul Mirimu, a first year student of Information Systems and resident of Nsibirwa Hall, drowned in the same pool after illegal entry after a Saturday morning jogging. The Swimming Pool management then committed itself to more safety. The swimming pool wall fence was repaired and elevated higher to avoid illegal entry. Uwimpuhwe's incident, however, poses a new safety challenge at pool.

Makerere University Swimming pool is one of the oldest in East Africa and is used by students of Fisheries and Aquaculture plus those of Sports Science for some of their lectures. It's also a home ground for the Makerere Sharks, the University's Swimming team.


Courtesy Photo