Hadijah Nakitende, one of the founders of The Sunrise Newspaper, has passed on.
Family members have confirmed the tragic news of her passing this morning Monday June 21, after a year-long battle with Cancer.
Following the closure of the first Uganda Airlines, Nakitende teamed up with colleagues in the Public Relations department, and with a team of seasoned journalists to found The Sunrise in September 2000.
Her warm personality attracted many young and seasoned journalists to find a place to practice their writing skills and talents under her stewardship at The Sunrise.
Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, The General Manager of The Sunrise Newspaper, who also called her aunt, described her as the most beautiful human being (in and out) to have walked this planet.
Ggoobi said: “This is one of the worst days in life. Aunt Haddy, as we fondly referred to her, has been one of the most beautiful human beings (in and out) to have ever walked this planet. She was a super human being with a very BIG heart. I doubt she had anyone she hated. Hadijah was always smiling while sharing the little she had however small it was – a pancake, a single banana, a piece of chicken. She mentored a lot of young journalists currently working in several other media houses in the country.”
Mr. Ggoobi adds: “At a personal level she was my favourite aunt and everyone in our family knew it. When she got seriously ill I told her I would not bear the pain of seeing her while she’s on her sick bed and we agreed. I wanted to always remember Aunt Haddy in the way we’ve lived since she invited me as a student at Makerere University to start writing and working with her at The Sunrise in 2000. I thank her for having allowed me to remember her this way. She made me the person I am today, personally and professionally. I beg Allah to grant Aunt Haddy heaven, and enable all of us to emulate her good deeds.”
Under her kind embrace, The Sunrise shaped the careers of many of the current crop of journalists in Uganda.
Edris Kiggundu, the Editor of Nile Post, eulogized her as a motherly person to whoever she worked with.
“For some of us who started our journalism at The Sunrise, this is a big blow. She was motherly, and gave journalists advice about life. She gave opportunity to many upcoming journalists to hone their writing skills.”
Mike Ssegawa, the founder of Watchdog Media, also eulogized Ms. Nakitende as the kindest person.
He said: “The Sunrise and all Journalists that went through the weekly newspaper, have lost a Matriarch.
“Hajat, as we fondly called her, was the glue that kept Sunrise knit. Her energy and positivity infused hope in anyone who entered the doors of Sunrise. Hajat is the kindest person one could ever meet. She gave us all a chance to practice journalism, and was always ready to teach or ask her editors to teach anyone with promise.
Ssegawa added: “Hajat departs having planted her seeds across Uganda’s media garden. May heaven receive her beautiful soul with all hands. Uthman Semakula, sorry about mum. Sorry, Ramathan, Eriasa for your auntie. Sorry Henry Lutaaya who worked hand in hand with Hajat to keep The Sunrise alive and kicking.
Vicent Nathan Lusambya, one of the current staff and writers with The Sunrise could not hold back his tears as he eulogised Ms. Nakitende as a selfless hardworking human being who spared nothing for herself to help others.
“I come to realize that indeed death leaves a heartache no one can heal, I strongly remember her from my first time to face her as a fresh graduate who sought employment. Her kindness and smiling face at first sight made me innitialy believe she was a company receptionist yet in actual sense she was one of the top directors, she didn’t give me immediate response that had been employed but I was surprised by her getting transport from her bag to see me back home even when had not pleaded for it, her actions indeed fitted the Ubuntu philosophy,” tearfully said Lusambya.
Muhamadi Byemoijana, also one of the current writers at The Sunrise said: “Hajati was the most kind and selfless person I have ever met. She easily forgave, she never kept any grudge and she believed in Allah and the Holy Quran.”
“She gave me an opportunity when I knew nothing, she was a mother figure to all of us,” added Byemboijna.