In a somber announcement on Saturday morning, the Buganda Kingdom confirmed the passing of former minister and esteemed activist, Owek Joyce Rovincer Mpanga, at the age of 89.
Makerere University, where Mpanga is fondly honored, also expressed condolences via X (formerly Twitter), mourning the loss of the educationist, politician, and women’s rights crusader whose impact spanned six decades.
“Joyce Mpanga was one of Makerere’s illustrious female alumni. She was a woman of many firsts, including being the first female lecturer in the faculty of education at Makerere University and Gayaza High School’s first African deputy headmistress. May the joy and grace of the Almighty God truly be the strength of her family and friends in this time of loss,” reads Makerere University’s post on X.
Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, eulogized Mpanga as “a trailblazer, a champion of the cause of women, an inspiration, and a leader who set the bar so high in our country!”
Deputy Speaker Hon Thomas Tayebwa, also posting via X, hailed Mpanga’s significant contributions to the emancipation of women and the transformation of the country’s education sector, sentiments that he believes will forever be engraved in “our history.”
Mpanga served as the Minister of Women in Development in the Buganda Lukiiko from 1988 to 1989 and later as the Minister of State for Primary Education in the central government from 1989 to 1992. Outside of the Ugandan cabinet, she held the position of Member of Parliament for Mubende District from 1996 to 2001.
A fervent advocate for women’s emancipation, Mpanga also played a crucial role in the restoration of the Buganda Kingdom in 1993. Her legacy is marked by numerous milestones, including being the first female lecturer in the faculty of education at Makerere University and serving as Gayaza High School’s first African deputy headmistress.