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Ugandan student who died in US accident laid to rest in Kalungu

by Editorial Team
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By Daphine Nakalyoowa Semakula

Elvis Kikuba’s father couldn’t help but break down. The picture of him sitting only a few feet away from the US flag-draped casket bearing the remains of his son was never one he had envisioned – or wished to ever imagine.

Yet, life had other ideas. 

Thousands of miles away from home, a young Ugandan life full of promise was tragically cut short last month in the US state of Ohio.

The late Elvis Kikuba

Kikuba, 21, had just completed his first year of study in the US – first at Missouri Western State University and then at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

He had arrived in the US in January this year to kickstart a new academic life, having previously attended Ndejje Senior Secondary School in Luwero district.

But on November 9, his life came to an abrupt end in a freak car accident in Ohio.

Kikuba was behind the wheels of a Ford Fusion on that fateful Wednesday. Also in the same car was his friend, Musa Kimuli.

He pulled up some metres behind the site of two crashes, as emergency personnel assisted the victims.

But in a tragic twist of events, a Volvo van rammed into their stationary car, crashing into the guard rail and one of the vehicles involved in the earlier crash.

Kikuba lost his life, and Kimuli, who said he lost consciousness during the crash, survived.

“The Police ordered us to stop and we abided. But when the accident occurred I blacked out,” he told mourners at the burial of Kikuba at his ancestral grounds at Bulwadda-Kyamuliibwa in Kalungu.

“And when I woke up, my friend had gone. I will miss him. Just pray for me.”

‘Greatest gift of all’

Sam Musisi, Kikuba’s father, was so overcome by emotions that he had his elder sister, Mary Nsangi Kakembo, read out his eulogy on his behalf.

Kakembo is a former state minister for youth and child affairs.

“To have you as my son, was the greatest gift of all. Rest in Heaven’s glory Elvis,” she read her brother’s emotional tribute to his beloved son – her nephew.

He thanked his colleagues of the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF), Sinclair Community College, relatives, friends and in-laws, who enabled the repatriation of his son’s body for burial.

Berevead parents Sam Musisi and Teddy Kikuba laying a wreath on the US flag-draped coffin of their son during the burial
Drowned in grief, Teddy Nantongo Kikuba said her son had a unique character and that she will miss him so dearly.

She, too, thanked everyone who was involved in bringing Kikuba’s body back home on December 19.

One of his OBs from Ndejje SSS said “Elvis was so kind and very organized”.

Adding: “He told us how he was going to study in the US, and indeed he read so hard so as to achieve his goal. We have been communicating with him and he was enjoying his studies. We are surely going to miss him.”

Rev. Moses Ssenyonyi, the chaplain of  Ndejje SSS, praised Kikuba as having been very smart, an attribute that endeared him to many people, including the chaplain himself.

The burial service, led by Can. Moses Kayimba, was attended by military representatives, friends and politicians, including Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda.

Laying of wreaths on casket 📸

Members of the clergy
UPDF officers led by Gen. Joseph Ssemwanga (in uniform)
Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda

Born in 2001, Kikuba joined Hormisdallen for his primary education, before moving on to Ndejje SSS for his secondary education and sitting his Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) exams in 2021.

He then moved to the US this year, where he studied manufacturing engineering for the first semester that ended in May at Missouri Western State University.

He then moved to Ohio to  pursue a degree in Aviation Maintanance Technology at Sinclair Community College for the second semester – August to November.

He passed to move on to the second year to study space engineering, only for his life to end last month.

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