There was a memorial Mass on Thursday 22.6.2023 at Kitabi Parish, Mbarara Archdiocese praying for the Late Benedicto Kyatuuka Mubangizi, a famous composer and writer. Mass was led by the Parish priest Fr. Hillary Katusiime who hailed the late Benedicto as great icon in the church because many of the songs he composed are used in church liturgy. Mr. Darius Masindano, a music composer and disciple of Benedicto said many people desired to have seen Benedicto Mubangizi, because of the great things God worked through him. Quoting Luke 11:27-28, Mr. Masindano said the womb which bore and breasts suckled by Benedicto are blessed. Blessed indeed are all those who sing compositions of Mubangizi and those who read his literature. He described Benedicto and how he talks about God in an amazing way in the famous composition of Eiguri buzima with the following stanza: ‘abamureebaho, bagamuhangaho; bagamugumyaho, baremwa kwiihaho.‘
In attendance were choirs from Kibona Parish, Kitabi parish, Buhimba parish, Kashekuro parish, Kugàrama parish, St. Kaggwa parish, Ibaare centre, Mbarara archdiocese. composers like Mr. Darius Masindano, Mr. Innocent Tumwebaze, uncle John and Barekye Paschal were in attendance and are some of those who were trained by the late Benedicto Mubangizi.
Mr. Ignatius one of the sons of Benedicto Mubangizi, on behalf of the family said many people wonder how Benedict did all this in his life. time outside class, he was either reading or writing, to the extent that he would even walk while reading or singing. He called time so much that he never wasted a minute. his father had bought him a typewrite in 1954 which he used to do his work and up to now it’s still functioning.
Who is Benedicto Mubangizi?
Benedicto Kyatuuka Mubangizi was born on 21.3.1926 on the feast of St. Benedict. He was born at Buhunga (in the present Rutooma parish), Rukungiri to Pantaleeho Kyatuuka and Barbara Kobwoya. His father was from Igara and was working as missionary catechists in Nyakibale. Benedicto was the only child of his parents. He studied from Rutooma sub grade in 1935, Kitabi primary school from 1941-1945, Kitabi vernacular teacher training college (VTTC) in 1946-1947. He became a Grade II teacher at Nsambya Teacher Training College in 1947. He was rewarded with Grade III Certificate in 1964 for his great work as composer and writer.
Benedicto Mubangizi, a leader
He was elected Secretary General of Kitabi Old Boys Association (1950-1953), Chairperson of Kitabi Catholic Council (1955-1956), Member of Ankole District Appointments Committee (1955-1956), Member of Igara Appointments Committee (1955-1956), Member of the Sacred Heart Commission Mbarara Diocese (1960-1961). He was elected president of Ankole School Music Associations from 1964-1965. He was appointed member of the Vernacular Subject Panel Institute of Education, Makerere University (1965-1967), Member of the Runyankore-Rukiga Language and Literature Committee (1965-1971), member of the Uganda Authors Association (1967-1970). He was also a member of the Book Publishing Association of Mbarara Diocese – Omuhanda Gw’okumanya (1967-1970), Member of Liturgical Commission Mbarara Diocese (1967-1969, 1974-1975), Member of the Language Commission, Mbarara Diocese (1967-1969), member of the Sacred Music Composers Group, Mbarara Diocese (1970-1975), Member of the Ankore District Music Advisory Committee (1971), Member of the Synod Commission, Mbarara Diocese (1985-1986), Member of the Pastoral Commission, Mbarara Diocese (1986).
In 1980, Bishop John Baptist Kakubi invited Benedicto Mubangizi and requested him to start a Diocesan project for promoting and preserving music and literature at Kitabi parish which later came to be known as MUSLIT (Music and Literature) Centre whose motto was Sing with Zeal and Speak Sensibly – yeshongore n’omujunya kandi ogambe eby’oburyo. In 1982, Benedicto Mubangizi drafted a a constitution of MUSLIT (Music and Literature) and was approved by Mbarara Diocesan Administrative Board in 1983. In 1984, he drafted a masterplan for Music and Literature and became the first director of MUSLIT with Bishop John Baptist Kakubi as its patron.
Though Benedicto Mubangizi went to school, he also taught himself many things like languages (Luganda, Kiswahili, Latin, French, English) and perfected his Runyankore-Rukiga. He taught himself Music, both native and foreign, prose and poetry, Linguistics, Sociology, Psychology, History, Geography, and typewriting. As a teacher, he taught at Kitabi minor Seminary (1964-1972), tutor at St. Peter’s Kitabi T.T.C as Grade I(1951-1953), St. George Ibanda T.T.C as Grade II (1965-1966, 1968-1970), St. Kalemba Catechetical Training Centre Ibanda (1978), Kitabi T.T.C as Grade III (1984-1985). In these colleges, Benedicto was teaching Geography, Nature Study, Vernacular, Blackboard work, Music, Agriculture, History, Handwork and Chart making. He was
Music compositions by Benedicto Mubangizi
Benedicto Mubangizi started training choirs in 1948 until 1977 and spent 30 years as a choirmaster. He composed many church songs and a number of them is compiled in a book entitled Mweshongorere Mukama or cantante. Some of his compositions include: Obugyenyi bwa Yesu, Oije Mutima Muhangi, Obushwere burikwera, Yesu singa Nyakusinga, Yesu ka nkwebanze, Eshagama y’omuhendo, Twimukye tubahimbise, abafeera diini, Tweteise abasiisi, Eiguru buzima, Muhimbise Mukama, Akagitemba Mariya, Okancooka Yesu, Omwegyesa ari hanu, Banyagalilaaya mwe, Abahinda b’obwera weeshe, Eizooba omu nsi rijwiire among others. All these are used in Sacred worship in the Metropolitan of Mbarara and beyond. Benedicto Mubangizi participated in the National Music Festival at Kyambogo in 1968, International Music Festivals at Nakasero in 1969, welcoming Pope Paul VI at Rubaga in 1969, Centennary Celebrations of the death of Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo in 1986. It is on record that Benedicto Mubangizi won the African Choral Competitions at Kyambogo in 1968.
Books written by Benedicto Mubangizi
Benedicto Mubangizi put in practice the prose and poetry which he taught himself. Among the novels he wrote include: Amaarwa n’eminywere yaago (1945), Obushwere n’emitwarize yaabwo (unpublished, 1953), Emicooboro (1959-1962), Ebihimbo (1959-1964), Emicwe y’ensi omu Banyankore (1963), Rwakyekoreire buhano, volume I and II (1964), Abagyenda bareeba, volumes I-VIII (I = Omwaka gw’ekifa busha, II= okwezi kw’emirabanamu, III=okweega kurimu oburemeezi, IV=omwaka gw’ebirikutangaaza, V=orugamba rwa rukundo, VI=okuraaruukira omu buzaahe, VII=okuzaahuukira omu kazeereero, VIII=etuutu y’obwenda maka. All these 8 volumes were written from 1964-1972), Ebyevugo by’eri igyenda (1962-1969), Eby’amagara g’omuhandiiki (1966-1968), Ebizino by’akanyonyi katakamanyiire (1968-1983), Eirwariro rya rwango (1971), Obuhingi bwa Rukundo y’amazima (1979-1986), Eshagama y’Eitaka Maaweitwe (1983-1984), Mweshongorere Mukama, Nkuganire (I-IV), Nkutebeze (I-IV), Nkuzaanire, Kanyarurimi I & II. There are also unpublished works which include: Embundu yi ntaine, Enzigu etari yangye, Maari erahinda omuri kiriini.
He married Mariya Baahumura and they wedded on 9/5/1945. They produced 11 children (9 boys and 2 girls). Of these, 5 children are still surviving, 45 grand children and 15 great grandchildren. He died on 22.6.1995 and was buried in his ancestral home in Ryaishe, Kitabi Busheyi district, Mbarara Archdiocese, but his name remains forever because of the enormous work he accomplished for his church and state. Blessed are those who die in the Lord! Now they can rest forever after their work, since their good deeds go with them (Rev 14:13). May the soul of Benedicto Mubangizi continue resting in perfect peace!!