Retired teacher Adolu-Otojoka spotted for professorship

Mr and Mrs Zadok Adolu-Otojoka and some of their relatives in background

The faculty at Makerere University has initiated a process to have retired teacher of music, Zadok Adolu-Otojoka, recognized with honorary professorship of that university.

This was revealed by Prof Josephine Ahikire, the principal of the college of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), at an event organized by CHUSS to honor Adolu-Otojoka for his service to Uganda and East Africa. The event, dubbed ‘Zadok Adolu-Otojoka biography recital: Lessons from half a century of music teaching’, took place at St. Francis Chapel Makerere University on March 31, 2022.

The biography recital event, the honorary professorship and a proposed Zadok Adolu-Otojoka Music Excellence award are all packaged to fit in the university’s centenary celebrations which are running from October 2021 to October 2022.

Across 52 years, I have served as a teacher of music education, a cultural administrator, conductor, dancer, opera performer, rising to heading the Cultural Affairs department of the East African Community, based at Nairobi. He had risen through the ranks, starting primary one aged 12 years, first working as a grade II teacher and eventually earning a master’s degree in the USA.

He was also praised as an extraordinary mentor and counselor of people under his charge, a man with extraordinary talent in both African and Western musical art forms. At his prime time, he excelled as a bass-baritone with a wide range hard to beat. He has featured in several opera performances alongside celebrated American and European actors and actresses.

Adolu-Otojoka, 90, retired from Makerere University in 1999 when he was head of the Music, Dance and Drama department. However, he went on to lecture at Maseno University, Kenya 2000 to 2006. He currently lives in his birthplace in Serere district.

The event had, besides speeches, musicals in three categories – spirituals, oratorios and opera. The biography recital itself was read in three pieces by three different persons who had previously had direct experiences with the old man – Dr Milton Wabyona, Sam Okello-Kelo and Augustine Omare Okurut.

The recital served the purpose of highlighting some of Adolu-Otojoka’s experiences, approaches and recommendations presented in his oral history. It was based on an article, ‘Zadok Adolu-Otojoka and music education in Uganda: An oral history’ written by Dr Wabyona published in the USA-based Journal of Historical Research in Music Education in January 2022.

The musicals were done by Makorale, a Makerere University community music ensemble comprising current and former students of Makerere, faculty and other university community members. The repertoire for the recital was picked from Adolu-Otojoka’s most favorite works by him, especially those highlighted by Wabyona in his (Adolu’s) oral history and recitals of select sections of his life story by him.

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