A special tribute to Mr. Aponye: An actor’s recognition to me is in his humanity and work!


A special tribute to Mr. Aponye: An actor’s recognition to me is in his humanity and work!

By Davis Bariho Bagamuhunda The news of the sudden death of Mr.Apollo Nyegamehe (Aponye) is heart breaking. A humble, gentle and philanthropic soul

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By Davis Bariho Bagamuhunda

The news of the sudden death of Mr.Apollo Nyegamehe (Aponye) is heart breaking. A humble, gentle and philanthropic soul gone too soon. Many of us may mostly know Aponye from the business perspective-a man who built a big business empire from humble beginnings, and now with most influential people in the land around him. I want to share another narrative that explains, Aponye the inner man he was.

Despite his status, Aponye was a confidant of many people from all social classes of life. His humility brought him closer to many people, and often many could only recognize, he is the famous Aponye after several engagements. He too was very close to the poor and the less privileged in our society. His love for his Catholic Church and other religious denominations cannot be overemphasized having led efforts to build one of the magnificent multi-billion Catholic Church in record time at Muhanga Catholic Parish, Muhanga Town Council, Rukiga District- South Western Uganda.

In 2014, while I worked as an Energy engineer and consultant, I needed some help from the Ministry of Energy. Some of my paper work had been stuck in some offices delaying processing of some payments. After prayers of the Kigezi Kampala Catholic Residents Association (KKCRA) mass at MTAC, I discussed my dilemma with Aponye and he quickly arranged for me a meeting with Eng. Murengyezi (RIP) who resolved the problem.

As a young family in business,my wife and I, found Aponye as one of the greatest business mentors using his organic ways of doing business to advise how to navigate the business environment. His guidance and support has been critical to the growth of ORIBAGS-a waste recycling and packaging enterprise co-founded with my spouse Rusia Orikiriza. Aponye has been a mentor for many, at least the young entrepreneurs in my circles and always used his business acumen with humility and indigenous knowledge to offer critical business guidance and advisory services. In most of the interactive sessions with us and several others, I have attended, he never missed sharing stories of his small beginnings as a hawker, selling groundnuts and later as a turn boy on trucks, and his participation in “Magyendo” carrying merchandise on his head from Kajara-Ntungamo to Rwanda through the hills of Mashure. One time, he told me one of his survival stories when one night they were carrying coffee from Kajara-Ntungamo heading to Rwanda and were waylaid and ambushed by soldiers and one of his colleagues while they took-off from the soldiers, lost track and landed himself into Lake Nyamunuka dying instantly.

Throughout his business journey, he has practically demonstrated the wealth creation principle of Earning- Saving-Investing and Growing. I saw his excitement at our ORIBAGS factory launch and grand opening last year on September 1st 2022, re-affirming to me that his wishes for us as a business enterprise had come to fruition in his presence.

A few years ago when my wife Rusia Orikiriza was diagnosed with stage4 breast cancer that had already damaged her liver, spinal bones, pelvic bones and the sacrum, after several medical attempts, we were advised by doctors to go home and do palliative care only to manage the pain. Given the fact that the cancer had spread to her various vital body parts and skeletal bones, the doctors indicated there were no chances of survival-we were literally told of one month to live and this almost came to pass when her lower body shutdown, got paralysed and numb for several months. Aponye and his family secured us a physiotherapist and paid off his initial bill to attend to us from home. He (physiotherapist) worked tirelessly for several months to restore a physical body that had partially shut down. Aponye and his family would buy and send us all kinds of medicines they would be told about to offer any sort of pain relief to our condition. Mrs Vangi Nyegamehe through direct calls and messages, would commit us to God through daily mass offers and intentions.

Aponye’s excitement during our factory launch was shortlived when my wife, Rusia Orikiriza collapsed shortly after the launch and grand opening. I saw his deep affection and love for his mentees, staying with us till late night hours being managed by an emergency doctor and the physiotherapist until recovery was realized. After a few days, he invited me over lunch and told me a few words in Rukiiga—“Davis Otahwa amaani, Gyezaho ekirabasika kyoona” translated as “Davis don’t give up, try everything possible”. He told me, how he had successfully lived with Diabetes, Pressure for over 30 years and narrated to me his 1980s story when he got bedridden for over 6 months and doctors gave up on him but later recovered. I went home, a renewed man and this further encouraged me and informed my conscience to think differently about the tough times we were going through. I started to look at different options until we were able to seek further medical treatment. My wife, later got a spinal surgery and veterbrae reconstruction in India with several other cancer treatments which enabled her to stand, walk and get back to work again.
A few words of encouragement brought us hope, energy and we are able to smile again and now counting years.

Recently at the wedding of his son Peter and Vivian at Akamwesi Gardens over the previous weekend, he was overjoyed to see us together participate at the wedding. He often refered my wife as “Kakazi” and together we often called him Chairman. We laughed over the previous circumstances and jokingly asked my wife “Kakazi nembaga ya Peter wagirya? Literally translated as “Kakazi, you have even participated in Peter’s wedding? We laughed and my wife was quick to respond, “Chairman, Greetings from heaven”. We danced, laughed and went home past midnight happy and fulfilled. We didn’t know, it was the last time we could share the good moments.

A man that preserved his life for generations, gave so much to others, lived a simple, humble and exemplary lifestyle, did everything possible for his family, would perish in a motor accident in a flush of a second.

As a believer and through the creative natural intelligence that God gave all of us, I know that Aponye, you are somewhere looking at all of us. May God receive you and take you to your right place.
You will forever remain in our hearts .We are grateful for the moments you have shared with us and the impact you have left in our lives.
Your legacy will remain!

Rest in peace Apollo Nyegamehe.

Correspondences and comments
@davisbariho ; bagsondavis@yahoo.co.uk

The post A special tribute to Mr. Aponye: An actor’s recognition to me is in his humanity and work! first appeared on Showbizuganda.

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