Growing up in poverty, Rev. Dan Balabyekubo attended half of his secondary school years without shoes. He earned his school fees working as a casual labourer around the school. This made him a subject of scorn among his fellow students at Uganda Martyrs Centenary Secondary School in Kangulumira. But this didn’t prevent him from becoming a powerful man of God that he is today.
Rev. Dan Balabyekubo has served the Anglican Church of Uganda for now 20 years.
Lizzy Nabuma visited Rev. Dan Balabyekubo from his country home in Kayunga to discover the secret that made this clergyman.
When his father failed to pay a loan from East Mengo growers cooperative society due to his polygamous lifestyle that prevented him from managing his finances well, the society auctioned Rev. Balabyekubo’s father’s property, an action that sent the whole family into chronic poverty. As a result he failed to educate his children.
Rev. Balabyekubo was among the victims of this poverty but out of luck and what he calls “the grace of God” he managed to go through university to study a degree in Biblical Study and Christian Leadership with support from well-wishers. He also has a Diploma in Theology and a Diploma in Institutional Management.
He recalls the then headteacher of Uganda Martyrs Kangulumira, Rev. Eriya Nyanzi whom he talks about as a “Godsent angel” that gave a supporting hand at the time he most needed it and this helped him to become the person he is today.
“When Rev. Nyanzi saw the life I was leading, I think we shared a similar childhood experience, because he told me he was also from an impoverished family. He allowed me to work at school as a farm boy as I study and this helped me to pay my school dues”, Rev. Balabyekubo recalls. He adds that Rev. Nyanzi took a responsibility of protecting this “young boy” from bullies who were taking advantage of his poverty to scorn him. “He was a father to me”, Balabyekubo affirms.
Completing High School.
Rev Balabyekubo led a very hard life during his secondary school days. He was however very determined to breakthrough by all odds. His Christian life created a unique character in him that helped him to remain humble, focused and loved. “It was by no mistake that even the bishop noticed me and “adopted” me as his own”, Balabyekubo noted.
“I was a choir leader at Uganda Martyrs. This helped me to be identified by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Micheal Senyimba. He enjoyed my music team and character to the extent that after completion of my high school, the bishop single-handedly sponsored me through the seminary”, Rev. Balabyekubo narrates.
At 22 years, Balabyekubo recalls to be the youngest ordinand at the seminary in Namugongo at that time.
Rev. Dan Balabyekubo used to work as a potter at construction sites earning 2,000 Uganda shillings per day to get school fees and at times this was not paid to him.
Although the man of God was blessed to have made it through the seminary, his life at high school was not a simple one. He used to work as a potter at construction sites earning 2,000 Uganda shillings per day and at times this was not paid to him.
“My first job was at Nasser Ntege Sebaggala’s home. I remember carrying heavy stones for three days and on the last day, because I was very tired, I napped on site. Nasser found me sleeping and fired me immediately without even paying my 3 day’s wage”, Balabyekubo who sounded disappointed added that since he was looking for an opportunity to save money for his high school, he had to look for another job and this was found in Komamboga where he worked as a potter again. The money he earned from this kind of job was not enough to have him admitted in high school so he missed his first term in senior five.
God was yet to pay him for his services as a choir leader during his O-Level. We see this in a miraculous way this man of God joined high school.
“In that year I walked from Komamboga to Namugongo Martyrs shrine for the martyrs pilgrimage. That’s where I found my headteacher, Rev. Nyanzi and when I narrated to him my problems, he offered to sponsor my education again. This is how I joined my high school”, he recalls.
By the grace of God, the Bishop sent for him after realizing that his “music boy” at Uganda Martyrs had completed senior six by has no support to join tertiary education. “I remember that night I slept at the diocese and dined with the bishop. I couldn’t believe that moment”, Balabyekubo remembered. Bishop Senyimba offered him an opportunity to join the seminary and that how his life journey as a man of cloak started.
How does your life in the cloak look like?
After completing my seminary at Namugongo, I was posted to St. Mark Bukasa in Muyenga as an ordinand in 2000. The parishioners at first despised me because of my age and size. However for the 3 years I served with them until 2003, all of them loved me.
Rev. Balabyekubo graduated with 2 other clergymen that year; Rev. Majwara Henry now the Assistant Chaplain of Uganda Christian University and Rev. Moses Nyombi who is at St. Peter’s Wandegeya.
Rev. Balabyekubo has worked in the following centres since his graduation;
- Bukasa, Muyenga as an Ordinand (2000-203)
- St. Appolo Nakibizzi as an assistant Vicar (2004-2005)
- Namagabi in Kayunga district as a Vicar (2006- 2011)
- St. Luke Seeta as a Vicar (2011-2017)
- Nakifuma in Mukono as a Vicar (2018-2021)
- Mukono Cathedral as an assistant Vicar (2022 -2023)
By January 2024, Rev. Balabyekubo will be the Vicar of the diocese of Mukono cathedral.
How he wants to be remembered.
“I want to be remembered as a dedicated preacher”, Rev. Balabyekubo told the Scribe News website. His passion is in creating unity in a diversified religious community. He wants to see people turn to God.
“I remember when I was still in Namagabi, with the help of Rev. Fr. Walakira, we were able to unite the people of God. We had exchange programs where Catholics could attend service t our church and we could also do the same in their church. It was wonderful seeing the two religions united”, he recalls.
To Rev. Balabyekubo however, his worst moment comes when people fail to drop their un-christian practices. Imagine giving in all your efforts but still you see people going to witchcraft. “I see people who have failed to wed their partners and this hurts me a lot. Unfortunately this is very common with people who have money, and they are our donors!
To Rev. Dan Balabyekubo, this will not prevent him from preaching. To him this the only thing he can give to God who has seen him through hardships to where he is today.
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