The portrait of Simon Ssekaayi’s inspirational business; life teaching legacy live on 

WRITES BRIAN MUGENYI

In this ideal world, we have met people who have impacted our lives emotionally and mentally or occasionally spiritually banding on the gifts of their calling and purpose on earth. Just by expression or listening to the words of his magical speaches even when we are still hurt or tried in many aspects of life to and Simon SSENKAAYI is that chosen person.

For the last ninteen years, there’s nothing that has been so dear to SSENKAAYI (Also the author of an inspirational book; “Amanyi g’Obuntu” literally translated as ‘The power of self’), than transforming people’s lives through sharing words of wisdom and inspiration – that helps many to identify and tap into their own strength.

Ssenkaayi is an Inspirational speaker who lives by speaking and sharing understanding in his mother language ( Also in English) – for he believes that, however much knowledge can be accessed in any language, but true understanding is deeply hidden in someone’s mother tongue. “Chinese read and study in Chinese, and so does the Americans, English, French, Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Indians and many developed and fast developing nations – all speak, read and learn in their mother tongues. It’s only an African who speaks, reads and studies in another language, and expect to be creative and innovative. This isn’t to demean those gifted in linguistics, but to emphasize that true understanding which is the source of creativity, innovation, and wisdom of progress is hidden in someone’s mother tongue. This is why Africa is lagging behind and continues to destroy the very thing that made it what she was in the early days of great inventions and innovations.” Simon shares with a lot of hurt.

Ever since he discovered himself as an Inspirational Speaker as early as 2005 while in high school, Ssenkaayi has been exercising his gift to help transform people’s lives locally and internationally.

“I love it when I touch someone’s heart through speaking and bring back the fazed smile and hope in them,” starts Ssenkaayi smartly dressed in a white sleeved Kitengi and brown tinted glasses as we climb the steps of Freedom City premises at 5pm for the interview on a calm Sunday evening.

He is jolly by nature and so composed in his submissions and his soft-spoken tone clearly explains why hundreds usually toil to flock him and request for his services.

He has touched many people’s lives with his spiritual way of teaching and using a collection of inspirational words of encouragement to lift their lives.

“Inspirational speaking to me is a gift from God (Call it my purpose of existence). To do it, you have to be able to project your real life onto your audience’s mental screens, for them to identify with you and appreciate that you understand their lives. Since inspirational speaking targets more of the spirit than the brain, you have to be a spiritual person in order to connect with the aspirations of all the spirits in the audience: this is the major distinction between motivation and inspiration.” he articulately shares.

Ssenkaayi was born in November 1985 to Mrs Medius Busingye of Buhweju in Ankole and Ssalongo Kamya Stephen Kiwanuka, residents of Sseguku-Katale village in Wakiso District: and is a grandson of the late Ezekiel & Susan Sserunkuuma of Sseguku.

He attended Sseguku Primary School (Partly Built & supported by his grandfather Sserunkuuma), Hill College and Uganda Martyrs before attaining a Degree in Education and an MBA (Marketing Management & Strategy Major) from Uganda Martyrs University: with more advanced training from Istanbul, Turkey & Dubai, UAE.

Growing up as a young boy, watching movies, reading and interacting with other children were my favorite things. At school, I tried to be an entertainment minister but later, ended up an education minister in charge of internal and external debates and other educational programs, something that took my heart,” shares Ssenkaayi, 41- years-old also a father with children married to Rose Sylvia Nakafu of Bukunda in Buddu County.

Ssenkaayi’s father alone Ssalongo Kamya Stephen loves literature and nature and from him Ssenkaayi was able to find his purpose in life. “My father is such an ardent fan of reading. He used to read different works of literature and he kept us positive with reference to Gayaza High School motto; Never Give Up,” he emphasized.

The inspirational words; ‘you were born for a purpose’, ‘you have great potential in you’ and ‘you’re destined for greatness’ are normally part of his speech whenever he is to address a certain group of people.

“What I know is that there’s a spiritual force guiding me: I’ve passed through a lot in life and been tested right from early stages; didn’t grow up with my mother and also faced a lot criticism and negativity as I was growing. Most of my submissions centers on my life (Mindful that black challenges simply change the geography but are literally the same) and understanding from research and life observations,” Ssenkaayi also the Head of co-operate and liason in the office of Royal treasury- Enkuluze Buganda Kingodm- Mengo palace shares.

As luck would carry, when Ssenkaayi finished senior six in 2004, the Germany foundation for World Population (Dsw-Bonita) took him up after noticing his gift in speaking and trained him as a peer educator.

“Such opportunities gave me a reason to have faith in my faith and doubt my doubts: They kept me positive and moving amidst a lot of negativity,” he says adding; many young people started approaching me regularly and sought guidance from me as early as 19yrs.

While exercising his divine gift in public speaking, along the way, Ssenkaayi has had opportunities to work with different organizations such as; Save the Children Uganda, Young Empowered and Health (YEAH), DSW_BONITA, Uganda Red Cross society, Ministry of Youth- Buganda Kingdom, Centenary Bank, Winsor Development Consultants, Global Empowerment Link (U) Limited (Own Initiative) and currently with the Office of the Royal Treasury (Nkuluze).

“In human beings, inspiration is needed every minute. People need to be inspired at home and work places for them to remain consistent, persistent and focused towards their dreams,” he shares.

Being an inspirational speaker, Ssenkaayi has attended many International Seminars, Workshops and courses in Uganda, Africa, Asia and Europe which have greatly affirmed his faith in his calling of inspiring others.

“The greatest satisfaction in my life is when I look at someone who is happy and that happiness is a result of my actions. If a day, a week or month ends without speaking to people or someone, I feel dissatisfied” he emphatically shares with his eyes turning teary.

The Rotary Club of Rubaga selected Ssenkaayi as their 2018/2019 awardee of their Vocational Service Award given to people whose works have had great impact on the lives of people, a symbol that simply confirms who he is and what he aims at.

As for his life, Ssenkaayi is self-aware and lives like an introvert; although his calling is extrovert. He enjoys solitude and has a very small number of friends which helps him to reflect, meditate and appreciate himself.

He normally gets time to shoot some inspirational conversation and dialogues by creating topics that he feels are relevant to what people go through in their lives.

“Oftentimes I prefer to live in a serene environment. I hate noise in my life: It leaves me distracted and I get bored so fast, something that sometimes irritates my wife. When am alone, I get to know so many things. I listen to my spirit, read, think, observe nature and write in preparation to speaking,” he shares.

Much as he relishes what he is doing, Ssenkaayi faced anxiety as he was starting to practice his craft that has earned him accolades by Global Youth Net work in Boston and participating in breaking the silence of HIV / AIDS eradication in the world.

“It is hard to be strong and confident all the time despite your talent. As I was speaking one day at Nkumba University where I was invited to speak at the very early days of my calling, I shivered. The audience wasn’t familiar of course but later like often, I picked myself up and spoke to them after connecting with their aspirations,” he recollects.

Towards the end of 2010, he worked with Owek. Joseph G. Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere (Former Buganda Premier), a time that exposed him to a lot of things and understanding.

“I’ve changed a lot of jobs. I’ve realized that it wasn’t money that was driving me, but an inner voice that was never content, later that I realized wanted me to discover myself and do what I was born to do,” shares Ssenkaayi who also worked in Winsor development consultants firm as a marketing manager.

“We used to do business consultancy work. I could do consultancy before my mentor there Mr. Silverius Ssewanyana established a business advisory desk that led me to connect with Simon Kaggwa Njala and started giving out business tips at radio Akaboozi (Business Clinic),” he added.

As for speaking, Ssenkaayi has spoken to a huge number of students and he is very knowledgeable on Uganda’s education sector.

“Uganda’s education system enslaves minds of young people and locks them to employment: it’s not bad, but kills potential. To give a picture, ‘It judges a fish by its ability to climb a tree’. It forces young people to take routes that are out of their natural capabilities, and they end up frustrated with life and education itself.

In other words, it doesn’t focus on helping students find and tap into their potential, it instead dictates for them what they must do.” he says adding; schools only give us knowledge, but not understanding as such, and this is why a number of unemployed young people with degrees of just ‘knowledge’ without work to do is increasing at an increasing rate: just because they have a lot of knowledge that they can’t apply to make a difference.

“Some students I’ve met have expressed their dissatisfaction with what they are taught. Many graduates are like drivers, who perfectly know how to drive a car but don’t understand how it operates and so get frustrated even with minor issues that don’t need calling a mechanic,” shares Ssenkaayi who also hosts “Manya ky’oli, Manya Omulimu gwo” literally meaning ‘When you know thyself, you know thy work’, a radio show on CBS FM (88.8) aired every Saturday and 6am.

Ssenkaayi says, education today trains people more about counting, but doesn’t focus much on what really counts; this drives him into researching more about the this area in order to offer assistance to many who need to know what counts in life.

“When someone finds who they are, happiness is automatic, for they have found a compass of their lives. Human beings are different: and so uniquely gifted,” he shares adding; “when someone finds their gift and refine it, they create value in themselves that makes them important in society; and the more many see their importance, they become influential, which makes them great as their influence grows.”

However, as he executes his duties, Ssenkaayi is challenged by people who don’t believe in themselves.

“There’s a black mind-set among some people that we need to fight: people always want to relate what you do and who you’re and your age forgetting that what we do is a calling,” he says.

“Our mentality focuses more on the messenger than the message, and this is why a lot of opportunities have been missed everyday by many, as they tend to disguise themselves in shades of impossibilities,” he said.

Ssenkaayi inspired by Buganda’s premier Charles Peter Mayiga also cites that there’s still a pre-conception among Africans that if you don’t have a degree you’re nothing. Children that would straight away join vocational institutions to work on their potential early enough, end up being forced by parents to take a route that fail them in the end.

“Most of the people I interact with consider a degree as a great thing more than a gift or talent. To me, talent is superior to the degree someone has though if you have both, chances are high for you to have many opportunities,” he shares.

Ssenkaayi says, “God blesses humble beginnings always; starting small with a bigger vision is more fulfillinf than starting big, with a small vision of just getting money.”

The Author( Brian Mugenyi) is a journalist as well as a Member of Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda (HRNJ) vibrant on public affairs reporting and freedom fighter and human rights activist as well as the Head of Business and features writing at Watchdog Uganda Website
Twitter: @ItsmeoneBrian