Fellow Ugandans and friends of the Ugandan community, I take this opportunity to thank you for the year we have gone through as an Association of Ugandan professionals in South Africa. Together, we have been able to make great strides.
The idea of forming a formal association of Ugandan professionals in South Africa was adopted on 30th May 2009, in Sandton, Johannesburg and one year ago, on the 4th of July 2009, AUPSA was formally launched at Inkwanzi Country Club in Pretoria.
The main goals of AUPSA include but are not limited to:
• Supporting and promoting the sharing of skills, ideas and knowledge among Ugandan professionals living in South Africa.
• Providing a platform for Ugandan professionals in South Africa to promote and market their skills and services.
• Providing academic, business and career information.
• Supporting Ugandan graduate students in entering the job market.
• Providing a platform for Ugandan professionals in South Africa to plough skills and knowledge back into Uganda.
• Generating ways in which we can contribute meaningfully to South Africa and impact positively to the community we live in.
• Providing a channel through which people in Uganda can reach the Ugandan professional community here.
One year since taking up the challenge of building AUPSA, I and some of the AUPSA Committee members, step down on 3rd July 2010 and hand over to a new set of people content in the joy that we’ve greatly achieved the tasks we set out to do and have set the foundations of what should become one of the biggest and most productive organisations in the Ugandan diaspora..
When we were elected into office last year, we were given a mandate to set up the structures of a formal association and drive it ahead. Since then, the following have happened or been attained:
• The name of the association was established as Association of Ugandan Professionals in South Africa, AUPSA
• The Association was registered at the Department of Social Development
• A bank account was opened
• A website, http://www.aupsa.org.za, was built and a database of Ugandan professionals in South Africa put together. The database mailing list currently consists of over 400 Ugandan professionals in South Africa. The website contains links to various sources of information and also hosts adverts.
• A very successful business expo was held at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg
• The AUPSA chairman was interviewed live on air by Channel Africa
• AUPSA took part in an in-studio interview on SAfm radio and from the kind of calls received onto the show and subsequent feedback, Uganda was well represented.
• AUPSA was invited to be part of the audience in The Big Debate TV series conducted by Etv and Dinokeng Studios on the topic “Is our foreign policy immoral?”.
• A successful family function was held at the end of November 2009 in Midrand and Ugandan families had a great time.
• A valentine dinner was held
• The AUPSA newsletter was launched
• AUPSA has participated in a community involvement programme where members of the committee, based on their careers, gave a career talk to previously disadvantaged grade 12 mathematics and science learners organised by Star Schools at University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
• AUPSA was invited by the speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to be part of the Africa Day celebrations in Johannesburg this year
• AUPSA has linked many Ugandans with skills and services to people that need them
• AUPSA is reachable in the search engines and many people have been able to reach us with various requests for information or cooperation
• The AUPSA Chairman was interviewed by The Saturday Star newspaper to give an opinion of Ugandans’ view on South Africa’s hosting of the soccer World Cup
• AUPSA has established relations with the following organisations who we feature on our website and they also feature us on theirs:
o The African Diaspora Forum (ADF) in Johannesburg
o The Uganda North American Association (UNAA) in the US
o The Independent Magazine in Uganda
o Sanyu FM in Kampala
• AUPSA has become a brand
All this has been achieved without doubt by great sacrifice, commitment and determination on part of the AUPSA Committee. It has been a team that believed in themselves and clearly saw where they were going.
I would like to thank the AUPSA Events team comprising of Namugaya Kisuule, Stella Ogema and Joshua Zake who, on top of their portfolios on the committee, have been behind all the events we have held. These events were always monumental tasks considering that they were organised at levels unprecedented within our community here in South Africa, but they emerged with flying colours. Most of the above work would not have been possible without the work of our Website Manager, Peter Mugisha, who built and has maintained the AUPSA website under immense time constraints, free of charge using his own resources. His colourful email posters have been a beauty to look during the marketing of our events.
I also thank Beatrice Drabile that has controlled our funds and James Aguma who has been the voice of reason on our team and, as a senior auditor, has helped prepare our financial reports whenever Beatrice was away due to work commitments. I can never forget Hannington Kasirye who, as a marketing manager, has been very instrumental in carrying the AUPSA message around, and Natacia Mpanga who has represented student matters on our team.
The entire team has worked tirelessly and selflessly during the past year. There was a time last year when we were meeting every week and due to our various locations, our meetings are held in restaurants, mainly Midrand considering its centrality. In everything we have
done – transport, telephone calls, stationary, photocopying and printing, restaurant bills e.t.c, the AUPSA Committee members have paid out of their own pockets – of course not talking about the time. All money collected from various sources has been used to advance AUPSA. This is the kind of sacrifice that leaves me speechless. I am so proud and feel very privileged to have worked with such a team.
Undoubtedly, each and every one of you has made the AUPSA dream a reality and I will forever be grateful to you. Without you, nothing much would have been achieved by the committee. The dedication and trust expressed by AUPSA members has been very remarkable.
I also thank the two sponsors, MoneyGram International and Old Mutual, that have come on board to support one of our events.
There have obviously been challenges in the past year but we have learnt from them. We have seen things that work and things that don’t work. We have seen areas of strengths and areas of weaknesses. All these have shaped us.
Some of us now bow out of the leadership positions but remain committed members of AUPSA and will continue to promote the ideals that promote this Association. We will continue to share the knowledge gained with the incoming group of leaders and support them in their endeavours to strengthen this Association. I am confident that our members will produce the kind of leaders that will take AUPSA to greater heights.
AUPSA has established in its constitution a close that keeps it non-political and non-partisan. This is an ideal it should strive to maintain in order to fairly cater for the interests of all its members and those that seek to associate with it.
I will once again quote former President Thabo Mbeki’s head of policy, Joel Neshitenzhe’s farewell remark, “if from time to time, some of us are mistaken for giants, it’s because we stand on the shoulders of and glow in the halo of genuine articles”. I have stood on the shoulders of and glowed in the halo of genuine articles in AUPSA.
As our motto says, AUPSA we are going forward.