The unfortunate happenings that unfolded last week during the “Face of MUK” event left a lot to be desired. It has been widely reported in the press that at the event that was held to crown Makerere’s most outstanding beauty, teenage sensation and TV presenter Sheilah Carol Gashumba together with her eloquent father Mr. Frank Gashumba had to be saved by patrol police from an angry gathering of students who had started pelting them with bottles and all sorts of objects, accusing them of “disrespect”.
It all started when Sheila was handed a microphone to address the audience by virtue of her being a judge in the modelling contest. She remained seated while addressing the audience, something that sent their tempers flaring as they ran into a rage, hurling all kinds of profanities and objects at the hapless teenager as her father tried to calm them down but to no avail. It took the timely intervention of police who rescued them from the seething students and whisked them away.
In light of what had happened, social media was abuzz with all sorts of mean comments and posts by students about the incident. Many of them condemned Sheila for “attempting to address the GALLANT INTELLECTUALS while seated yet she does not even have a S.6 pass-slip” to her name. Similarly, many others did not have any kind words for the duo, with one expressing pleasure at the “deserved” reception that the two had gotten while another added that Sheila has no business addressing campusers yet she is barely out of high school.
To say that such behaviour is unbecoming of the “gallant intellectuals” would be an understatement. Its understandable to say that Sheila’s failure to stand while addressing the students was a tad condescending but was hitting her with bottles and insults the most “intellectual” way the students could have expressed their discontent? Isn’t it ironic that the same students who protested being disrespected by an “academic toddler” are the very students who later went on to level all kinds of vulgar insults at Mr. Gashumba, a man old enough to be a father to majority of the students who had gathered and yet society has, assumptively, stressed the importance of respecting elders since time immemorial?
I find it miles unintellectual for the gallant intellectuals to later come out and argue that such a person as Sheila “who does not even have a S.6 Certificate” does not qualify to address campusers yet world over, people who barely went to school are the ones making things happen. In 2013 and barely out of primary school, Pakistan school girl heroine Malala Yousafzai addressed the United Nations Assembly, a height that some of the people with the most pronounced academic credentials in the world have never scaled. Steve Jobs the founder of Apple and Bill Gates the founder of Microsoft Corp. and the world’s richest person all dropped out of school before age 20 and yet went on to become some of the most acclaimed and richest individuals in the world. Even Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the Facebook platform on which some students were bashing Sheila for not being adequately educated, dropped out of college before reaching the level of intellectualism that our dear brothers and sisters at MUK have attained. Even though Zuckerberg dropped out of school before getting a university degree as the gallant intellectuals, he was not deterred from starting the social network that now directly competes with the lecturers for the attention of the gallant students.
Infact to argue that Sheila did not have enough academic credentials to address the students only serves to lend credence to the New York Times’ article (Do You Really Have to Go to College) which stated that 45% of students show no improvement in critical thinking and complex reasoning during their first two years in college. For instance, Sheila made her first TV appearance on WBS TV as a presenter at the age of 8 when the rest of her peers were figuring out how to play with a certain toy. A study of her facebook profile shows that for someone her age, she exhibits an admirable level of intelligence if her posts are anything to go by. Before she even joins campus, she runs two businesses “Gash Hair” and “Sarafina Events” alongside her being a presenter on NTV’s “The Beat” show while majority of the students who questioned her academic credentials are busy making calls to their parents for financial support to buy personal effects.
Does the kind of behaviour the “educated gallant intellectuals” displayed inspire other young people to pursue higher education? Inspite of her modest academic credentials (she’s still in school, by the way), Sheila has made use of the “little” education she has to create employment opportunities for people older than her yet many of the students who derided her have done nothing with their education.