Cambridge PhD student Ssegawa Kiwanuka Tops UK’s most outstanding black students


He was joined by Ayomide Awe, Ashley John-Baptiste, Claude Mahuza, Tolulope Oke and Isabella Akinseye, all of whom graduated from the University this Summer. All were ranked in the top 100 by magazine Future Leaders, a publication that aims to inspire children from Britain’s African and African-Caribbean communities to apply to university.

Ssegawa was honoured at a reception at City Hall, London, by the city’s mayor Boris Johnson. He said: “All too often our attention is drawn to the things that go wrong with our young people, and yet there is so much that we should be celebrating: the achievements and the contributions that 99 percent of our young people are making to society.”

Ssegawa grew up in Catford, south east London, and went to school in Croydon. He took a first degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge and is now studying for a PhD in the same subject. He has won a number of academic awards, including the North Carolina State University Prize.

He said: “This was a surprise and great honour, not just for me personally, but also for the University, as I have been here since I was an undergraduate.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have achieved a lot, but I have also had people along the way who have seen something in me and taken a chance.

“It is true that certain groups have historically been under-represented, but this should not be confused with undervalued. I was black when I was offered a place at Cambridge six years ago, I was black when I was given the opportunity of a PhD by my Masters supervisor and unsurprisingly still black and proud to be at Cambridge. I really hope more people from all types of backgrounds apply and see what the number one university in the world has to offer them.”

Students on the list were chosen by Nick Basden, who sits on the selection board for UK entrants to Havard University, Ama Afrifa-Kyei, Employee Engagement Adviser at Deloitte, and Yashica Olden, Europen Head of Diversity at Barclays.

The University of Cambridge welcomes applications from the best and brightest students, regardless of their background.

For more information about events for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity students, visit

According to Frank Mujabi, ”This young man is about 29 years. Born in Catford but went to boarding secondary school in Surrey , so you were unlikely to meet him in the market, or Catford High street….If you went to Buddo you may perhaps know his father and his mother went to Gayaza. Believe me he is real.”

”Ssegawa’s grandfather on his Dad’s side used to work in Lubiri and he was arrested after the fall of Mengo in 1966
and sent to Luzira. Incredibly he was in Luzira prison with Ssegawa’s other grandfather (his mum’s dad)
who had been imprisoned for being the doctor on duty at Mulago when Obote was shot at near Lugogo stadium.

”Ssegawa like a lot of others, by the way speaks fluent Luganda, but does not consider himself Ugandan, but a Muganda.
He stresses the difference, and note the lack of mention of Uganda in his biography.The decision to be a Muganda and not a Ugandan is applauded and shared by a lot of other Baganda.The young man was taught the proper history of Uganda and was told about the plight of his family on both sides.”

”I don’t see what version of Uganda’s history you would tell him to make him think that Uganda is of any benefit to him. Uganda is like a bullying husband with 4 wives, where wife number one wants a divorce, but her 3 co-wives detain her and force her to stay married to the bully husband.”


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