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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Uganda Martyrs University made the University of Sierra Leone look unschooled


Never before had the phrase “separating the boys from the men” explained itself so clearly to me, and you bet, to the rest of Africa, with the “boys” from Sierra Leone getting such a lashing from the “men” of Uganda!

We are talking about the Zain Africa Challenge; the 16th episode of the inter-varsity battle of the brains. Wednesday was the night; Uganda Martyrs University vs University of Sierra Leone. The “living martyrs” approached the game shrewdly, going for simple categories like “Rhymes with Rain” while the lads from Freetown showed their “sophistication” and “class” by settling for “Let’s Go France.”

At the end of the first round, they had 30 points against our 170. Come round two, and Moses, in centre position, had the west Africans salivating as he told show host John Sibi Okumu about the quintessential Ugandan delicacy, the rolex.

Yet again, our lads fielded Sibi’s rapid questions deftly and were even lucky to answer the Zain Super Bonus for 30 points. The round ended with them almost doubling their lead at 300 while Sierra Leone looked lost with only 40 points.

At the start of round three, Ronald who was now occupying the prestigious centre position, also popularised luwombo, colourfully describing, in regal bass, how the wrapping is done.

The Sierra Leoneans licked their lips and chose “Eating Right” from the new categories. The questions called for a good grasp of scientific terms in nutrition. They lacked that and fumbled while the Ugandans who had chosen "International Organisations" enjoyed the ride.

At the end of this round, they had 420 points while the "boys" languished with a paltry 70. God knows they needed all the 500 points that make the Ultimate Challenge, and came with all their guns blazing.

But all they scored was a mere 300 points, giving them a grand total of 370. It almost defies logic that a university that brags of its dedication to excellence in teaching and learning; a university with an enviable legacy as West Africa’s first institution of higher education established in 1827, could be humiliated by Uganda Martyrs which was only born in 1993.

I say humiliated because Ugandans won even before they played the Ultimate Challenge. In fact, they went for it only because they wanted to get all the 10 answers correct and win the extra $500 each in cash. Alas it was not to be as they got only seven, but were still glad to be the day’s roaring winners with a grand total of 770 points.

It is said Sierra Leoneans accept life’s hardships by asking, Ow fo do? (What choice do you have?), to which the response is Na fo biah (You must bear it). So they bore their loss, and with a consolation of $500 each, plus a $5,000 grant for their university, found their way home.

In the play-and-win the Zain game, the viewers were given the options of Miria Obote, Mariam Ndagire and Joy Biira and asked to pick the maker of Strength of a Stranger and Down this Road I Walk films.

In old news, the rosary worked magic on Sunday as Kenya’s Catholic University of Eastern Africa trounced Zambia’s Northrise University.

Tomorrow, it is Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya) against Nigeria’s University of Ibadan. Catch the game on NTV at 7:30p.m. or at the same on DStv Channel 141, and the subsequent round on Wednesday at 8p.m.

--Saturday Monitor, May 23, 2009