Connected To Her Land

Published 5 years ago

It’s not every day one gets to meet a First Daughter, in the living room of the official residence of an African President.

At the Nakasero State House in Uganda, Patience Rwabwogo is a picture of calm, like the verdant surroundings around her.

An entrepreneur since the age of 23, she operates out of her offices in Luzira, a suburb in Kampala.

“I never thought I would go into business,” begins Rwabwogo.

“When I went to school in the US, I studied Political Science and Development Studies. When I came home, my parents advised and encouraged me to start a business to learn to be independent, and know the ins and outs of the business world.”

“I have always been self-employed and that’s the only world I know. You never go home and say the boss is going to deal with the problem; you are the one who takes all the responsibility.”

She started in commodity trade, buying food produce, selling it and also exporting and selling to local markets. Was being a First Daughter ever an advantage in business?

“It was a disadvantage at times because people don’t really take you seriously, they think you are sort of privileged, that you don’t really need to do this and that was the farthest thing from the truth,” says the mother of four.

“We’ve always learned from when we were young that you make your own way in life and should be valued on your merit.”

Rwabwogo works with her husband Odrek and is primarily into agriculture.

“We have a farm and process dairy products, we sell to the local market in Uganda, and are looking at exporting to the regions.”

Rwabwogo is close to her siblings and says her memories of life in exile, during Uganda’s long drawn-out civil war, are “scant”.

“When you are a child, you don’t look at the big questions in life. We were content and happy.”

Today, her message to young Africans is to stay connected to agriculture, and their land.

“What is important is the connection with the land. Agriculture is easy for Africans to relate to, it’s so very close to our culture… Our identity as Africans is so connected to the land, so our land has to produce for us, be it livestock or crops. It has to be commercially viable, that is the source of our wealth.”

In addition to her business, Rwabwogo also spends “a huge amount of time” serving as a pastor in a church in Kampala.

“That was my own journey,” she says, and you know it is a calling she truly enjoys.