Were one to describe Joseph Uwagaba, they would not lack words: Business consultant, author, career consultant, and feminist would feature prominently.
For Uwagaba, 31, is a man who wears many academic hats. The master’s student in International Business and Logistics at the University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw, Poland, holds a master’s degree in Development Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from Rwanda’s University of Lay Adventists of Kigali and a diploma in Theology.
Why all this education? His grandmother, for one. While Uwagaba was in Class Six, his grandmother kept urging him on. Then when he was of age and sough employment, he lost because of his education. So he set our to get as much education as he could.
But the second born of five siblings has also known pain. As young as he is, he knows what it means to lose the love of your life for he lost his wife hardly a year into their marriage.
Uwagaba met and fell in love with Sabine Mucyo, whom he dated for three years before walking her down the aisle in March 2018.
“She was a kind, educated, hardworking and very nice person,” he narrates, with a smile. But a week a after their honeymoon, she fell sick and was hospitalised at King Faisal Hospital.
After three months, Mucyo was discharged from King Faisal Hospital, and they returned home. “In our conversations, she insisted on sharing her experience about the sickness,” he said.
Since she could play the guitar, they thought of a composing song but they settled on writing something with the title “100 days” to pay homage to her three months in hospital. But that was not to be for she fell sick again - stomachache, headaches and vomiting. She was finally diagnosed with Lupus.
On October 3, 2018, Uwagaba received a call that his wife had died. That tore him to pieces, leaving his friends and family to step in and save him from sorrow.
So it was that in 2020, Uwagaba published “100 Days of Marriage.” “This was also part of the prescription by my therapist that I get something to occupy my mind,” he recalls.
To him, this was not just a crucial step into his healing but also a way of keeping his wife’s legacy.
Uwagaba has further translated the book into Kinyarwanda, and planning to publish it later this year.
Uwagaba then founded the “Talk to Me Initiative,” a platform empowering youth to open up. He has published several blog posts about empowerment, hope, and encouragement. What is more, he has been invited to TEDx Talk, Nyarugenge to share his experience with the youth.
“People fi nd it hard to share their experience with with society,” he explains. “Sharing my experiences with people has been a healing, that sets me free, and connected me to various people too,” he adds.
To him, depression is real, and no one needs to undermine or go through it.