My Life is But A Weaving

My Life is But A Weaving

In her autobiography, “My Life is But a Weaving,” Rhoda Kalema, 92, weaves a beautiful tapestry of her journey in faith through decades of service and sacrifice. Rhoda is a gifted storyteller. She recounts life as a student at King’s College Budo in the 1930s and 1940s. At Budo, she gets a taste of leadership as a girls’ prefect and experiences tragedy with the loss of her sister, Sara, in a lightning strike in the hills of Budo. Rhoda’s father, Katikiro (Prime Minister) Martin Luther Nsibirwa, is felled by an assassin’s bullet in 1945 at Namirembe Cathedral.

In 1950, Rhoda married William Wilberforce Kalema, a Budo teacher, who served as a minister in the first Obote government. In 1958, she joined the Uganda Women’s Council, embarking on a lifelong commitment to improving the status of women in Uganda. In 1972, a year after Idi Amin seized power in a coup, her husband William disappeared, never to be found. Through immense personal loss, Rhoda finds her purpose serving God and her country. She writes of digging a well in Kyebando as representative on the National Consultative Council after the Amin regime, campaigning as an MP for Kiboga, and serving on the Constituent Assembly in 1994. As a pioneer in the Uganda Women’s Movement, her character and courage shine through this terrific book. Her example of selfless service to the country will inspire generations to come.

Please join me as I launch my book. MY LIFE IS BUT A WEAVING: The Rhoda Kalema Story

Memoir Overview

The 92 year old Rhoda Kalema has seen enough trouble to last two lifetimes. Though a child of privilege, being outspoken and believing in creating a better country have ensured endless trouble for her. The result is a book that needs to be read by any who want to understand Uganda. Early in her life, lightning strikes her close sister Sarah, missing Rhoda by inches. That incident leaves Rhoda a solitary traveller for the rest of her life.

Rhoda Kalema signing the constitution, 1995

Further on, her father, Buganda Katikiro Martin Luther Nsibirwa, is struggling against extremely powerful people for land to build on Makerere University. A day after the bill is passed; an assassin shoots him outside Namirembe Cathedral. Many years later, Rhoda's husband, William Wilberforce Kalema, returns to Idi Amin's Uganda. On suspicion of funding rebellion, the fearful powers descend without warning. The grave of William Wilberforce Kalema has never been found. Why then, after all this, does Rhoda choose to enter the political arena? This can probably only be justified by her belief in a God who determines everything.

So we find Rhoda working alongside locals, on the campaign trail, deep in discussions to set up the Uganda Patriotic Movement and taking on impossible challenges. One finds Rhoda's forceful personality in action behind many changes in her constituency, in the Women movement, in the church world, in pushing government.

Her love for people comes through, being what God has used, as the title says, to weave her life. Rhoda's tracks go through tears, pain and sacrifice. They are clear for all who believe in the motto, 'For God and my Country', to follow.

Receiving books for Kiboga schools from Peter and Sue Woodsford, 1993

About the author

Rhoda Kalema is a pioneer and leader of the Uganda Women's Movement. Rhoda joined the Uganda Council of Women (UCW) in 1958. She served as one of two women on the National Consultative Council (NCC), Uganda's interim parliament after the collapse of the Idi Amin regime in 1979.

She helped found the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) in 1980. As one of the country’s first women parliamentarians, she represented Kiboga District and, in 1994, served on the Constituent Assembly, the body tasked with drawing up the 1995 Constitution. She has been a tireless advocate for women’s rights, good governance, and development in Uganda and a mentor to countless women in politics. She is 92 years old.


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