Posted November 9, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 7,297 views


By Uncle Isaac Sebakijje ~ Dear friends, family, co-workers, We want to express our deepest gratitude to all of you who made this sad occasion a little more bearable. Your generous gifts of time, money, food, flowers and emotional support at our time of great need was immensely appreciated. We also appreciate outpouring messages of condolences from within and outside of the USA including a specially delivered message from the Kingdom of Buganda. We know a lot of you who flew or drove in from out town at great expense. We thank you very much. We thank Christ The Servant Lutheran Church, that provided the services, counseling and beyond. James often spoke of the church and members very fondly and found it to be his anchor. A measure of a man is counted by those who turn up at the funeral. From this, we realize that James was greatly loved. We wish we could thank each and everyone of you personally. So on behalf of James Kabonge’s family – thank you. God bless you all Isaac Sebakijje James’s uncle.

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On behalf of James Kabonge’s family, friends and colleagues. At Christ The Servant Lutheran Church, 9801 Centerway Road, Montgomery Village, MD 20886, USA, Friday October 23rd 2011

I welcome all of you who are here to help and show support to James Kabonge’s family at a time like this when they need it the most.

My name is Isaac Sebakijje. I am James Kabonge’s uncle. My wife Laura Sebakijje is also here. She is James Kabonge’s Auntie.

For the last one and a half years since I left California, my wife and I have shared the same residence with James until last Sunday October 23, 2011 when the unthinkable happened. Laura and I last saw James at 11:00 am that day when we left him at home to go and see our son’s family that afternoon.

As people who are not only related to James but lived under the same roof until his final day. I am privileged to stand here before you on behalf of the entire family and talk to you about James.

From his humble beginnings in Uganda, James managed to find his way to Kenya and eventually to the USA in the 1970,s looking for security and opportunity. He was equipped with nothing more than ambition and determination.

He exploited every educational opportunity by attending night classes at various community colleges in California while working odd jobs to support himself. I saw James working as a warehouseman and a cab driver in Los Angeles not losing sight of what he eventually wanted to become. In the end, he graduated from a California State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Accounting.

He practiced his profession with leading companies in the Los Angeles area who certainly recognized his abilities as a leader, NOT a follower. This is reflected by the kind of managerial positions he held in those companies. James enjoyed making tough decisions and looking for challenges. He never placed limits on how much he could achieve. I am sure his employer and staff of MBI who are here with us tonight can attest to that.

After starting a family, he moved out of sunny and warm California and moved to Maryland. In his own words, it was not all about the weather; it was about opportunities and moving up.

Soon after arriving in Maryland, he quit working for others and started his own successful consulting firm in downtown DC and became a master of government contracting. He did very well and provided his family with a decent living and comfort level.

However, for James, success was to be shared. He was always driven by helping others and sharing his knowledge and experiences with close friends and his countrymen. There are a number of people here and elsewhere whose professions or businesses not only took off but thrived because of James’ assistance and advice. It seemed that he always drew his happiness from helping others and he never cared if they did better than him.

Driven by this desire to help, James found time to juggle between business and family and taking on great leadership positions within the DC community and responsibilities in his church. James became a household name. He was the one everyone sought after whenever there was a community need to organize weddings, birthdays, funerals, fairwells, etc… Or if there was a new person in town who needed a start. This was the image and presence James commanded in any community he resided in and beyond.

Many recognized him as a successful entrepreneur.

James had a rare gift of highly sensitive social perception. He knew the perfect way to respond to others to make them feel special and welcome. His influence can be evidenced by the many people in and outside of the United States who have been affected by what brought us here today. Everybody was James’ best friend, no matter what their relationship with him was. He was a great human being by all standards.

James did not limit his caring ways to friends and community alone. He saw the opportunity to promote his tribal Buganda culture and language and he also spoke out against injustices and human rights violations through peaceful demonstrations. He either founded or presided over several of such organizations here in the DC area. He also sat on several committees in his church. In his church, he was not just a member, he was an asset.

Overall, James was a great human being with noble intentions.

It is partially these global humanitarian pursuits that caused him great anguish as he tried to articulate his intentions and mission to others. A few of his fellow Ugandans in DC either misunderstood him or had a different agenda. They took steps publicly that demonized him. I can confidently say that James never recovered from this attack. It affected him profoundly because for him, community was family and community service was his lifetime commitment. But as you know humans are complex. It is not surprising that even mother Teresa had opponents. It was at this same time that his business efforts were negatively affected by the real estate and general economic downturn. Not mentioning his personal problems including divorce. Laura and I advised him to seek for medical assistance. He did and the doctors said that he was “clinically depressed”. They put him back on the medication he once took and it seemed to help. He stopped taking it about a month ago because he said he was feeling better and didn’t want to depend on medication to function.

Ladies and gentlemen, along with the strength and goodness in all of us, there is always a shadow, a doubt and very often a deep wound. The kind of shadow that prevents us from handling the feelings of rejection, failure, fear, loneliness and self doubt. That shadow may even prevent us from seeking help from the closest of family and friends.

The effects of that shadow may be the reason why we are all here today. Any one of us may have that shadow and become good at masking it up to a certain point.

Yes, today we have many questions. Why? Who? Where? But in the middle of this, consider James’s deadly action to be a personal one. He is the one who holds all the reasons why and he is not here to explain. We can’t also waste time to engage in the blame game and rumors. That cannot comfort anyone. We are capable of stepping out of these thoughts and celebrate the life we new and the goodness we got from James.

Let’s think of who he was, his family and his accomplishments. Some of us are related to James. The rest of you relate to James in very special ways. And we all agree that James would never hurt anyone purposely. Never !!

I love James with all my heart.

Although my conscience is clear, my wife Laura and I feel sorry for not hearing that final desperate cry before he made that fatal and final decision. Although we talked about many shared and helped each other everyday, I can swear that the action he took was out of character. It was a hidden Shadow.

Laura and I are lucky to have been closer and lived with James for the last year and a half. My family and I will do everything possible to help his family. And I can see that you are already doing the same.

We loved him and we will always do. We are happy you are all here to give him the recognition he deserves and support the loved ones he left behind.


Isaac Sebakijje and Laura Sebakijje

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.



    James Kabooge was my friend and his departure left me helpless could not find the the whys? It was just yesterday when we partied in Van Nuys,talked about the gels, met at the odd jobs,attended your wedding. Why u?Rest in peace

    Scott Randall

    Hello, I worked several years with JAMES SEBAKIJJE in Southern California at Clayton Industries. I’ve lost track of James and was wondering if you’re family was related to James.

    If so, would you please pass on my contact info to him. Sorry for your loss, god be with you all!

    Scott Randall

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