By Denis Wembi
Dead people receive no flowers.
This reflection hit hardest after deciphering Husnah Kukundakwe’s effort to keep Uganda afloat in the paralympic world. Sometimes stretching as far as her passion can get. Quite often, Babies with disabilities in Uganda are abandoned by their parents or considered unworthy of anything, Husnah has shaken the status quo with her breath-taking resilience. Her resilience has reignited hope for PWDs, soared and sold the beauty of Uganda to the world, and also been a scathing indictment of our culture that believes “Disability is Inability”. Husnah was born without a right lower limb that hinders her from participating in sports activities that require two hands. She found comfort in Para swimming. Indeed, quite often it has been compressed into arguing that it has become her lifestyle!
Her sacrifice to see that PWDS are given the respect they deserve has been phenomenal as she has partnered with international organizations like Wethe15 to spread disability awareness to so many people who may not even have heard about disabilities.
Whilst sports suffered shocks accruing from the pandemic. Husnah still trained, and represented Uganda, as the youngest athlete at the 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo where she swam in the Women’s SB8 100m breaststroke she finished sixth in her heat and set her personal best and we are hopeful of a stronger performance at the Paris games in 2024.
In many circles, Husnah is described as the driver of Uganda’s swimming and the beacon of hope for People with Disability in sports as seen through her legacy for PWD’s human rights advocacy and shattering almost every swimming record there is.
A tireless champion of swimming and truly “uncompromising” both in her passion for swimming and Uganda. This is more nuanced as was witnessed in March when she won Uganda’s first Para-swimming medal at the Lignano Sabbiadoro in Italy world series, not many can dare bounce back from setbacks. Indeed a few like Husnah can dare! For a person whose countrymen haven’t fully embraced the Paralympic games and treat it as a “No one’s business”, she has shown herself to be a person who is laboring to make sure that they fully embrace it and approach the realm of greatness.
Born on March,25th in 2007, Husnah has made us fall in love with swimming and has inspired the young generation, and People with Disability into embracing sports. Our children will grow up knowing that Swimming is Husnah and Husnah is swimming. She is the only active elite para swimmer in Uganda. Talk of breaking the ceiling. Most of the PWDs in sports now owe much of their inspiration to Husnah’s work and success story in the sports world. Her enthusiasm for swimming melts in my heart like good chocolate melts in my mouth. Go ahead, have some good chocolate. Follow her works and you will definitely agree that she is a moving identity, of the magic she is doing in the swimming world and the change she has inspired.