Boney Mwebesa Katatumba died on Feb. 22 at 08:00am at the age of 70 after suffering from complications related to cancer of the colon. Five days after admission at IHK, Katatumba underwent an operation to correct a blockage in his colon but it appears to have worsened with an infection from pneumonia on Feb. 20. Twelve hours later, the man who became renowned as a self-made entrepreneur was pronounced dead.
Katatumba had been diagnosed with prostate cancer 15 years ago which he battled until he was declared cancer free five years ago. During the handover of Shs15 million to the Uganda Cancer Institute raised from his daughter, singer and philanthropist Angella Katatumba’s `Mulago Yaffe’ concert on July, 1, 2016 at the Kampala Serena hotel, Boney Katatumba expressed gratitude for being part of the campaign to fight cancer.
He said, “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and my count was 159 but together with the Cancer Institute, we fought and reduced it to 1.7 which indicates the good job that the team did on me”.
Katatumba always used his surviving prostate cancer as another sign of his success as a fighter. In fact, he revealed it during an interview with the Independent in 2016 posting it as his greatest joy.
He said, “The grace of God has followed me because it is not easy to be declared cancer free but here I am rejoicing”.
Five years after being declared prostate cancer free, Katatumba was again diagnosed with another cancer; this time that of the colon which ended his life within only a week after being diagnosed on Feb.14.
At the time of death, he had retired from active supervision of most of the businesses and entrepreneurship work that he is renowned for. His only public office was that of Pakistan Consul to Uganda which he held to the time of his death.
Angella Katatumba one of his nine children, friends and relatives eulogised Katatumba. Many spoke of his smart brain and kind heart and how he exhorted most disadvantaged people to always think and work smart.
Adam Luzindana, the Executive Director of Public Opinions International, an organisation which Katatumba chaired for five years between 1999 and 2013 described him as a friendly and peaceful person who loved to support young entrepreneurs through mentoring them.
Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who represented the president at the requiem mass held at Rubaga Cathedral urged Ugandans to emulate Katatumba’s entrepreneurial skills.
Rugunda said, “Katatumba’s impact was felt all over East Africa including Kenya where he had successful businesses like Katatumba Suites in Mbarara, which was the first Ugandan hotel to be shown on CNN”.
From a young age, Katatumba was always self-molding and traditionally entrepreneurial. For that business acumen, his grandmother christened him ‘creator’ which followed up on him till death.