Makerere University is Uganda’s largest and third-oldest institution of higher learning, The trade school that became Makerere University began operating in 1921 with the first classes in carpentry, building construction and mechanics. In 1922 it was founded as the “Uganda Technical College” with additional courses in the arts, education, agriculture and medicine. That same year it was again renamed as Makerere College. In 1928, the vocational classes were separated from the college and renamed Kampala Technical School. In 1937 the college began offering post-secondary education certificate courses.
In 1963, it became the University of East Africa, offering courses leading to general degrees from the University of London. It became an independent national university in 1970 when the University of East Africa was split into three independent universities: University of Nairobi (Kenya), University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), and Makerere University.
Makerere was alma mater to many post-independence African leaders, including Ugandan president Milton Obote and Tanzanian presidents Julius Nyerere and Benjamin Mkapa. The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, and Kenyan former president Mwai Kibaki are also Makerere alumni.
In the years immediately after Uganda’s independence, Makerere University was a focal point for the literary activity that was central to African nationalist culture. Many prominent writers, including Nuruddin Farah, Ali Mazrui, David Rubadiri, Okello Oculi, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, John Ruganda, Paul Theroux, V. S. Naipaul and Peter Nazareth, were at Makerere University at one point in their writing and academic careers.