Nagenda, William (A)
William Nagenda was born into a large family and his father Festo Manyangenda was a respected Muganda chief who lived on Namirembe hill, Kampala, Uganda. After primary school in Kampala, he attended King’s College, Budo, from whence he went on to gain a diploma at the University College of Makerere before it was granted university status. His excellent knowledge of English gained him a post in the government’s office at Entebbe.
Brought up in a Christian home, William early decided to be a missionary to the Congo, but he knew that his faith was a sham. Outwardly successful in his work, his personal life took a downward turn. He came into contact with Simeoni Nsibambi, and the Lord Jesus Christ, about whom he had learned a great deal, became, for him a reality. So much so that a brief story of his life was entitled: William Nagenda - A lover of Jesus.
William married Sala, daughter of Erasto Bakaluba, a member of staff of King’s College, Budo. She was educated at Gayaza High School.
Soon after his conversion, William approached the Bishop of Uganda and offered himself for full-time service in the church. As a preparation for ordination training, William was offered a teaching post in a school at Gahini, Rwanda. There, he and Sala joined a team of workers including Yosiya and Dorokasi Kinuka and Drs. Joe and Decie Church.
During the year that followed the Kabale Convention of September 1935, remarkable manifestations of revival were experienced in the Kigezi district of Uganda and in Rwanda, centred on Gahini. William experienced the reviving power of God. Because of his great energy, quiet sincerity, penetrating spiritual analysis of situations and gentle preaching, he played a leading role in teams of witness and conventions organised throughout East Africa.
In 1940, William entered the Theological College at Mukono, Uganda, for ordination training. Due to a situation which all recognised later as being unfortunate, the zeal of some thirty students was mistaken for a revolt and they, including William, were expelled. From then onwards, William became an evangelist centred at a Christian tea-plantation, Namutamba.
In 1946, William was invited to England to join Rev. Yosiya Kinuka and Dr. Joe Church in a tour of witness following their involvement in the East Africa Revival. For the next eighteen years, William, usually with Dr. Joe Church, visited many countries in Europe, the Americas and India.
In the conventions and tours in which he took part, William was the leader. In his home, his life with Sala proved to be a powerful witness to the power of the Gospel.
In 1964, William began to show signs of the illness, at that time diagnosed as “premature senility” which progressively made public engagements impossible. In the later part of his life, he would begin a talk, but it was Sala who carried on God’s message through them, not just him.
William left an enduring legacy in the lives of numerous people of many different nationalities who had cause to thank God for “William - a lover of Jesus.”
H. H. Osborn
Dr. J. E. Church, William Nagenda - a lover of Jesus.
Dr. J. E. Church, Quest for the Highest (Paternoster, 1981).
H. H. Osborn, Pioneers in the East African Revival (Apologia, 2000).
This article, submitted in 2002, was written for the DACB by Dr. H. H. Osborn, author of the book Pioneers in the East African Revival.