Rev. Canon and Mrs. Dan Katalihwa
1921 to 2013
Church of Uganda (Anglican)
Dan Katalihwa was born in 1921 in Nyakatete
in western Uganda on a special day-the day his uncle got married.
For that reason, he was later named Katalihwa implying that
"Akarungi k'ekka egyi tikarihwa" which literally meant
"the happiness of this family will never end."
At the time of his birth, his parents were pagans. They had
shrines for the gods they worshiped. Dan was therefore raised
in an environment of African traditional religion. His main
activity was to look after goats and sheep.
His maternal uncle Kikurungu took him to Ntuntu Church of Uganda
where a man named Ernest was the catechist. Ernest taught Dan
and his sister Iburabwiza Sophia both reading and writing. They
wrote using slate stones. Ernest examined them and found out
that they could answer the baptism questions by themselves.
Ernest invited a priest--Rev. Andrew Seeri from Kabarole in
Rwenzori Diocese--to come and baptize the qualified catechumens.
Even though it was about seventy miles from Rwenzori Diocese
to Ntuntu Church, the pastor used a bicycle to ride through
bushy areas inhabited by hostile animals. For this reason, he
would stay for several days before returning to Kabarole. Whoever
failed the questions would not be baptized until the next year.
Dan was finally baptized at the age of nine on January 30, 1930
at Ntuntu Church of Uganda by Rev. Seeri.
In 1937, Dan was confirmed and later started primary one. The
fact that he had been a catechumen meant that he knew how to
write and read, and he was therefore promoted to primary two
before the term ended. As a pupil, he acted as a caretaker in
the absence of the teacher to control the other pupils. The
school was at Ntuntu Church, five kilometers from Nyakatete
village. In December 1937, the regional school office at Ibanda
sent an entrance examination and Dan passed it and was promoted
to primary three in 1938. By then, primary five had very few
pupils so they called a teacher from Mbarara headquarters to
come and interview the primary three pupils to get the more
advanced pupils whom they could send to primary five to increase
the number. Dan was among those promoted to primary five in
There was no primary six in Ibanda, so Katalihwa joined Nyakasura
School in Fort Portal in 1940. As Nyakasura School was a day
school Katalihwa had to stay overnight at Bukuku Church of Uganda.
Katalihwa was a bright pupil and was in the second position
after Martin Rubale.
Unfortunately, Katalihwa's father passed away in 1940 so Katalihwa
did not have an opportunity to go to secondary school. The only
option was to join Canon Apollo Primary Teachers College in
1941 where he finished two years and graduated as a teacher.
He became a teacher at a demonstration school for one year and
later went to Ntuntu primary school as a head teacher from 1944
to 1955. He later joined Mbarara Teacher Training College for
two years to advance his training. Katalihwa taught for nineteen
years as a primary teacher.
While at Canon Apollo in 1941, Katalihwa had a vision. The Holy
Spirit convicted him that he was not doing the right thing until
he confessed Jesus Christ. One day he joined the brethren (Abeishemwe)
in the chapel. While there, a voice warned him that he was despising
the Abarokole (the born again). He then accepted Jesus Christ
as his Lord and Savior and gave a testimony. He become a devoted
evangelist and preached in many schools. 
All along Bishop Erica Sabiti of Rwenzori Diocese, knew Katalihwa
and when he went to Ntuntu for pastoral visit he asked the Batagwenda
(Kitagwenda people) whether they could get a Mutagwenda
(a person from Kitagwenda) to be their pastor because Kitagwenda
didn't have one. So the Batagwenda recommended Katalihwa.
At night in a conversation with the bishop, Katalihwa accepted
to begin training to become a pastor. He therefore left teaching
and joined Bishop Tucker College, Mukono.
After his studies he served his diaconate in Kitagwenda where
he moved with his wife and two children. After two years he
joined Balya College, Bukuku to teach grade three lay-readers.
The rest of the family was left in Kitagwenda with Esther, Baseko,
and Kezia Ntuha, members of the Balokole fellowship. The couple
had two daughters and seven sons. As of 2012, there were eight surviving children:
Francis Asiimwe, Mary Muhumuza, Emmanuel B. Katalihwa, Asaph Kuhiirwa, Enoch M.
Katalihwa, Nathan S. Katalihwa, Joshua T. Katalihwa and Cranmer A. Katalihwa.
Later, Katalihwa was recommended to go for further studies in
Toronto, Canada. From Canada, Katalihwa was appointed diocesan
secretary/treasurer of Rwenzori Diocese. Not long afterwards
he became the archdeacon for all of Tooro: Kamwenge, Kasese,
Bundibugyo, Ntungamo, and Fort Portal in western Uganda.
In 1979, he was transferred and became the first Kamwenge archdeacon.
However, as he had no residence at the archdeaconry he stayed
at Ntuntu except during pastoral visits when he stayed at Reverend
Misaki Vuringoma's place at Kamwenge headquarters. The archdeaconry
of Kamwenge had six parishes--Ntuntu, Kyabenda, Kamwenge, Kichwamba,
Nkoma, and Mahyoro. As it became tiresome to visit all six parishes
Katalihwa was transferred to Ntuntu to establish the Ntuntu
Archdeaconry. As the first archdeacon of Ntuntu, he did a lot
of service in his jurisdiction.
A year before his retirement he was put on a one year contract.
Before he could retire, the provincial secretary wrote to Katalihwa,
asking him to make a five year plan for the archdeaconry. Instead,
Katalihwa made a ten year plan in which he proposed the creation
of a Kibale-Kitagwenda Diocese because he knew that every archdeaconry
would produce other parishes. During his term of office a total
of fifteen parishes had been established.
Ntuntu Archdeaconry ran from Ankole to the Dura / Kibale forest.
During his time, many activities were carried out in his archdeaconry--missionary
work, tourism, conversions, and education, to mention a few.
Ntuntu Archdeaconry established Kyabenda Archdeaconry, Kamwenge
Archdeaconry, and churches in Nkongoro, Kabuga, Rwaijaza, Rubona,
and Kyabandara. As a pastor, he initiated many development projects
in the Kitagwenda area, Kamwenge district.
Katalihwa controlled Ntutu, Kamwenge, Kyabenda, Nkoma, Busabura,
Nyakasenyi, Kasasi, Kichwamba, Mashyoro, and Kibumbi parishes.
He used his Volkswagon van for his visits. He traveled many
miles through the bush where there were hostile animals and
many pagans so that Jesus Christ could penetrate all these areas.
Katalihwa played a big role in expanding the church in western
Uganda. He was a courageous man, determined to do whatever he
deemed necessary for the glory of God.
Retired Bishop Yustus Kamanyire said of Katalihwa:
Canon Katalihwa should be applauded for his physical
effort and intellectual maturity in managing all of Tooro
as an archdeacon and also establishing various archdeaconries
which are still strong up to now. May God bless his ten year
plan of Kibale-Kitagwenda proposed Diocese which is at hand
in Kamwenge District. May God also bless Dan's wife Sarafina
Bagaya who was born in a royal Christian family and participated
in church expansion because of helping her husband. Sarafina
Bagaya, a granddaughter to King Kyebambe Kasagama, did a great
role in helping her husband.
Katalihwa died on September 18, 2013, aged 92 years, at his home in Ntuntu Kitagwenda. He was buried on September 21, at Ntuntu C.O.U. cemetery, according to his will. He is survived by Mrs. Seraphic Abooki Katalihwa (aged 90 years in July 2014) and eight children.
John Kateeba Tumwine
1. Reported by Canon Nkoyoyo.
2. Corrections and additions by Cranmer Katalihwa, last born
of Katalihwa's children. Email message to M. Sigg dated 5/6/2012.
Kamanyire, Rev. Yustus, retired bishop of Rwenzori,
interview by author.
Rev. Canon Nkoyoyo, retired lady who served under Dan Katalihwa,
interview by author.
Tuma, A. D. Tom and Phares Mutibwa, ed. A Century of Christianity
in Uganda, 1877-1977. Nairobi, KE, Uzima Press, 1979.
Anderson, William B. The Church in East Africa, 1940-1974.
Dudoma, TZ: Central Tampayira Press, 1977.
This story, received in 2010, was written by
Rev. Canon John Kateeba Tumwine, director of Global South Institute
at Uganda Christian University, coordinator of regional theological
colleges in the Church of Uganda, and member of the DACB
Advisory Board, East Africa. The story was updated by his family in July 2014.