I’m scrolling through this section of code, my mind trying hard to focus on my task today – but it keeps repeating the lines that it read the night before. In an email, that has left the veins on my temple pulsating hard at the mere memory:
… Prof Zain died today…
The clouds are gathering in the ominous way that Kampala weather has resorted to these last few days, and the weather is a reflection of the sombre mood that has shaken the CMU Africa community.
We have lost a passionate mentor, a professor and a friend.
I bit my tongue and purse my lips to push back the tears that have been threatening to pour all morning.
I want to ask how can he be dead? Why now? The unfairness of this makes it even more heartbreaking. Not that death is ever fair, for it always robs us of life that we were not yet ready to let go of.
The last conversation I remember having with Prof Zain was in 2015, and it was about getting a job. I told him I had an interview lined up with a company in Kampala called Fenix Intl but he had never heard of them – neither had I, actually. He wanted me to apply to a couple of other companies as well but I was pretty insistent about coming to Kampala. He helped review my resume and I left his office with a couple of other companies that I applied to.
He was always passionate about seeing us reach our full potential – a kind and friendly person who was concerned about our wellbeing.
Another incident I remember was in 2014, I lost a lot of weight, I remember him stopping me after one of the seminar classes, concerned about whether everything was alright. Funny thing is that we digressed into a discussion on diet and how he was planning on cutting out some foods.
Most times, as people, we tend to be too busy to stop and notice or even ask.
He took criticism in stride and always worked toward being better – in one class discussion, I challenged him on getting more Ugandan examples and the next class he did.
There is so much I’ve left out, so much that can be said – We, as a community, have truly suffered a big loss. I cannot even begin to imagine what his family is going through. It is my prayer that God would truly comfort them during this time. May He comfort us all.
Prof Zain, you inspired and spurred us on to greatness. Your passion to see this region harness innovation will live on through us.
Rest in peace.