UGANDA (eTN) – Stephen Ziwa, 55, a local tour guide with Uganda-based Matoke Tours died suddenly last Friday (September 25, 2015), during a group trip.
He was rushed to a hospital after an attack but sadly died shortly after reaching the hospital.
It was a great shock for the two guides, who were on the trip with him – Frank and Clever – as well as for the clients of Matoke Tours, and for the whole tourism industry as well.
In a tribute to the fallen guide, Operations Manager Anna Grodzki said: “Stephen Ziwa was a jolly person, always making others laugh, willing to help, caring about his clients, and a team player.
“He has worked for Matoke Tours for many years and contributed greatly to our success as a tour company.”
During his career, Stephen had made many friends from all over the world including a Dutch tourist who had met Ziwa several times. Upon seeing a post on Facebook about his untimely death, she requested to attend the burial as she had the best memories of Ziwa as a happy and caring person.
Clients from his last group trip were unable to send him off, but sent a generous contribution towards the burial costs.
“We received condolence messages from [those who worked at] many lodges and hotels who knew him well. All in all, many said they lost not only a colleague but also a dear friend,” said Anna.
Previously overlooked by government and tour operators, tour guiding has grown into a professionalized body over the last fifteen years under the current leadership of the President of the Uganda Tourist Association, the apex body for the tourism sector with members drawn from the tour guides association. This is a feat that would have been frowned upon a decade ago.
Ziwa undoubtedly had a lot to do with this, as testimony from several young guides at the burial attested to who said that they perceived him as a role model and always appreciated his advice. In the divine mercy of the Universe, Ziwa died doing what he loved best.