I am Joe Walker aka Joseph Beyanga, a road safety enthusiast raising awareness about saving lives on the road.

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Man honours departed brothers in 60km walk

By Belinda Birungi

The drizzle and rain on November 19 rain didn’t not stop participants like John Ssembogo from taking part in the Joe Walker Remembrance walk. Ssembogo, a member of Team Nkozi, walked the full 60km and he shares what drove him to do that.


Tell us a little about who you are.

My name is John Ssembogo, born and raised in Kyotera. I’m 29 years old and an Information Technology practitioner.


Why did you join the walk?

I joined the walk to particularly remember my deceased brothers and to represent the millions of people who lost their loved ones but couldn’t make it for the walk. In 2010, I was at school when my mother received a call that my brother, Nkambwe Vicent (35 years) had been run-over on his motorcycle by a speeding KCCA truck in Kabuusu and he had died instantly. My other brother, Kazibwe Joseph (33 years), died recently during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 when he was returning from a friend’s burial and his motorcycle was knocked by a speeding car at the Kibuye roundabout where he also died instantly. I deeply thank Mr Joe (Joseph Beyanga) and the team for organising and successfully executing the walk to commemorate the deceased.

John Ssembogo checks in after covering 30km at Kyebando flyover on November 19, 2023.

How did you prepare for the walk?

I do running and jogging daily but I got ready by participating in a 36 km run the Sunday prior to the event to ensure that my body is fit and ready to take on the challenge.


What challenges did you face during the walk?

Firstly I faced a slight challenge of climbing hilly parts of the route in Ntinda and Bukoto. I would also say it was raining but personally I do a lot of rain training to test my mileage and resilience in that kind of weather so it wasn’t inconvenient to me.

The other hurdle I encountered was confusion on the route between Kololo and Wandegeya. Ms [Sarah] Nalule had to get out of her car to come and direct me.

Lastly, the other challenge I faced was meeting new faces during the walk because none of my team members had turned up which meant that I was a bit held back and not as free as I would have liked to be.


Do you have any highlights of the walk?

The highlight for me was when Joe [Joseph Beyanga] tried to pace me and he was walking so fast so I had to catch up.

The other interesting thing for me were the refreshments like water and fruits which made the journey worthwhile.

Lastly my other highlight was the marshals who were always smiling, kind and ready to help.


How did it feel being the fastest male walker at the event?

I felt proud especially because I had fulfilled the promise that I had made to my “fallen soldiers” before leaving home that morning.

John Ssembogo captured shaking hands with Joe Walker on November 19, 2023.

What do you think made you the fastest person?

Doing what I was supposed to do, but most importantly the traffic was not crazy and the weather was good for me.


Is there anything else that you achieved from being the fastest walker?

Yes, I received an Adidas shopping voucher worth UGX 350,000 and I can’t wait to go and get shoes for competitions.

This is so because the shoes I used that day were made for training (maximum 20km) however it’s what I had and it’s what I used for the 60km so it was uncomfortable and that occasionally leads to muscle pains.


When did you begin to walk?

I began to walk as a child at nursery level between home and School. In Primary, I studied at St Charles Lwanga Primary School which was about 8km away from home and so I walked 16km daily for a round trip.

Furthermore, my high school, Kyotera Parents Senior Secondary was about 10km from home which meant I walked 20km daily for a round trip.


How often and long do you walk now?

I often walk in the evenings or mornings depending on my working out routine for around two hours.


How did you learn about the Joe Walker Remembrance event?

My Twitter is largely customised to my experience and I also follow Joe on the platform.

This meant that I could easily receive the advertisement and when I did I was prompted to register.


Why would you encourage people to walk?

People should walk for their physical and mental health. For me walking cures stress, depression and helps combat lifestyle diseases like diabetes and cancer. It’s a wonderful opportunity to communicate with my body so I don’t even take gadgets like phones and headphones.