Meet Philip Kakuru, a Ugandan educationist who turned millionaire in South Africa

Philip Kakuru, is a successful entrepreneur in South Africa whose inspirational story offers vital lessons to those who could have lost hope towards success.

Born in Mbarara, western Uganda, Kakuru is a citizen of South Africa and runs a chain of businesses in the education and real estate sectors. He’s also owned businesses in Uganda.

Kakuru is a teacher by profession.

“My parents are Mr. Edward Bwahika and Mary Bwahika Katukuru village, Nyakayojo Division , Mbarara City. I studied at Kyambogo University -Uganda and the University of South Africa. To raise tuition fees, we sold cows and income from rentals from our late dad’s commercial property in Mbarara Town then,” Kakuru says, adding that things have not moved on well in his field of specialization (education) in his home country  (Uganda), he moved to South Africa in early 2000s which had just gained independence and there he had been tipped off that there were several slots available in the country’s education sector.

“The job I got there was to teach Geography and Economics in Pretoria, South Africa which I did very well before joining the entrepreneurship sector,” he says.

As one of the means of boosting his income, he invested in a small retail business shop with a Ugandan friend whom he met there and they used to import merchandise with some Ethiopian and Senegalese businessmen.

He says he started the business with about US$15,000.

Some of his added advantages were that he was able to easily learn some additional languages like Zulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana among other native languages which eased communication with various key stakeholders in the country.

“Later on after good returns from retail business and savings from earnings from teaching, I was able to embark on a business of hiring weekend venues to conduct private teaching in specific subjects of Maths and physics (Physical Science at grades 10-12 ( in Uganda context S4-S6). So I invested one thousand United States dollars  US$100,000 in the business which later on brought in some good money,” Kakuru says.

Kakuru is running successful businesses in South Africa

He insisted on carrying on a Saturday class tutoring project which became a success after getting a good number of students. In a single day, he says, he could earn money four times higher than his full-time employment salary.

On how he adopted this idea, Kakuru revealed that he copied the concept way back from Caltec Academy Uganda, which became a success and thereby concentrating on recruiting and giving it more publicity through advertisement.

“In 2004, we opened the first campus in Johannesburg Central Business District on Market Street because we knew we would tap into the 2 million which flocked Johannesburg daily. We chose programmes that addressed industry needs like electrical engineering, Mechanical /Motor /Diesel, Chemical engineering, Boiler Makers, Civil engineering, and business courses like Financial Accounting, Laboratory Technicians, etc. After a better payoff, in 2005 we opened another campus in Braamfontein next to Witwatersrand University to tap into the University overflow or rejects or those who had been denied entry and needed to improve the marks mad qualifying the following semester intakes,” he says.

One of the buildings owned by Kakuru

Married with three children, Kakuru is the Patron of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) in South Africa which he contends doesn’t make him political but it’s out of love for his party just like any other individual.

His role model is Elon Musk.

He urges all Ugandans undermining themselves to continue working hard and smart because one day,  they will make it regardless of their family background.


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