And Then Everything Changed Podcast - Episode 18: The Place of a Woman ft. Sam Ssemaganda

Episode 18:
The Place of a Woman

Sam Ssemaganda’s early years were molded by witnessing his mother struggle to maintain a foothold in their rural Ugandan village after the death of his father.


The sharply patriarchal society in which they lived dictated that her income, crops, and home revert to her late husband’s family and that she, under the system of widow inheritance should also become the property of her brother-in-law. After years of refusing to comply, his mother was forced out of her marital home but ordered to leave Sam behind where he would soon be raised as an afterthought, pining for the only parent he’d ever known. Finally, after five years apart  Sam returned to his mother–his lifeline–whom he’d worried he’d never see again.

She imparted in him the importance of education and her love of storytelling and took care of him for the next five years until she grew ill and died of HIV/AIDS. Watching her grow weak and suffer awoke in Sam the need to learn more about the disease that took his mother and to fight against the patriarchal system that wreaked havoc on their life together.

Now a male women activist, a journalist, the founder of Black Candle Media, and a poet, Sam shares his call to action to all men and tells the story of how he came to be thankful for the gifts his painful early life bestowed on him.

Sam J. Ssemaganda is a renowned Ugandan male women activist (passionate about rallying men to play an active role in issues of the rights of women and girls), journalist, author/poet and creative writer. He is the founder and team leader, BlackCandle Media.

He is a consultant with NBS TV, the leading station in Uganda, has served as media and external relations in-charge, Activators, a US embassy Uganda youth program, African affairs and foreign policy commentator on Radio France International and Press TV, Head of News at WBS TV, Head of News at Record TV, and Peer educator in HIV/AIDS with TASO-Uganda, among other assignments.

A graduate in International relations and diplomacy at Nkunmba University and trained journalist, Sam has also recently participated in civic media projects at American University, Washington DC and his efforts on women empowerment have been recognized by The Excel Center, Washington DC. Apart from his book Enough, Ssemaganda’s works have been published and broadcast in leading Ugandan dailies and on both local and international and broadcast media. His activism works have also been endorsed and by local and international human rights bodies and diplomatic missions.

Born the morning after his father’s death and raised by a single mother in Bugenge, a remote village in Ssembabule district, Sam survived a tough childhood, has endured several adversities and witnessed violence against women (including his mother) and girls and social injustice. His mother got infected and died of HIV/AIDS….and then everything changed; Sam has since lived a life (inspired by his mother’s resilience and courage) dedicated to using his passion (writing) and civic media to empower women and girls and eliminate all forms of social injustice.



I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 
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