History of the university, strength, vision & mission

Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) is a higher learning institution with its main campus located in the village of Magamba, 8 km north of Lushoto town, in the centre of the Usambara Mountains, in Tanga Region, Tanzania. On 28th October 2007, the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania opened what came to be the first University in Tanga region, Sebastian Kolowa University College (SEKUCo) of Tumaini University (now Tumaini University Makumira). In October 2012, SEKUCo was transformed into a full-fledged University known as Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU).

SEKOMU was started with a purpose: to train people who will have the intellectual, practical, emotional and spiritual readiness of serving the society, starting with those who are at the bottom of the social pyramid. The aim is to prepare teachers, educators, administrators, lawyers, natural resource managers, engineers, health workers, entrepreneurs, researchers and other professionals who will, in carrying out their duties, have an eye for the unseen and an ear for the silenced.

Named after the first African Bishop of the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Rt. Rev. Dr. Sebastian Kolowa, SEKOMU hosts over 1400 students. The University has academic and non-academic staff members committed towards serving the students and shaping them into well groomed professionals ready to serve and empower people stigmatized by various forms of disabilities.

Vision and Mission

Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University's academic business is guided by the university’s vision and missions as well as the Corporate Strategic plan (2019-2023), the latter that spells out plans in keeping with university’s core missions and functions as well as the need to remain competitive.

SEKOMU Vision Statement:

The Vision of the university is “to be a leading African institution of higher learning that fully recognizes and actively professes the human value and dignity of all society members, including people with disabilities, and whereby everyone is able to learn and live in harmony with God, fellow human beings and all creation”.

SEKOMU Mission Statement:

The vision is guided through the mission, which is “to provide High Quality University Level Education that produces graduates who can integrate the Needs, Rights and Potentials of People with different abilities into a holistic perspective of life and creation in various fields of expertise, building upon traditional knowledge simultaneously as we open creative ways for new and constructive innovations”

SEKOMU Core Values

In achieving its vision and fulfilling its mission, SEKOMU adhere to the following core values:

  1. Community Building and Advocacy: We are committed to educating and encouraging the general public to integrate and include people with developmental, learning and emotional disabilities in all aspects of community life. Our services and programs are designed to maximize choices and opportunities for the people we serve
  2. Life-Long Learning: We are dedicated to offering a wide range of experiences and opportunities to encourage individuals to discover and develop their unique talents and abilities, understanding that each individual learns differently.
  3. Service of the Poor: Generosity of spirit, especially for persons most in need
  4. Reverence: Respect and compassion for the dignity and diversity of life
  5. Integrity: Inspires trust through personal leadership
  6. Wisdom: Integrates excellence and stewardship
  7. Creativity: Courageous innovation, pursuit of excellence in service delivery
  8. Dedication: Affirming the hope and joy of our ministry
  9. Entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, Competitive orientation, Integrity, Transparency and Accountability, Freedom of thought and expression; Gender sensitive and Continuous learning.

SEKOMU Motto/ Slogan

The leading motto of Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) is “Acquire Knowledge, Serve with Compassion!”

SEKOMU Programmes

Currently, SEKOMU has two (2) faculties that are operating:

  1. The Faculty of Science and Education which has five programmes:
  2. Bachelor of Education Special Needs (BedSN) - Arts
  3. Bachelor of Education Special Needs (BedSN) - Science
  4. Bachelor of Science with Education (BSc Ed)
  5. Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Rehabilitation (BSc MHR)
  6. Bachelor of Science in Eco-Tourism and Nature conservation (BSc ENC)
  7. Master of Education in Special Education (MEdSpEd)
  1. The Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Law which has the following programmes:
  2. Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
  3. Diploma in Law
  4. Certificate in Law
  5. Diploma in Theology

New programmes expected to be launched in the near future are:

  1. Master of Science in Nature Conservation and Management
  2. Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education

From 2010 to 2012, a total of 846 students were awarded degrees and certificates of under SEKOMU. On 7th December, 2013, more than 540 students graduated while in 2018 seven hundred and twenty eight (728) were awarded degrees and certificates under Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) in the fields of Special Education, Law, Eco-tourism and Nature Conservation and in in Mental Health and Rehabilitation. However, SEKOMU’s honour does not primarily depend on the number of graduates; rather it comes from their individual and collective performance in the field. SEKOMU graduates are already acting as role models in the society, portraying themselves as hard-working and diligent scholars who put others first wherever they serve. That is what makes SEKOMU a University that turns the social pyramid upside down

Major Developments & Timeline



The Usambara-Digo Lutheran Church under the leadership of Rev. Heinrich Waltenberg bought the famous Magamba Country Club at which Usambara Trade School (UTS) was opened in order to offer vocational training courses in tailoring, carpentry, metal work, mechanics and shoemaking. The UTS was supported by Bethel Mission and Mr. Gephard Waltenberg was involved in the work at UTS. A secondary school was also opened at UTS and Mr. Kolbjorn Riiser from Norway was the first Headmaster of the Secondary School. He was replaced by Mr. Michael Chesterman who was a missionary sent by the English Baptist Society. Chesterman worked as Headmaster from 1961 until 1963. During that time, new buildings were constructed a kilometer away from UTS. The secondary school moved to the new campus. It is at the UTS where renovations have paved way for the first campus of the university, Campus A


The construction of Magamba Secondary School was funded by the National Lutheran Council (New York) and the World Bank. The architect was an Estonian expatriate, Harry Poderso, who had his office in Tanga. The general contractor was Patel Constructions from Dar Es Salaam.


On 9th February 1963, the buildings of the Secondary School were officially inaugurated at Campus B and the students moved from Campus A. The Minister of Education, Hon. Solomon Eliufoo, performed the inauguration ceremony. Rev. Lazaro Mchalo said the prayers and led the joint Usambara Brass Band. Michael Chesterman was the Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School during the inauguration. Later this year, Chesterman handed over the position of Headmaster to Mr. Paul Gustafson.


Mr. Paul Gustafson worked as the third Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School. He arrived at Magamba in 1962, having been called to work as Science teacher. Mr. Gustafson was sent by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). At the end of 1963 or beginning of 1964, Mr. Uwe Puttfarken sent by Bethel Mission took over the leadership of UTS.


Mr. Joseph Elinaza replaced Mr. Gustafson and became the first African Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School, serving until mid-1966 when he was replaced by Mr. Gideon Chaghuza


Government of Tanzania nationalised Magamba Secondary School. Mr. Gideon Chaguza was Headmaster at that time Headmasters who served when the school was under the Government included Mr. Mwaipopo, Mr. Mmbaga, Mr. Mananga, Mr. Dimoso, Mr. Singano and Mr. Minja.


The NED decided to close down the Trade School. Both training and production units were suspended.


Carpentry and metalwork units re-opened for production purposes only under a new name, Usambara Technology Centre (UTC). The premises formerly used for training during the Trade School continued to stand unutilised. New leader at UTC was Robert Hoza.


The training premises at the Trade School were reopened. Tailoring courses were reintroduced. UTC was now functioning both as training and production institution. Robert Hoza continued to lead the UTC. In March 1982, ELCT’s School for deaf children, which had started in Masoka (Moshi) in 1981, was moved to Magamba. The transfer was done very much with the help of the late Bishop Dr. Sebastian Kolowa. 31 pupils came to Magamba and they were hosted in some of the houses at UTC. Miss Anni Kauppinen from Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) was the Head of the School.


In December 1985, the Deaf School was transferred to Mwanga where permanent premises had been prepared. Mr. Elirehema Mgonja took over the leadership of the School for the Deaf


Robert Hoza died. Ernest Mbondei took over the leadership of UTC.


The training unit at UTC was closed down. Carpentry and metal production units continue to operate to-date. The Head of UTC at the time of closing was Ernest Mbondei.


The Executive Council of the NED decided to prepare the premises at former UTC for new vocational training, including courses in Agriculture. The teachers at Agricultural Training at Irente Farm (ATIFA) were given the responsibility to plan for and prepare the venue and courses. The plans were however abandoned due to uncertainty regarding the feasibility of the project, particularly after the suspension of ATIFA in 2004. During the same year, the idea of renovating the buildings into a conference centre was discussed and accepted. However, the implementation staggered due to lack of funds.


The NED sent the first letter to the Minister of Education and Culture requesting to get back Magamba Secondary School for purposes of establishing a University College. Bishop Dr. Stephen Munga wrote the letter to the Minister, Hon. Joseph Mungai.


Magamba Secondary School was officially returned to the ELCT-NED.


Renovation of Campus A supervised by the NED’s building department started.


TCU granted SEKUCo the Certificate of Provisional Registration


The Executive Council of the Northern Eastern Diocese (NED)-ELCT formally declared that the university college should be named after the first African bishop of the Diocese.




SEKUCo was transformed into a full-fledged higher learning institution known as SEBASTIAN KOLOWA MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY (SEKOMU)


University Charter and Accreditation

Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) is a private university owned by the North Eastern Diocese (NED-ELCT) and has been operating under its Charter and Rules, 2007 which was signed by the then President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete on …….. Legally, SEKOMU is fully accredited by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU). Through accreditation TCU provides quality assurance services, coordination and rationalization of training programmes, and promotes cooperation among universities in the country. Besides this legal framework, the University is also guided by a number of education and training policies that provide a coherent philosophy for the development and management of education in Tanzania.