Uganda’s Lady Justice

From death row to national icon, a woman fights for the reintegration of former prisoners in Uganda.

Susan Kigula is a self-confident, strong woman. She is always well dressed and, like any businesswoman, she navigates through her challenging everyday life with power and determination.

But Susan spent 16 years in prison, charged with murdering her husband and sentenced to death in 2002. Giving up was never an option for her and it never will be.

While in prison, Susan studied law and in an historic Supreme Court verdict on January 21, 2009, her case changed the laws of her country: no more mandatory death sentence on charges of murder.

Today, Susan helms her own organisation, helping orphaned children of prisoners and empowering former female inmates in their reintegration, a challenge no one else is tackling in Uganda. Her turbulent life story continues to shape her everyday life.



By Beatrice Moeller and Anne Thoma

When we came across Susan’s story, we were fascinated.

Since Susan has just recently started her journey as a free woman, it was important for us to follow her through this time. We wanted to witness how her life and her work unfolds, how she handles this delicate work with the children and the ex-inmates while coming to terms with her own past. We met a woman who is firmly based in the realities of her surroundings, who sees clearly the challenges that she is confronted with. But life taught her that giving up is never an option. Susan’s extraordinary life story reflects the fact that even when you are imprisoned, closed off from society, there is still a chance to achieve something bigger. And that gives hope to all of us.