FULL PROFILE: Who Was Ivan Semwanga?

On Thursday morning (May 25), Uganda woke-up to the sad news that South African-based Ugandan socialite, Ivan Semwanga had died.

Ivan Semwanga breathed his last at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria where he had been admitted for 12 days after suffering from a stroke that left him paralyzed.

The Tower post takes you through the life of a popular man, who was a big spender, family man and philanthropist at the same time.

Who was Ivan Semwanga?

Early Life

Ivan Semwanga was born on 12th December 1977 to George Semwanga Pinto Lutaaya and Liize Semwanga, both deceased.

He is a grandson to the late Pinto Katula Lutaya Semwanga, who was a prominent businessman in Nakaliro, Kayunga town council.

Semwanga grew up in Kayunga before he moved to his grandfather’s place in Mengo, Kampala.

He went to Bishop Brown Primary School before joining Kanjuki S.S. and later Central Academy for his secondary school education.

Moving to South Africa

After venturing in several businesses in Kampala, Ivan would later move to South Africa in pursuit for greener pastures.

Moving to South Africa turned out well for him as he accumulated wealth and started up several businesses including a chain of schools (Brooklyn Colleges) and real estates.

Family Life

Ivan Semwanga was married Ugandan socialite Zari Hassan Kirigwajjo in a traditional wedding.

Ivan Semwanga with Zari

Together they were blessed with 3 sons.

In 2015 Zari broke up with Semwanga and got married to Tanzanian singer Diamond Platnumz, with whom she has 2 children now.

Ivan Semwanga with his children

The Tower Post understands that at the time of his death, Semwanga had got another wife as well.


Ivan Semwanga was the leader of a group of socialites called the Rich Gang. The other mebers of the group were Ed Cheune and his cousin, Lawrence Senyonjo popularly known as King Lawrence

The group was known for throwing flamboyant parties and dishing out money every December when they returned to Uganda for the festive season.

City partygoers have described Ivan as “a man that brought life to showbiz in Kampala”. Many people always wanted to hangout at the same nightspot at Ivan.

Ivan Semwanga brought life to showbiz in Kampala

Philanthropy / Donating to Charity

Ivan Semwanga was a man with a very ‘big heart’.

Despite living a larvish lifestyle, he donated generously to the needy both in Uganda and in South Africa.

According to Ugandans in South Africa, Ivan gave money to poor women and children, also helped his fellow Ugandans in Madiba land whenever they faced challenges.

Semwanga on several occasions gave money to poor children and women in South Africa

Earlier this year, Ivan topped headlines in South African newspapers because of his charity work. The newspapers dubbed him ‘MOREKI’ which means ‘blesser’ and also referred to him as a prophet.

South African newspapers wrote about his charity works
South African newspapers wrote about his charity works

During his recent and last visit to Uganda in April, Semwanga and his group paid a courtesy visit to M-lisada orphanage center in Nsambya, where they donated money and other household items to the less-privileged children.

Semwanga donated money and other household items to the less-privileged children at M-lisada orphanage center in Nsambya in April 2017


Although we could not confirm his actual net-worth, Ivan Semwanga was undoubtedly a very rich man.

He was the first person to bring a Lamborghini to Uganda and would later go on to acquire several other posh cars like a Hummer, Audi among others, some of which were in Uganda while others in South Africa at the time of his death.

Ivan Semwanga was rich
Ivan Semwanga poses with his Lamborghini

By the time of his death, he had a chain of schools (Brooklyn Colleges) with 7 campuses allover South Africa, real estates and other businesses all in South Africa.

He left a palatial home in Waterkloof, a suburb in Pretoria, South Africa, where he lived with his children.

He also left a big mansion in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb.

Ivan Semwanga at his Muyenga mansion

Semwanga passed on at the age of 39 and will be laid to rest at their ancestral home in Kayunga district.

May his soul rest in peace.

Alex Alinda

Alex Alinda is a journalist, blogger and Social-Media enthusiast; passionate about travel, African Music & Entertainment. Alex has been reporting on news about Uganda’s Entertainment Scene and other national events for over 4 years. He is a co-founder and the Managing Editor for Tower Post Media Ltd. Alex has also worked and continues to work as a PR and Digital Strategist for a number of clients. Reach him on: +256 700 703903, +256 775 607219 Email: aalinda97@gmail.com