Posts Tagged ‘Kampala’

National Theatre 1958-62


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Security operatives cornered Ugandan opposition leader in his car and  smashed the windows in and did their best to tear gas the occupants out this afternoon. The star of this bizzarre show was a guy in a flowery shirt and dark glasses. clearly enjoying the media attention he went about his ‘dirty’ business with gusto.  It was all very strangely familiar right down to shoing Kizza besigye in to the back of the poloce pick up truck, under the seats, no less!

All Ugandans have to do is rewind 35 years and we will realise that the bogeyman is well and truly back. He may have a different name, but the same lousy sense of style and the dark glasses and the brutality is all the same. He has been around quite awhile, but true to form we were too afraid to say his name.

We love to quote Winston Churchill: describing Uganda as the pearl of Africa. Here’s another quote: ‘Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it’.

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Being a third generation Old Budonian gives me pride that very few other things can match. For non Ugandans I can only equate King’s College Budo to a combination of Alliance High School and St. Mary’s School, Nairobi. History, tradition, pride and an unmatched old boys/girls network.

I came across this picture while surfing the web a while back and it depicts one of the school buildings that was constructed in 19926. Its got a huge arch across its width and visually provides a gateway from the quads of lawns behind it to the vast playing fields in front of it.Its significance to Budonians runs very deep as it is a symbol of power, order, discipline and boyhood fun.

To the right are the rooms for the sports and chapel prefects and at he back of that was was the deputy head prefect’s digs. To the left was the senior 3A classroom and at the back was the head prefect’s digs. And above the arch was the infamous senior 4C classroom.

Right in front of the building runs the Bursary Road, which every red blooded Budonian of the male gender knew very well not to cross after 7pm. Reason being that it was the dividing line between the sexes after regular school hours. Crossing the road to get to the girl’s dorms across the sports fields after the said time was unheard of, as such an act was considered in the same league as murder and treason………..presumably punishable by death.

But that did not stop the foolhardy amongst us from trying. Skirting along the edges of the road, testing the resolve and patience of the four prefects whose rooms were conveniently located at the border of the garden of eden. Every day a list of people caught ‘loitering’ along the Bursary Road was read out out for all sorts of punishments. The less brave amongst us took the easier route: standing at the windows of the 4C classroom after evening preps, we would cheer, jeer and generally make a total nuisance of ourselves as the ‘brave’ girls walked back , across the road, to their dorms from the classrooms.

The Berlin wall could not have been more secure.

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Copyright Echwalu Photoggraphy

I stumbled on this picture on a fellow Ugandan bloggers site and use it with his permission. it depicts kids playing in muddy water after a spell of rain, in Kisaasi, a suburb I once lived in. What I found stunning is the almost statue like effect that the water and light make the boys appear to the eye.

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I spent a few days in Kampala recently and my biggest joy was to discover a great cup of coffee, which has been a treasure hunt of sorts for me every time i go back to the mother country. I found it in a  cafe latte served up at the Game branch of the ‘Good African Coffee’ chain of cafes. Even better was that there was a supervisor who kept the staff on their toes because my coffe was late in coming…….and I had not even complained! Good coffee and good service! Something is happening in Kampala.

It kept getting better as I had another delightful cafe latte and a muffin at the Garden city branch of Cafe Pap, all served with a smile. I was in heaven. I have long since forgotten having to walk up to the counter to insist on paying the bill at their town centre branch last year.

And when I got to the airport I found another branch of the Good African Coffee brand and the service was fast, friendly and memorable. I have griped alot about  slow and tedious and often ‘I don’t care’ attitudes one can experience when eating out in kampala, but my last visit tells me the culinary scene is on the right track….and its about time.

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A Kampala market

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The junction of kampala and Entebbe Roads- 1963

Amber Court (Uganda Electricity Board HQ) to the left and the building that currently houses the Tropical Africa Bank (formerly Libyan Arab Bank) straight ahead. It does look amazingly quiet, granted that it was a public holiday, the first anniversary of indepence.

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