Opinion
KCCA should safeguard the history of Kampala city
Publish Date: May 13, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Fredrick Nsibambi

The history of Kampala is a mixture of both written and oral accounts. As we might be aware, before the arrival of British colonists, Muteesa I, the then Kabaka of Buganda had chosen the zone that would become Kampala as a hunting reserve. The area was made up of hills and wetlands.


It was an ideal breeding ground for various game, particularly a species of antelope, the impala. When the British arrived in the area, they called one of the hills 'The Hill of the Impala' due to the large presence of impala.

The native Baganda used this reference in their local dialect (Luganda) - 'Akasozi K'empala, which later on became K’empala or Kampala with repeated usage of the word.

Kampala grew as the capital of the Buganda kingdom and later on of Uganda, from which several buildings survive, including the Kasubi Tombs, the Lubiri Palace, the Buganda Parliament and the Buganda Court of Justice.

Severely damaged in the Uganda-Tanzania War, the city was since then rebuilt with constructions of new buildings including hotels, banks, shopping malls, educational institutions, hospitals and improvement of war torn buildings and infrastructure. Traditionally, Kampala was a city of seven hills, but over time it has come to have a lot more.

However, the current expansion and “re-birth” of Kampala is at the expense of its immense history and cultural heritage which is inadequately documented. Cities the world-over expand but safeguard their history-for it is this history that a city projects its brand, pride and identity.

For such cities, development is cumulative while in the case of Kampala, development is retrogressive because one has to destroy a building before they erect a ‘modern’ one! Examples are numerous. Currently, most of the historical buildings along Market Street, Nakivubo Mews including Pioneer House have been demolished.

Mitchell courts building which was on Burton Street as well as many historical houses in Old Kampala have been replaced with glass buildings which have nothing to do with our identity as Ugandans.

Mukwenda House at Kubbiri, on Bombo road was demolished. Mukwenda House and Basiima House on Kabakanjagala road were some of the earliest storied buildings in Kampala in 1903.  I foresee a situation when Kampala will resemble cities like Singapore or Kuala Lampur (Malaysia)-yet we are Ugandans!!

My humble appeal to the Executive Director of KCCA is that we should safeguard the history and identity of Kampala. Expanding and renewal of the city is good but should not be at the expense of our history.

KCCA should provide incentives to private owners of historical buildings to prevent them from destroying our history. Incentives may include small grants to maintain such buildings, linking them to tour operators and publicise them as tourist attractions.

Sometimes recognising individuals who have preserved their buildings could work as a ‘carrot’. KCCA should also pass bye-laws to prevent demolition of important historical properties.

The writer is with Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Educate a girl and reduce poverty
Despite the enormous progress of Universal Primary Education which has raised primary school enrolment from 2.7 to over 8.2 million in recent years, girls continue to suffer exclusion in education systems....
Scientists should take advantage of the president’s love for science
On several occasions President Museveni has come out to express his love for science and science based initiatives especially in value additions and energy as engines to drive economic growth...
Promotion of hand washing can prevent contagious diseases
The outbreak contagious diseases are threatening to tear apart cultural and traditional practices....
Balal: Why buildings collapse
When City of the lord church in Kalerwe, Uganda collapsed in the year 2008, some members of the church attributed the accident that killed 28 worshipers to witchcraft and wind load....
Ugandan scientists should take advantage of the President’s love for science
On several occasions President Museveni has come out to express his love for science and science based initiatives especially in value additions and energy as engines to drive economic growth and development, and create jobs and wealth....
Digital TV switchover: Consumer barriers to adoption
This October, Uganda Communications Commission is set to roll out its Digital TV migration process in all regions....
Do Ugandan tycoons prepare their children to take over their business empires?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter