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Friday,September 20,2019 01:31 AM

Kampala in British trance

By Titus Kakembo

Added 19th April 2017 10:09 AM

Places like Half London cropped up playing country music, having call girls and Guiness was there drink. “Ugandans being obsessed by British fashion icons like Princess Diana’s hairstyle, dress code and music are not new.” Observes visual artist Nuwa Wamala Nyanzi.

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A house on Buganda Road called Park Royal after a town in UK. Photo by Titus Kakembo

Places like Half London cropped up playing country music, having call girls and Guiness was there drink. “Ugandans being obsessed by British fashion icons like Princess Diana’s hairstyle, dress code and music are not new.” Observes visual artist Nuwa Wamala Nyanzi.

Long after the former Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill baptized Uganda the Pearl of Africa, the nationals continue to ape their colonial master culturally, politically and socially. For example, when the Premier League is on, activity practically grinds to a halt. Mention Manchester United, Chelsea, New Castle - they are more popular than either KCC or Soccer Club Villa.

The next day, conversation in taxis, social media, pubs, work places or market place among fans is about nothing but the players, the last game, the next one, how much they earn or their scandalous marital relationships. Sports Pubs like Just Kicking were very popular.

Prince Harry was rumored to have visited it in Kisementi before its place was taken by The Cube structure. One of the most popular national Parks in the country is Queen Elizabeth named after Prince Harry’s grandmother. During his reign, Idi Amin Dada renamed it Kabalega but the Royal’s name resurfaced after his fall in 1979. The biggest lake on the continent, Lake Victoria was originally Nalubale (home of spirits) before it got that English name. There is the Queen’s clock along the Entebbe/Kampala highway which is the Big Ben of Kampala City.

 he bikers craze from  is spread like a wild fire in ampala ity hoto by itus akembo The bikers craze from UK is spread like a wild fire in Kampala City. Photo by Titus Kakembo

 

Botanical Gardens in Entebbe are like the Kew Gardens of London. The tranquility and a cool breeze there remind Londoners of a permanent spring. It is yet to have a collection of 30,000 plants as its counterpart which dates back to the 1840s when it was set up.

Like fate would have it, historically the city center’s name was corrupted from a Luganda phrase Kasozi Ka’ impala ( Hill of Impala) by colonialists. Likewise Kitante (killer of cows) which is today Kitante suffered the same fate. In turn the Baganda named Lungujja after corrupting it from the English phrase “Long Journey” to Lungujja.

“A missionary was asked how his journey was,” orally recounts Earnest Senoga in Mengo. “In response he answered that it was such a long journey. The translator called it Lungujja.” “It was an ideal breeding ground for wild game,” says an Italian old houses enthusiast Pietro Averono. “Greened avenues with sprawling residential houses embellished in wide compounds in Nakasero,

Bugolobi, Kololo, Old Kampala and Bukoto are no more. Malls are taking their place.” What followed were Juke Boxes in pubs with LPs of Elvis Presley, Don Williams and Jim Reeves. By then patrons were not allowed in without jackets and boots.

Places like Half London cropped up playing country music, having call girls and Guiness was there drink. “Ugandans being obsessed by British fashion icons like Princess Diana’s hairstyle, dress code and music are not new.” Observes visual artist Nuwa Wamala Nyanzi.

“That is how The Beatles and ABBA got such a following in Kampala way back in the 1960s. In the 1960s going to some clubs minus a jacket was prohibited. Miniskirts and high heeled shoes were in vogue.” Down town Kampala one will get names like Dewinton Road, Acacia Avenue alongside Buganda and Yusuf Lule Roads. There are English style membership clubs like Kampala Golf Club and Tennis Clubs.

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