The delicious of Kabagarame

Oct 23, 2018

Over 2000 people on the minimum turn up every week to just eat pork and catch up. The market only opens during the week only if there are special occasions like Valentine ’s Day or festive holidays.

The word okugarama in Runyankole means to lie on your back either in pain or satisfaction but do not you worry, we are not here to talk about discomfort but rather one of the most delicious tales you will probably ever hear. 

Behold, Kabagarame, and no, it is not some type of delicacy but a place, a location where folks eat and lie stomachs up with satisfaction. One wonders what is in a place. Well, here goes a hidden place somewhere along Mbarara-Ishaka road where specially cooked pork is served exclusively on Saturdays. 

It is so popular that if you badly needed to find your long lost friends and relatives, you will certainly find them here, if they eat pork, I guarantee it.

 nside the hut where pork is prepared Inside the hut where pork is prepared

Pork is not a new phenomenon around here but somehow Kabagarame has made this sweet thing sexier than ever that folks from as far as Kampala travel to this place every weekend just to eat pork. It has, as a matter of fact turned into a hot spot for singles hoping for a hook up. 

Over 2000 people on the minimum turn up every week to just eat pork and catch up. The market only opens during the week only if there are special occasions like Valentine 's Day or festive holidays.


Kabagarame is located about 350 kilometres south west of Kampala in Kayojo cell, Ruharo ward, Central Division, Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality in Bushenyi District. 

You can access it about a kilometer from Bushenyi town heading to Ishaka town. You might not see it because it is not on the road, so you must ask around when you get to Bushenyi town. 

The area Member of Parliament is Gordon Arinda, popularly known as ‘Cowboy'. The journey from Kampala to Kabagarame will cost you a paltry Ushs 20,000, so no excuses. 

 uts are temporarily built Huts are temporarily built



The market began 23 years ago in 1995, selling goat's meat. It was started by two gentlemen, a one John Barugahare, the current councillor of Ruharo ward and Nshemereirwe Paulino who were popular butchers in the area then. 

They were later joined by a one Mujuni, who moved from Ishaka town to join the two.  They had no plan of growing the market to where it is now but only sell goat's meat to the locals around Ruharo ward. 

They built only one hut just next to the now defunct Ruharo nursery school but overtime, over 70 huts have been raised in this same area which was once occupied by the school.

The pig business was becoming big around Ishaka in the late 90s when their friend Mujuni had passed on, so they thought to themselves what if we do pork instead of goat?  It instantly became a hit with the locals. 

They immediately started selling local brew ‘tonto' to the brew enthusiasts, little did they know they were hitting two birds with one stone. One of those enthusiasts was a strong man called Beitomwe Muraahi also known as Kamurye whose popular saying gave this spot a name never to be forgotten. He used to say;

"Abantu kubaramare kurya empunu baze omukashayi bagarame" literally translated as when people finish having their pork, they should always go to the football pitch and lie stomachs up as he used to do with his drunken mates. The area gradually gained its popular name; Kabagarame.


The Central Division owns the market and has given a tenderer all the powers to collect his tax from the traders every Saturday. The division expects its sh20,000 ground rent per year which is reasonable as every trader is given space enough to build two huts; one where to fry the pork from and another for customers to sit in and enjoy the delicacy they paid for.  

Mwesigye Fabiano, a butcher at the market tells me that the tenderer whom everybody refers to as Master expects shs7000 from every trader every Saturday and apparently, there are about 60 traders which totals to 120 hats meaning this Master chap collects approximately sh420,000 each week. 

Mwesigye kills two pigs of 20-40 kgs on a normal Saturday but can even go to four when it is peak season between May and July because of the coffee boom around that time of the year and of course during the Christmas season. Each pig costs between sh200,000 to sh 400,000. 

The picture shows you how big the place is and how big it is likely to get since pork lovers are increasing every day.

 A kilogram of pork at Kabagarame goes for sh12,000 with all its spices and ready to eat, matooke is for sh2000, kilogram (mingled millet) for sh2000 as well. A soda goes for sh1500, a beer at sh3000 whereas a litre of local brew known as tonto goes for sh4000 and this one is served in Uganda Waragi bottles.

 he writer enjoys local brew with a friend The writer enjoys local brew with a friend

Benefits of the market

Yeremia Baryaruha, the Chairman LCI of Kayojo Cell says that this market started small but has over two decades become a huge market.

‘'We as locals, have grown with this market and developed with it. Our children have got school fees from this place because all our produce is sold here as the numbers have kept soaring from week to week. We sell pigs, greens, onions, tomatoes, cabbages, lettuce, coriander, millet flour, matooke to mention a few, to the traders who in turn avail them to the customers who show up every single Saturday. This market has made us rich, families around here are doing well because there is a ready market for our produce.''

Tumwijukye Valeriano popularly known as Brown says he joined the market in 2007 as a goat butcher working for the late Mujuni but eventually changed to pork business as it was the in thing. 

He tells me that he has been able to build a house, pay school fees for his children and been able to buy a motorcycle which he uses to traverse the villages all week looking for pigs to slaughter on the next Saturday.

Barugahare John, the councillor of Ruharo ward attributes his rise to fame and politics to Kabagarame because he was the one who started it and therefore the respect he gets from his fellow traders has transmitted to the whole neighbourhood and he even believes he can be a member of Parliament someday because of his popular butchery and his customer care. He says his hat is always the first to fill because he is very well known and his pork the most trusted.

A few years back, President Museveni was canvassing for votes in the area and happened to pass by the market where he saw so many cars parked prompting him to instruct his security detail to first find out who was having a rally without his knowledge in the area he was meant to be. To his shock he was told that it was a pork market. A few years later, he gave the pig farmers around Kabagarame very many breeds of pigs and since then the market soared to heights.


The Chairman, Baryaruha points out the biggest issue as the lack of electricity in the market. For over 10 years, the market has been rapidly growing and no electricity has been installed in this place. 

"We have been appealing to the Government for so long to bring power to the market in vain. We tried for over five years to get tapped water (which came in 2017) and longer than that we have appealed for power to no avail. The traders work into the night up to about 10:00 pm and all they have to depend on are torches and cell phones for light. If we had floodlights, we would be much better. What hurts me is that the power passes through the neighbourhood and the poles are not even 500 metres from here, one wonders who is not doing their job in the Government," Baryaruha said.

Because it gets dark when people are still eating, it has encouraged theft of people's property like side mirrors, bicycles and motor bikes. This could have been reduced by tightening security but clearly no one is willing to meet that cost.

Most of the traders complained of failure by customers to pay. This happens because the butcher and his team prepare the meat from the hut behind, whereas the customers sit in the one in front, so quite often some customers run away without paying for what they have eaten. They believe with power this habit will reduce. 

 here is enough parking for customers There is enough parking for customers

"We don't have a veterinary doctor to look at the pigs before they are cut. We, as normal human beings might not know which pig is sick and not fit for consumption so we need one" the chairman points out.

 He also says that the sanitation is not the best since people urinate behind the hats especially when it gets dark, even when a state of the art toilet has been raised at the market.

 Also the abattoir, where every butcher is meant to slaughter his pigs at exactly 8:00am does not have enough space to dispose of the pigs' inner parts and therefore, the stench can be overwhelming sometimes.

Baryaruha adds that some people will soon be forced to slaughter their pigs from their homes, something illegal, because it will be hard to tell which pig has been stolen just in case the owners come looking for their stolen animals.

Despite all these challenges, Kabagarame's pork tastes divine. Where else have you tasted pork with egg plants and mingled millet alongside so many other spices? As the saying of today goes…this spot is the ish! Go see it.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});