THEY say that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck. If it wears feathers, wiggles its behind then it really must be a duck. This one wears a pleated “skirt”, which wiggles with every movement, but walks like a boy. It is hard to classify his/her gender from a dis
Vision Reporter
Journalist @ New vision
THEY say that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck. If it wears feathers, wiggles its behind then it really must be a duck. This one wears a pleated “skirt”, which wiggles with every movement, but walks like a boy. It is hard to classify his/her gender from a dis
By Elvina Nawaguna

THEY say that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck. If it wears feathers, wiggles its behind then it really must be a duck. This one wears a pleated “skirt”, which wiggles with every movement, but walks like a boy. It is hard to classify his/her gender from a distance.

The khaki brown skirt, with a red belt and red legwarmers, match well with the red sweater. Since the legwarmers cover the legs and the red sweater covers the chest, it is hard to tell whether or not, the wearer has hairy legs or breasts. But as the wearer comes closer, masculinity dominates femininity and it becomes clear that the wearer is male.

Is he insane? Is he a sissy? Or did he get robbed of his trousers and only found a girl willing to lend him her skirt?

It is after you see a group of Nyakasura schoolboys together that you realise the “skirts” are actually uniform.

It is quite entertaining to see these boys in their “skirts” wiggling away. The tales in different schools about Nyakasura School uniform are unbelievable until you see for yourself.

The boys walk freely and confidently with their legs apart like young boys usually do. And like is typical of adolescent boys, “balance” is a must.

The boys tie their belts half way down their buttocks like they would their baggy jeans and match this with a springy gait like Okwonkwo in . It soon becomes obvious that they are used to this attire and are confident and ready to answer any questions from curious people.
Isaac Odel, a Senior two student at the school says he is proud of his uniform.

“I like it because it is free. If I were told to choose between this and trousers, I would go with this (his kilt),” he says.

Odel says he would only put on a trouser if it were made compulsory. Otherwise, he will keep his kilt on.

Joshua Mugisa, also a student at the school says that the kilts are unique and that is why he is proud of them.

“We are the only school in this country that wears kilts!” he says proudly.

Mugisha says the bag made from skin attached to the kilt, called a sporran, is a unique

decoration. “You can put in your pens or small notebook,” he explains. Such a handy uniform!
Denis Giles Ongar, a literature and English teacher at the school, says that the uniform was an idea of Cromwell, a Scottish commander who founded the school in 1926.

When Cromwell asked the Omukama to give him the land in Kigezi on which Nyakasura school lies, his vision was to produce leaders. He picked the Scottish dress because it represents a respectable and noble culture.

“Because he loved the people, he wanted the school to have its own identity.” Ongar said.

The kilt is part of the traditional Scottish highland dress whose origins date back earlier than the 19th century.

According to Lady Nancy MacCorkill in her book Authentic History of the Kilt, the Scottish highland dress is among the most powerful, romantic and dramatic of all the symbols of Scotland. She says it has been claimed, “A man in a kilt is a man and a half.” She says there is really something about wearing the kilt that confers extra stature on its wearer.

Ongar says throughout the school’s existence, the students have fallen in love with the kilt.
“The old boys of Nyakasura ‘run’ mad when they hear of it,” Ongar exaggerates. He says even up to today, many still show up in their kilts for school reunions.

True to commander Cromwell’s vision, Nyakasura, a brother school to Kings College Budo, has produced some of the leading personalities in the country like David Tinyefuza, of the UPDF army commander, Justices Herbert Ntabgoba; Seth Manyindo and Patrick Tabaro; Tim Lwanga, the ethics minister Crispus Kiyonga, national political commissar and Bidandi Sali former local government minister among others.

Proud of their kilts or not, during school outings, the Nyakasura boys are charged with the inconvenience or rather the privilege (depending on how they view it), of having to explain their seemingly odd and transverse sense of dress to students from other schools.

During a recent peace visit to northern Uganda organised by Church of Uganda Peace desk, girls from St. Catherine School and St. Mary’s College Aboke and boys from Lango college and Dr. Obote college mobbed the Nyakasura boys for explanation.

Then came the odd question: Do they wear underwear with the “skirts”? Common myth is that the Scottish do not wear underwear under their kilts.

The Nyakasura boys said they opted for the undies. However all we have is their word!!! No one had the courage to check.

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