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Nakulabye: the hood that never sleeps

By Kyle Duncan Kushaba

Added 20th October 2016 02:46 PM

This place is insane if you are a nightlife animal.

Nakulabye: the hood that never sleeps

This place is insane if you are a nightlife animal.

Nakulabye is a neighbourhood within the environs of the city of Kampala, the capital and largest city in Uganda.

Nakulabye is a working-class neighbourhood, centered on the confluence of the Kampala-Hoima Road Southbound, Kampala-Hoima Road Northbound, Makerere Hill Road and Balintuma Road.

It is divided into nine villages which are sometimes referred to as zones. The nine are Suzanna, Elliot, Terrace, Masiro, Baliruo, Mujomba, Church, Seventh Day and Tree Shadow villages.

Then there are zones whose names have been coined, perhaps because of the people who live there, places like Kiyindi, which is predominantly occupied by expatriates plus Kiwunya and Kiyaaye, which are mainly slum dwellings. Suzanna and Elliot take their names after popular bars found in there. This is a hint to what Nakulabye is renowned for —its night life.



Nakulabye is located in Rubaga Division, in northwestern Kampala. It is bordered by Makerere Kikoni to the north, Makerere University Main Campus to the northeast and east, Old Kampala to the southeast, Namirembe Hill to the south, Lusaze to the west and Kasubi to the northwest. It is approximately 1.6 kilometres by road, north of Kampala's central business district. This proximity to the city makes it popular among urban dwellers. On a bad work day, when you want to save or when you cannot afford the taxi fare, you can even walk to town.



The history of the place is explained by  a one Mr. Lule, an elder who has lived in Nakulabye for 73 years.

According to Lule, during Kabaka Ssuna's era, his palace sat at the top of the neighbouring Kasubi Hill. From the hill, he could easily see what was happening in the much lower lands of Nakulabye.

Whenever he noticed any commotion, he would order for the subjects of the turmoil to be presented before him. Once they were brought, he would open his statements with the line, "Nakulabye" meaning  "I saw you" in Luganda and then tell what the culprit was doing. Eventually the area was called Nakulabye.


The nightlife

This place is insane if you are a nightlife animal. A visitor to the area who wants to enjoy a cold beer will be spoilt for choice, considering the number of bars in Nakulabye. And they are so close to each other that when you walk out of one, you are a few strides from another. As one would expect, this does not seem to affect their operations because all the bars are filled with patrons.

Aside from the bars, the nightlife is punctuated by a booming roadside vending business. Roadsides are dotted with charcoal stoves from which food like chips, chicken and chapattis are fried.

During the day, Nakulabye is a tad different. It is listless. The bar patrons are away and majority of the residents work in the central business district. Activity shifts from the bars to the shops, supermarkets, salons and the restaurants though it is not vigorous.

The area is home to people from all walks of life. There are students of Makerere University in this area. These mostly stay in Tree Shadow, Church and Seventh Day villages since they are near the institution. There are hostels and apparently unplanned structures popularly known as rentals. The latter are also occupied by students of other nearby institutions like Law Development Centre and Makerere Business Institute.


The security in Nakulabye also varies according to where one stays. In the slums of Kiyaaye and Kiwuunya, tales of victims of metal bar hit men, are popular. In the rest of the zones, the crimes registered are a few cases of burglary.


Nakulabye is the perfect place if you are the type who doesn't sleep much. This place never sleeps. Whether you want a beer, some roast meat or to praise the lord. There is everything for everybody. Go visit Nakulabye now!

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