What Do I Need to Know About Kampala?

Introduction

Kampala is home to 1.5 million people and is the biggest urban center in Uganda. The city also acts as the Capital City of Uganda and home to the administrative units of the Country.

Kampala is comprised of the Central business district called Kampala Central Division, Nakawa Division, Kawempe Division, Rubaga Division, and Makindye Division.

The population of Kampala surges during the day by an extra 1 million people majority of whom stay in the neighboring Wakiso and Mukono Districts.

The City is led by the Executive Director after the city was turned into a statutory Authority and the Mayor who prior was the Political head turned into a ceremonial Lord Mayor.

Kampala is bordered on the south by Lake Victoria whose shores are home to many plush residences and Hotels among which is the Common Wealth Resort – Munyonyo.



There no demarcated places where only the rich stay but places like Kololo, Muyenga, Munyonyo, Minister’s Village, Naguru Hill among others are home to mostly the rich because of the relatively higher cost of rent in those areas.

Food Source For Kampala

We are a fresh food country and Kampala is no exception. We eat Fresh! Since Kampala is an urban center, most of its food comes from upcountry and is then sold in the major food markets of Kalerwe market, Owino Market, Nakawa Market, Natete Market, and Nakasero Market among many other smaller food markets.

The most consumed staple food item is Matoke (Bananas). Kampala gets her bananas largely from Buganda, Ankole and the Bugisu Sub-region.

There is also supply of Irish potatoes from the Kigezi and Bugisu sub-regions while the Eastern region sells Maize, Millet, sweet potatoes and cassava to the city.

The Main meat source for Kampala is cattle. While cattle, goats, chicken, and pork come from almost all regions of Uganda, the main suppliers of meat to Kampala are Ankole region and the Karamoja areas.

Culture and Social Life

As expected the city is multi-cultural with people from all the 50 plus tribes of Uganda. English and Luganda are the most spoken Languages in Kampala with Swahili and Runyankore right behind the two.

We work hard and party harder! For most Kampala dwellers their day’s work starts at 7am and ends at 7pm. For many business people, the day is actually longer!

For the high-end A and B list Kampala dweller, Friday and Saturday are Party time. There are numerous bars and hang out places all over the city and her suburbs and we fill them every single weekend!

We are a beer country. People just love to empty them bottles! BUT WAIT bottles in Kampala actually doesn’t mean beer it means the harder whiskeys, Gins, and Vodka.

Back to Beer, We love Club Beer, Nile Special, Guinness, Tusker malt and her lighter version Tusker Lite, Castle lite and the range of Smirnoff beers. Those are the most consumed beers but certainly, there are loads of other brands.

For the low-end Kampala person, they will drink Kavera (sachets packed gin, vodka, and whiskey). Whatever the choice, Kampala is drinking. We rank quite highly (top 50) in countries with the highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world!

As a means of exchange, we are largely a “cash city”. Most of our purchases are done with solid cash. Yes, we have mobile money and cheques but Cash is what drives the city so you better carry it else you may be denied service at some locations.

Sexually speaking, we are a straight city. Forget the lies no one is burning another because they are gay. That is an internet Hoax! We don’t kill anyone for their sexual orientation but the stigma for same-sex relationships is real.

Just like you, we love cars. They are a statement of affluence or at least perceived affluence for that matter. We don’t need these cars most times but we will buy them anyway so we are not looked at as financially struggling. We will take out a loan to buy a car instead of buying a house.

That should tell you that we sometimes have abnormal traffic Jam and very bad driving culture. We have very little respect for traffic rules unless there is a cop to enforce them.

How Kampala People Relate with Foreigners

We don’t care! The only time we care is when you break the law. If you are here and living like us and working like us and treating us like we treat you. It’s ok The Kampala dweller will not mind you.

I must admit we are opportunistic when it comes to foreigners especially those who are “white” (No racism intended). We will call you sweet names and act all loyal if we can get a few dollars from you. We will cook up situations to gain sympathy if we think you might give us some dollars. Let me just say that we are very corrupt and we will use that on foreigners who don’t know us that much.

We love to travel to “outside countries” especially Europe. If we have to marry you in order to gain a visa, we will do it! But honestly speaking people here love foreigners generally.

Kampala is home to several refugees most of them from Sudan, Somalia, and Burundi. We don’t mind them. They work, buy things including real estate property and we do not mind that as long as they keep the law we are good.

Weather and Nature

We have two rain seasons, March-April and August-September. But the sun still shines during the rainy seasons.

Let me warn you that when it rains several parts of this city will flood. Ok, forget those house sweeping floods. Our floods will interfere with traffic, probably sweep you off a Boda Boda (motorbike) but hardly sweep away a full house.

We generally don’t have too much green in the city but we are a green country so where you find it you will certainly love the Flora and Fauna of this country.

Our water for the day to day activities comes from Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria also happens to be one of the lakes with the freshest water in the world.

Law and Order

First, we don’t really depend on the police to maintain law. I know you will say am biased but hey I mean we don’t know the contact number for the nearest police station. We don’t call them in most cases we deal with our problems ourselves. Don’t get me wrong we finally report to police but we deal with things our way with Local Councils and our neighbors.

Once in a while, we will have demonstrations over this and that. They will almost end the moment police shows up.

We are a law-abiding country. There a few reports of criminal reports largely in the suburbs but on the whole, these “kiface” as they are called are not a huge scare to the security and safety of the Kampala people.

Like other cities, of course, we have pickpockets. If you do not mind your handbag and phones downtown they will snatch them and dive into the sewage drainage. In a few neigbhorhoods, they will pick your locks and sweep you clean but that is the odd rather than the norm unless your house goes for days without someone living in it.

We do not respect copyright. We make use of music, literature, videos etc with no regard of copyright.

Yes we have a copyright law in place and there is a Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS) to try and enforce the law but we will quite openly sale music and videos that we have no rights to a police officer without fear that we will be arrested.

Morality

We are very corrupt. In fact, too corrupt that we don’t have any problem paying the Cops when we break the law.

The president has said on many occasions that Traffic Police was just a den of hungry corrupt officials. BUT WAIT we offer them the bribe before they even ask.

If someone went to the USA and stole from a white man and came back to Kampala, we will make him a celebrity. We see nothing wrong with stealing from others just do not steal from us and we are good!

Ok so you decide to steal from one of us and we catch you, we will burn you. Yes, Kampala is prone to mob justice especially on grounds of murder and theft. If we don’t burn someone we have caught killing at least we stone them.

Transport in Kampala.

The major means of transport from one location to another in Kampala is by public shared taxi commonly called Kamunye.

We also have Boda Boda (commercial motorbikes). For short journies, we use Boda Boda or Bajaji as some call them. We Use Kamunye for longer journies usually exceeding three kilometers.

There a few buses in the city but most buses you see actually are for upcountry journies.

Education

We have too many schools and Universities in Kampala. The biggest of them all, of course, is Makerere University located in Kawempe Division in the suburbs of Wandegeya.

Government schools, Private schools, international schools we have them all in Kampala and you will hardly go two kilometers without finding a school.

How they cost in terms of school fees will depend on how they perform at UNEB exams, their facilities and or who takes their children there. Rich people’s children obviously go to schools that charge higher.

Other Things you need to know about Kampala

If you fall sick, and I mean very sick, we don’t have that many ambulances so your people might use their private car, neighbors here are good people they will help if they have a car or you will have to sit on a bike with someone to hold you and take you to a hospital.

For minor cases you will most likely end at a private clinic, For more serious cases, you will need to go to division hospitals. For critical cases, we have Mulago and Nsambya Hospitals. If Mulago fails you will most likely be heading to Nairobi or India.

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