Khodeyo Bakagwa, Very many years before my existence, my family, I mean my grandfather lived in Jinja particularly Bugembe and he never thought of anything that could happen years to come. Jinja, a very modernized, well planned town of those days attracted all kinds of people on this universe and in my primary school my Social Studies teacher assured me that its Where John Speke discovered R.Nile, that am not sure but the truth is that he never discovered it, God just put it there because according to his designs, it was meant to be there.
I have always told some of my peers that God is never wrong, he created all kinds of nature and put it just around Jinja, beautiful sceneries, valleys, Dams, Water Falls, Lakes and the River that the Bible keeps talking of that runs up to Egypt. Mentioning the word “Pearl of Africa” minus talking about Jinja gives little sense, but adding Jinja onto the statement gives the real meaning of why Uganda was referred to as the “Pearl of Africa” many years ago by Winston Churchill a scholar who had a tour to Uganda.
Some time when I grew up, I started wondering the streets and found myself amazed that beyond all the appearance I could notice the three most prominent styles of architecture that could be seen in Jinja. The old fashioned and classic style of the decorative era that transformed Jinja into the London of the great Eastern region. The beautiful well planned town with roads crossing and facing each other in all directions, the town being surrounded by water giving it a very nice weather and ambiance, the recreation centres ohh dear beautiful town, I travelled to the best place ever, I can’t believe I went abroad (idhindha) before I owned a passport.
I love Jinja because it is a town with a passion for all that is domestic, sustainable and community-oriented. It is famous for innovation and entrepreneurship, the foodie culture, the amazing art and music scene in the stone town. It’s got a rich history and is also a bit rough around the edges. As my fallen Daada (Grandama) used to put it, “If you enjoyed living next door to the wrong doers and the idle people, people who are lazy, and those persons who are firmly out of the closet, Jinja was definitely not the place for you. Because it was strictly for the rest of the class that wanted to live a happy corporate life.”
I would wish to say that i am perfectly happy to say that I am proud to be born of Jinja but am shy to disclose because some friends of mine who studied from the Great Mwiri (David Muwonge, Maurice Mugisha, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and more) will feel bad not being born there because during their time in Jinja, they thought they were already part of the town and can bear witness and clearly confess that yes, they studied from the blessed stone town. Sometimes, maybe, we love an urban place so much and don’t know why we do so.
Usually it’s in a place where traffic takes a back seat to humanity. It’s a place where lights accent the ambiance of the street. It’s a place where nature encroaches on concrete and structural design respects the overall experience.
Jinja the town where coffee bars spill out onto the walkway, with places where we fall in love with our now baby city, the Night life making the city functional 24/7,spacious food places serving the best dishes of all kinds, kwegamba even if we don’t have the words or knowledge to appreciate why we love Jinja, the whole world knows that “Bwoidha mu Uganda, notatukaku mwi idhindha, eninha ya Uganda oba ojisubibwa”meaning that when you appear in Uganda as a country and fail to get to Jinja, then you dont count yourself to have been in Uganda because the real gist is in Jinja City.
We welcome you in Joy, we welcome you with happiness, within the pandemic, the joy has come and we have reason to merry-make and party in silence. It’s been long over-due but it has come to pass.
BORN OF THE CITY
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