Art, Culture and Heritage

Uganda’s history is stored through its architecture, monuments and paintings. Uganda as a nation is only 44 years old. However its history architectural history dates back to the coming of the Arab traders in 1840s, the arrival of Christian missionaries in 1870s, the establishment of a colonial administration in the 1890s and the entry of Indian railway builders (the Coolies) in the 1900s.

Uganda’s architecture therefore largely reflects those four phases in the country’s history. The Arab’s had the least influence on Uganda’s architecture. However it caught on through the Swahili coastal influence that today, the majengo style buildings are by far the most common site in the country.

Victorian, Elizabethan and Indian architecture can, however, be spotted in the urban centers.

In terms of monuments, Uganda is perhaps not as endowed as other countries with a longer history and tradition. However there are monuments to mark key historical moments of Uganda. They include the Speke Monument in Jinja at the spot where John Hanning Speke, the first white man to see the source of the Nile stood in 1962, the Mahatma Ghandi monument at the source of the Nile where his ashes were immersed in the water as per his will, the Independence monument and the Centenary monument in Kampala.

There are also historical buildings that are monuments of an era in themselves. They include the Rubaga and Namirembe cathedrals, the Bulange (Buganda parliament building), the Ivory Tower (Makerere University main building), Fort Lugard, to mention but a few.

All tell the story of Uganda during the period of their construction; the thinking, the emotions, the aspirations and the capabilities!