A place well-endowed with lots of species of tall trees protruding through green pastures, on a very gentle slope, is how I would describe how beautiful Kisubi is. It is a true attestation of how some places got their names by virtue of what happened there.
How it got its name
Initially, Kisubi was once called Bulama. But because of the different events that took place there, according to Mzee Yozefu Ssonko, an 82-year-old resident who was born here, the name had to change.
There were two men from Kisubi whose names Mzee Ssonko does not remember. One of them borrowed money from the other, with a promise to pay after a certain time.
But when he spent a long time without fulfilling his promise, the one who had lent the money went to the friend’s place to demand for his money. The debtor instead threw grass into the other man’s eyes.
The creditor reacted by saying, “onsudde ekisubi mumaso,” which means “you have thrown grass in my eyes” and he did not return to demand for his money.
It then became a popular saying that if you lent money to someone from that area, they are likely to pay you by throwing grass in your eyes. By the early 1930s, the name of the place changed from Bulama to Kisubi.
When Father Mapeera and Brother Amans, who were among the pioneer Catholic missionaries in Uganda, travelled from Zanzibar to Kisubi about 102 years ago, they first landed at Kigungu in Entebbe before proceeding to Mengo.
On their journey to visit Kabaka Muteesa 1 at Bulange Mengo, they camped in Kisubi at a place which is currently occupied by Kisubi Brother’s University Church. Here, they planted a tree, which still stands to this day and Kisubi residents now call it the tree of Mapeera. Every year, the Catholic brothers and priests gather around the tree in pilgrimage and remembrance of Mapeera and Amans.
It is also at Kisubi that the first Catholic seminary was built before it was later shifted to Bukalasa, Buddu in Masaka District because of small pox outbreak. Still in Kisubi is where the first technical school in Uganda was built about 100 years ago.
In Kisubi, most of the schools, churches and health units are ran and managed by the Catholic Church.
From St Theresa Girls Primary School, St Donozio Ssebuggwawo Mixed Primary School, St Savio School, St Mary’s College School Kisubi to Kisubi Bothers University, all in very close proximity to Kisubi Brothers University Church.
The church is open to everyone for early morning prayers from around 6.50am to 8.30am. “They do not chase away people from this church as long as one comes purposely for prayers,” says Francis Tumwekwase, a motor cyclist who has lived in Kisubi for five years.
In the same neighbourhood is where we find Our Lady of Consolata Kisubi Hospital, offering paediatric and obstetric services.
Kisubi is the home of Nabinonya and Kisubi beaches at the shores of Lake Victoria. These two are close to each other, only separated by a barbed wire fence. It costs Shs2,000 by a boda boda from the main road to access these beaches. Both beaches offer camping activites, muchomo, a serene environment and cool breezes from the lake.
“We carry out day and night patrols which are both motorised and foot based, community policing where we make interaction with the people in the community and by doing this we get to know of their security problems and we find out solutions for them,” says Joshua Twongo, the OC at Kisubi Police Station.
Mzee Ssonko says he is so proud of staying here. “Even if someone gave me acres and acres of land for free elsewhere, I cannot think of shifting from Kisubi because I’m so comfortable here,” he says with a smile.
“For the five years I have resided in Kisubi, I have not encountered any problem. The only problem is that is a bit far from Kampala city,” Tumwekwase says.