For a moment, the crowd was astounded, quite unsure if they had heard him right. South African President , Jacob Zuma had mentioned Uganda as one of his most favourite places on earth and tourism destinations, before a mammoth crowd at the Indaba gathering.
For about 10 minutes, he went on heaping praises on the East African country, remarking its beauty, first accosting its natural splendour from Lake Victoria which finds its mouth in the Pearl of Africa- Uganda.
Indaba is the continent’s biggest pan-African gathering that brings together leading tourism and trade agencies, government officials, including presidents and ministers to do business and network. This year’s edition is in Durban where Uganda is well-represented, with one of the outstanding stalls.
“One day I was visiting Uganda,” he said, prompting the crowd into murmurs. He continued, “Yes, Uganda. It is a beautiful country, ever green and home to Lake Victoria. I don’t know why it was called Lake Victoria. I have been negotiating with my brother, President Museveni to change it to the original name because it would be good to have its original name.”
The audience applauded, commendably for the African patriotic tone the South African president was using.
Lake Victoria’s original name is Lake Nalubaale.
“I was there admiring the beauty of Uganda and I couldn’t keep quiet…and I said ‘this country is beautiful’. And the Ugandan brother who was with me agreed and said, ‘yes our country is beautiful’, and he asked me a question; do you know why Uganda is beautiful? He told me that Uganda was the last country to be made by God when He made the world,” President Zuma continued, attracting more cheers from the audience who clapped and gave props to Uganda.
“God had a lot of material so he played around with it to make this country such a beautiful country and I told my friend, ‘no wonder this country is so beautiful’,” he further praised the East African nation, before pausing for hearty laughter.
President Zuma added, “This brother of mine continued and asked me the next question. He asked me if I knew where God went when he finished making Uganda. I said I don’t know. He said that He went to stay in Cape Town, so those who come to South Africa, there is a possibility of seeing God.”
The crowd, most of whom were South Africans, went into excitement.
Uganda is one of Africa’s top tourism destinations famed for having the world’s biggest population of the prized Mountain Gorilla, beautiful fauna and flora in which a bevy of wildlife live and flourish.
That is besides a beautiful weather which has been recognised globally for being one of the best, and with it, a friendly and welcoming people.
Uganda’s National Parks, like Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth have been listed by international media platforms like CNN International, Lonely Planet and other globally leading travel platforms for their unique beauty.
That is besides uniquely outstanding culture, probably the best cuisines and dishes you can find on earth and a lot more.
It is no wonder that South Africa’s number one citizen, Mr Zuma, fell in love with the Pearl of Africa, which explorer Winston Churchill christened so, for its stunning beauty.
Uganda has an exhibiting stall at Indaba, and it is one of the most visited, partly because of its ‘affordable’ gorilla permits, at US$600, in the wake of neighbouring Rwanda increasing its gorilla fees by 100 per cent, to US$1, 500, up from US$750.