The elegant suuka

Saturday April 24 2010



As the Batooro and the rest of the world celebrated the giving over of full powers of their king Rukirabasaija Omukama Oyo, some of the men were clad in kanzu (traditional Kitooro wear for the men) while the women were beautifully clad in the suuka (traditional Kitooro wear for the women).

The suuka is a must have outfit for every Mutooro woman as it is another way of preserving the culture and giving them a sense of belonging. The suuka consists of three pieces that make the entire outfit, that is, the material which is wrapped around the shoulders usually two and a half metres long, the dress which is usually up to knee length and the kitambi which is wrapped around the waist and runs up to the feet.

Each piece of the suuka comes in different materials; the material wrapped around the shoulders and the dress is made of silk. According to Enid Tusiime a professional tailor from Super Garments- Pioneer Mansion, most women usually prefer sari over silk because of its simplicity and easy maintenance. The kitambi is usually made of satin and for a more classy and beautiful look, a net matching the colours of the kitambi is sewn on top of it. It is usually a wrapper but Tusiime says that for comfort purposes, most women these days prefer it tailored as a skirt.

“Although most women do not give much thought to the colour of the outfit, it is one thing that makes the suuka stand out,” she says. She adds that when choosing the colour, it is important to involve the tailor for an artistic touch. For example, matching ocean blue and maroon, brown and gold, orange and brown among others seems weird but when the shades are picked carefully, they harmonise beautifully.

After picking the materials, the embroidery should also be chosen with much care.
Tusiime says that as the suuka is being modernised; most women usually prefer chained straps for the dress.” They are small straps ranging between two to three metres depending on the size of the person,” she says. A modern kitambi also has finishing embroidery at the bottom which match the entire outfit as well.

The suuka being a traditional outfit is usually accessorised with African jewellery and in the urban areas, it is worn occasionally for example at introduction and giveaway ceremonies, weddings and baptisms among others while some women prefer to wear it to church.


According to Tusiime the outfit takes between two to three days to be tailored.
Materials for the suuka can be found at Fair Lady located on Pioneer Mansion, Sheena Collections on William Street and Queen Mary in Avemar all at different prices.