Know your hood : Katwe, Famous for its African metalic artistry

Wednesday July 10 2013

Katwe, a Kampala suburb

Katwe, a Kampala suburb  


Katwe consists of two big parishes namely Katwe 1 which has about 10 zones and Katwe 2 which happens to have at least 9 zones and is located across the Entebbe road, the Entebbe highway passes through Katwe. Katwe 1 is the heart of the whole of Katwe, it’s a commercial place, were all kinds of businesses and activities take place, however Katwe 2 is slum-residential place and where the workers reside. According to the LC1 chairman of Kasule Zone, Siraj Ssemungoma, Katwe was a place where creativity, innovation and production occurred.

Centre for local national gossip
Before anything was passed in Parliament, “Katwe radio” had to know first, therefore people stormed Katwe in order to seek information about the political situation of the country, Katwe radio in reality never existed, but just because of the politicians and the wise men that emerged in the area, they were updated and were aware of current affairs of the country and the whole world, .

Possible origins
Kabaka Mutesa 2 used to visit the leader of all the wise men and workers at Katwe, he was called Katwe Ssempuuya, Kabaka often visited him to know more information from around the world, hence from the name of the leader is where the name ‘Katwe’ was derived by locals”.

Developement, crime and security
Katwe has a high crime rate. According to Ssalongo Luyombya, the area defence Chairman, almost all the thieves who snatch and steal people in Kampala’s traffic jams in the evenings and mornings are from Katwe 2
“However, Katwe has greatly changed, the whole place has developed faster, and almost all feeder roads have been tarmacked-thanks to the Belgians who helped with the roads in our place, back then trenches were made of soil and were not well-channelled, but today, almost all trenches have been built with concrete and are well-channeled. Buildings were few earlier on, but apparently, many flats have been built and are many,”

Speaking of security, Luyomby says, “it’s fair, Iron bar-hit men have decreased, we have fought them, many thieves come from Katwe 2 to steal Katwe 1 in h night and they often storm he city center in the evenings. We have also had traffic jam thieves who steal snatch bags and rob passengers during evening hours on Entebbe road”. He also adds that, “we have tried to fight them, but they have outsmarted us because of the number, but we blame all crimes mostly because of the drugs the youth use here, they take and smoke a lot of intoxicated substances that change their minds negatively, hence leading to high crime rate.

Drugs are mostly taken here by the footballers, prostitutes, boxers and other youth. However, we also partly blame the high crime rate on the youth who move from villages to town, hey come from different parts of the country and end up all here since they know it’s where business is fast and is availed”.


He however sheds some light to the crime situation in the area. “ Crimes have tried to reduce compared to the rate those days, we have tried hand in hand with the police to fight them and we believe as time goes on, we should’ve reduced them to the minimum.” The chairman says he is also grateful for the two markets that have been built. “We are so happy that at least we have where to sell our few-little things that help our people with income”.

Mrs. Liz Nabaasa, a market vendor says, “Since the time the markets were built, our fellow women and he youth have tried to occupy themselves in different businesses rather than joining or continuing with prostitution and all kinds of crime”.

Politics failing Katwe
According to the chairman, different political ideologies have failed Katwe, “ we have some people who condemn what others or what we think is right and we end up doing something negative or nothing just because of that, for example, the Belgians were willing to develop our football field into a modern stadium with seats and everything, but just because it is on the land of the market, the vendors actually thought, the Belgians were trying to steal it, and nothing went on, and that is ho missed out with the golden chance.”

A resident and worker at Katwe, George Mutumba, says, “I believe we have achieved a lot in terms of health, I remember those days, Katwe was dirty, garbage was everywhere, sewage was flowing back and forth, people often felt sick and contracted different strong diseases, but if you compare the situation of those days and now, you will realize that, we have greatly developed health wise, toilets were few and people often used kaveras, but nowadays they have been built and people have resorted to good hygiene practices”.
According to Ssalongo Luyombya, jobs were few and hard to get, but right now many companies have come-up with many job opportunities, welders, carpenters and different businesses emerging, some youth have tried to indulge themselves in to them.

He also says, loan schemes have also expanded their work to Katwe and his has greatly affected the place positively in terms of capital for their businesses. Schools and banks have also come up hence increased literacy. Schools, banks and clinics have also increased.

According to Patrick Oluma, a boda cyclist at Katwe, transport here is good, Shs500 to town by taxi and Shs1,000-Shs1,500 by a boda boda.

Features in Katwe
Katwe is home to many headquarters of different banks and many companies. The headquarters of Equity Bank is found in Katwe, headquarters of Finance Trust bank is also located in Katwe as are the branches of Stanbic bank, Barclays bank, FINCA Uganda Limited, Pride Microfinance Limited, Warid Telecom.

Others are Katwe central market, Katwe Police station, Quality Chemicals, and Nakayima’s’ shrine-a place where a traditional sooth-sayer interprets and predicts the future for free stays and works.
Also in Katwe are Katwe Martyr’s Church, Nalongo’s Restaurant- it serves only Ganda food, it has emerged since 1960’s.

The place has also various schools like, Katwe primary school, Malcolm X secondary school, Emirates Primary School among others.