Nakulabye parish is located a few kilometres from the city centre. This proximity to the city makes it popular among urban dwellers. On a bad work day, when you want to save or when you cannot afford the taxi fare – taxis charge Shs1,000 and boda bodas, Shs2,000 or Shs3,000 – you can simply walk to their home. The distance is a walkable one, depending of course on where one is coming from.
It is bordered by Kasubi Town, Namirembe hill, Mengo, Kagugube Zone, Makerere University and Makerere Kikoni.
The history of the place is explained by a Luganda folklore which Lule Ntambi, a chairperson in one of the villages in the parish and has been in Nakulabye for 69 years, narrates.
How it got its name
During Kabaka Ssuna’s era, his palace sat at the top of the neighbouring Kasubi Hill. From the hill, he was able to see what was transpiring in the lowland of Nakulabye.
Whenever he noticed any commotion, he would order for the subjects of the turmoil to be presented before him.
Once they were brought, he would open his statements with the line, “Nakulabye” (which is Luganda for “I saw you”) and then, add what the culprit was doing. Eventually the area was called Nakulabye.
It is divided into nine villages which are sometimes referred to as zones. The nine are Suzanna, Elliot, Terrace, Masiro, Baliruo, Mujomba, Church, Seventh Day and Tree Shadow villages.
Then there are zones whose names have been coined, perhaps because of the people who live there, places like Kiyindi, which is predominantly occupied by expatriates plus Kiwunya and Kiyaaye, which are mainly slum dwellings. Suzanna and Elliot take their names after popular bars found in there. This is a hint to what Nakulabye is renowned for —its night life.
A visitor to the area who wants to enjoy a cold one will be spoilt for choice, considering the number of bars in Nakulabye. And they are so close to each other that when you walk out of one, you are a few strides from another. As one would expect, this does not seem to affect their operations because all the bars are filled with patrons.
Aside from the bars, the nightlife is punctuated by a booming roadside vending business. Roadsides are dotted with charcoal stoves from which food like chips, chicken and chapattis are fried.
There are also makeshift “restaurants” by the roadside where affordable food – ranging between Shs800 to Shs1,500 – is sold. During the day, Nakulabye is a tad different. It is listless. The bar patrons are away and majority of the residents work in the central business district. Activity shifts from the bars to the shops, supermarkets, salons and the restaurants though it is not vigorous.
The area is home to people from all walks of life. There are students of Makerere University. These mostly stay in Tree Shadow, Church and Seventh Day villages since they are near the institution. There are hostels and apparently unplanned structures popularly known as rentals. The latter are also occupied by students of other nearby institutions like Law Development Centre and Makerere Business Institute.
The security in Nakulabye also varies according to where one stays. In the slums, tales of victims of metal bar hit men, are popular. In the rest of the zones, the crimes registered are a few cases of burglary.
This is another point in favour of the area.