Nakigalala: Home of Kiwamirembe Shrine

Wednesday June 13 2018

Nakigalala Home Kiwamirembe Shrine

Pilgrims attend Mass at the Kiwamirembe Catholic Shrine in Nakigalala last Friday. The shrine attracts pilgrims from different parts of the world. Photos by David S. Mukooza 

By David S Mukooza

When one mentions Nakigalala, the two things that come to mind are the Nakigalala Tea Estate and Kiwamirembe Catholic Shrine. According to Omutaka Kamya, who was born and raised there, Nakigalala is seated on two hills. On one side of the hill is where you find Kiwamirembe Catholic Shrine, and the other side is the trading centre.
The very quiet and steep area is found a few kilometres off Kajjansi Trading Centre on Entebbe road in Wakiso District. The area has got two zones, Nabavubye, which was later named Kifenensi (jackfruit) because of the many jackfruit trees that were in the area; where Kiwamirembe is located and Kijomya Zone, which has the trading centre.

As many people pay millions of shillings to visit the Holy Land in Jerusalem, Israel or even Rome to dedicate time to God, Fr Edward Kabanda, the Director of Kiwamirembe, says Catholics in Uganda have a similar place in the Kiwamirembe Catholic Shrine in Nakigalala. He says the 38-acre Catholic Shrine was set up with similar places such as those in the Holy Land, in mind. The shrine is a popular tourist destination and religious pilgrimage hill.

Land and housing
Most of Nakigalala is occupied by the Nakigalala Tea Estate and the Kiwamirembe shrine leaving a relatively small area for settlement.
The tea estate belongs to Madhvani group of companies and Kamya says the land was leased to the company by the kabaka of Buganda for tea growing.
According to Frank Kabanda, a property broker, you cannot find an acre of land for sale in Nakigalala but a plot of land that is 50x100 would cost you between Shs13m and Shs15m.
Being a slowly developing area, people cannot afford expensive houses so renting a two roomed house will cost you Shs150, 000 and one room will go for Shs50,000.

Nakigalala has a small business customer base therefore, the businesses are small retailer shops and small roadside market stalls. If one requires bigger services, you have to the neighbouring Kajjansi.
The people in the area largely depend on farming, especially growing crops because the area has got very fertile land.
Nakigalala also houses a stone quarry that is a source of livelihood for many residents.
The stone crushing is done locally and the aggregates later sold to truck drivers that come from the nearby areas, especially Kajjansi.

According to Kamya ,the area has only private primary schools and once the children get to secondary they go to other areas, mostly Kajjansi, for secondary education.
Residents also do not have access to piped water because National Water and Sewerage Corporation has not yet installed it in this area. However, they have a borehole and well.
Medical care is still average as residents rely on small private clinics and go to Kajjansi for serious illnesses and maternity services.
Kamya says they have electricity and they are well connected to the Yaka system.

The area has no police post and the residents say they do the policing themselves.
“We know most of the people here and if when we find someone we do not know around, especially at night, you have to answer questions,” says one of the residents.
The recent construction of a new murram road that does not pass through the tea estate has also reduced crime because people were attacked in this area.
If we get criminals we hand them over to the local council chairperson and then to Kajjansi police station.

The area has bad roads, which become impassable when it rains. Frank Kabanda, a property broker, says the bad road retards business and appeals to government to tarmac it.