Fun-loving Ugandans and their unusual habits

Women enjoying drinks at Eddie Kenzo’s Concert. Indeed, Ugandans love to party while sipping on something. Photo by Eddie Chicco.

What you need to know:

From real to the bizarre, Ugandans party under all circumstances but there are weird habits that are coming along with that lifestyle!

Few things define Ugandans like our partying style. We love life and we party hard. That probably has something to do with our levels of happiness. Ask the World Happiness Report of 2013, Uganda came top in East Africa. We are the happiest people in these parts. We celebrate life vigorously.

Since we love partying so much, when an invitation to a wedding feast comes; we do not pause to read the contents of the card. We just go about mobilising our friends, relatives and in-laws and off we go to the party.

It is only when we come face to face with the mean-looking bouncer at the entrance that we get a chance to read the invitation card properly only to find that it, ‘admits only two persons’, and we have an entourage of ten. When we cannot bring the children to the party for whatever reason, then we find a way to take the party to the children.

It does not matter which Ugandan feast is happening. At the lumbe (last funeral rites), meat will disappear into women’s handbags. At a wedding, you may think you are serving ghost guests when the soda, water and cake keep vanishing while the guests innocently look at you and declare that they have not eaten or drank anything yet.

When the food has been demolished and the grass destroyed from all the dancing; Ugandans will not simply walk away from the wedding celebration. It has become trendy to carry away the wedding decorations. By the time the bride and groom are into the final dance, all the flowers have vanished from the tables. Next, we will be removing the table cloths, glasses and the music speakers.

Oh Uganda, the land of freedom, where you have both the well dressed and the sleazy, under-dressed party guests. It is quite common to have formal dress-wearing guests in dinner costumes and tuxedos mingling with jeans and sandal-wearing partygoers with blue, green, maroon or yellow hair. The decently dressed folks will be mixed in with the people in peeping underwear, see-through clothes and skimpy outfits showing off less than desirable bodies. And we all party under one umbrella like one big, happy multicoloured family.

Paka chini, National party dance
Then we have the national party dance called paka chini. I say national because that is probably how the outside world sees us. Whenever our MPs are photographed dancing, they are doing paka chini on the newspaper front pages. While other dances like Stamina, Calypso and Badilisha come and go, paka chini is the one dance that stays en vogue party season after party season.

A certain young man once sang, “In heaven there is no beer…” an assertion which probably explains why we drink so much beer around here. As a nation, we put away such great quantities of waragi and beer that we have broken world records. In the 2004, WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol, Uganda ranked as the world’s leading consumer of alcohol (per capita). Based on results from 2007, Uganda’s overall alcohol consumption was an average of 17.6 litres per capita; an unusually high amount compared to what is drank in neighbouring countries. Well, by the time the party going Ugandans get to heaven, maybe they will have drank enough beer and will be happy to concentrate on praising the Lord.

In this fun-loving, paka chini-dancing republic, the party literally never ends. Every bash must have one of those earth-shaking, ear shattering discos or else it is not a party.

The music from the kimansulo (striptease show) next door blares on well after midnight and there is little you can do about it because even if you moved to the next town, the all-night party would find you .


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