Her Royal Highness the clock is no more

Sunday August 2 2020



Angella Nampewo

Angella Nampewo 

By Angella Nampewo

I looked up the other day and suddenly, the Clock Tower as I have known it for years was gone. The tower is still standing, but the clock face is gone and I don’t know if I will see it again.

This abrupt realisation brought up a lot of questions. For example, is there a plan to maintain or restore the clock once the road construction is done?

Who answers these questions and do other people really care that this landmark is not there? I got my answer to the last question soon enough.

On my second day of ogling the empty space where the clock face used to be, I was woken from my reverie by a boda boda rider sighing as he rode by, that “our clock is no more.” At least I know I am not the only one who cares about the clock.

This being a time of social distancing, I understand that the city authorities could not throw a bash for us city dwellers to say goodbye, but couldn’t we have been given some warning that the clock was going, however temporarily or permanently?

All this wondering sent me digging first into the recesses of my memory for occasions in the past when landmarks or monuments were being destroyed and how we handled it.

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I don’t know if we had a football match to say farewell to Nakivubo Stadium. I did not hear about it. I know that I went sailing over the Bujagali Falls a couple of times right up to the last days in 2012 when the river was rising to submerge the falls.

We held several river parties, mostly as private organisations and individuals and though I got my closure, I wonder how many Ugandans did and how many probably still do not know what that section of the river looks like now.

From examples elsewhere, I hear people may have been invited to collect a piece of the original Yankee Stadium in the US, the home ballpark of the New York Yankees which opened in 1923 and closed following the 2008 baseball season before being demolished in 2010.

The stadium which had cost Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert a neat $2.4 m ($345m in 2019 value) was celebrated as a one-of-a kind facility for its size. No wonder that when it was due to be destroyed, fans wanted a cup of sand for a souvenir.

One of my first published news stories took me to the top of Old Kampala Hill where I walked through the crumbling remains of the small 100-year-old building that had been part of Captain Lugard’s fort. The mud interior of the house walls was showing and grass was growing through the cracks in the wall.

However, I was content to be standing in this space catching a whiff of historical happenings, trying to connect the contents of my primary school Social Studies classes to the reality before me. The original monument did not last very long.

It was soon demolished to pave way for a more modern building although the department of antiquities promised to relocate some of the materials and any visible architectural remains.

I wonder what they have done with the clock accessories, and should we dig up old photos of the clock in preparation for the possibility of never seeing the clock again?

To many, the clock was like a part of the family to whom we have become so accustomed that we never imagined life without them. And now Her Royal Highness the clock is gone.

Ms Nampewo is a writer, editor and communications consultant
angella.nampewo@gmail.com

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