The stories behind Makerere University halls of residence

University Hall. Photo by Dominique Bukenya

What you need to know:

Yesterday, Makerere University Chancellor Edward Ddumba Ssentamu presented a new policy and one of the measures being considered is the privatisation of halls of residence. We look at the nine major halls of the university, their history, cultures and capacities. We also speak to some residents about their halls and thoughts on privatisation

History of the Hall
Lumumba hall was built in the late 1960s and was opened in 1971. It was named after Congolese freedom fighter, Patrice Lumumba. It is the biggest hall on campus. It is located on Lumumba road just next to Mary Stuart.
The hall accommodates about 752 students, with 241 double rooms and two open blocks.
Hall Culture
The Hall logo is an elephant and the students call themselves Elephants. The cultural symbol is Gongom. Gongom is addressed as His Majesty, Highness and dressed in an attire (a graduate gown). The Gongom monument was introduced by former students including the current Lt Gen. Elly Tumwine The Gongom monument has a protection brigade known as Gongom Protection Brigade of 10 members manned by a general. It is affiliated to Mary Stuart hall of female students. And this affiliation brings social, cultural and a solidarity known as Lumbox. It is located on Lumumba road just next to Mary Stuart hall of Residence.

The hall originally started as the Old Mitchell hall and CCE main hall of adult education studies. The hall started in 1982 as complex
It is located at the southern end of the main campus about 150 metres from the main gate, the first hall of residence one comes across as you enter Makerere.
The hall has 157 rooms, 101 are triple, 56 double, and a single. The hall is comprises four blocks.
Hall Culture
Complex hall is identified by the symbol of a crocodile. Hence complexers are referred to as the gallant guaranteed crocodiles. The origin of the symbol started way back when complex hall would flood a lot but the students persisted, therefore acquiring the title “crocodile”.
“Harmony with Diginity” are the hall values that encompass all cultural norms and disciplinary values of complex hall.
It is affiliated to Mitchell hall of male students.

University Hall is a service oriented unit for students and staff. It was opened as a Hall of residence in July 1957. It is among the oldest halls on campus. The first intake was second year students who were transferred from (Northcote Hall by then) now Nsibirwa Hall.
The structure of the building was of a rectangular form. During the 1960/61 the original plan was alternated.
Hall Culture
The students call their hall, the only hall on campus, with a culture of a special and strong meekness symbolised by their association with a goat–thus the language of goat land,
“Heb! Heb! Heb!” In 2004 the goats decided to look for she goats, the hunting ended up at the hostel called Garden Courts which is found off Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road. They united both cultures and came up with a new name, “Unicorts Solidarity”. Since that day, all the cultural activities are carried together as “Unicent solidality”


Nkrumah hall was named after the great African leader Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. The hall was at first known as new Hall under the management of Northcote. Thereafter it gained its independence but it still shares a kitchen with Nsibirwa Hall. Nkrumah houses male students and is well known for the culture of Pan Africanism. In front of the hall you find Kwame Nkurumah’s monument. The hall also has regalia which are the undergraduate gown, a drum and a flag.

Nkrumah Hall is located on Pool Road after the swimming pool opposite Faculty of Economics and Management.

Nkrumah Hall accommodates a total number of about 500 students.
Hall Culture
Nkrumah Hall is a pure Pan Africanist like the name suggests. The hall derives its values from those that Kwame Nkrumah fought for. Nkrumah Hall also uses Osagyefo to mean Nkrumah. The hall is also in solidarity with Mulago View Hostel and Nkruview solidarity binds the two residences together.
Hall Motto:
“Forward we move”.

History of the hall
This was the first female hall that started in 1945 housed in a small house at the current Guest House. The hall was named after the wife of the missionary Dr Stuart of Mengo Hospital known as Mary Stuart The hall is the biggest female hall known as box due to the physical structure of the hall. It houses female students and they call themselves boxers.
The hall has a total of 208 rooms, in the eight-storied tower block and two wings.
Hall culture
The hall has a monument of Gongomesi a symbol of a woman believed to be wife of Gongom. It has solidarity with Lumumba Hall which houses male students. The solidarity is known as Lumbox.
Hall Motto:
“Train a woman a nation trained”

The hall was opened at the beginning of the 1959/60 academic year.
Mr. Temple was the Hall’s first Warden and only 146 students occupied the hall at its first opening.

Hall Culture
Livingstone residents are referred to as “Gentlemen” and have a solidarity with the “Ladies” of Africa Hall called “Afrostone”. This solidarity was formed in 1976 and its activities became more pronounced in the 1980s.

History of the hall
This hall started in 1952, it was originally called Northcote and was named after Geoffrey Northcote, who was the Chairman of the University Council in 1948 at the time of his death.

The hall had an anthem, culture of having generals, a drum (known as stereo) and a tractor (state car). Their history has been somewhat volatile and at one time 23 students from Northcote Hall were dismissed due to invasion of Livingstone and Africa where seven kilogrammes of red pepper were poured in their food.

Current capacity of the hall is 475 residents, comprising government and private sponsored International Students on Inter University Exchange and other nationals.
Hall Motto:
“We either win or they lose”


The New Women’s Hall as Africa Hall was called then, first opened its doors to 75 freshers on June 29, 1971.

Today the hall is still an all exclusively ladies’ hall.
The hall has solidarity, known as Afrostone, with the gentlemen of Livingstone Hall and the residents are therefore called Ladies. They celebrate this solidarity with the Afrostone Night.

Mitchell Hall traces its origins from the very first hostels that were built in the 1920s to house students of the initial technical school from which the present day University was founded. These hostels were merged in the 1930s to form one hall named Mitchell, after the then Governor of the Uganda Protectorate, Sir Philip Mitchell.

When a new structure for Mitchell Hall was constructed in the 1960s, the old structure was referred to as Old Mitchell.

It is the combination of Old Mitchell with the centre for continuing education (C.C.E) that formed what is now referred to as C.C.E Complex Hall (in full C.C.E and Old Mitchell Complex Hall). This explains the historic bond between students of Mitchell and Complex Halls, and a solidarity known as Mitchllex.

The hall is made up of six blocks It has a residential capacity of 500 students.
Hall Culture
Mitchell Hall houses male students and they call themselves rats.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.