The day I bought land

Wednesday September 16 2020
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For many Ugandans, owning land is the beginning of creating a permanent home./PHOTOs/Eric Dominic Bukenya

By Jacobs Odongo Seaman

Everyone has a different story to share about the day they bought land.
This is because land for many Africans represents more than a place; it is wealth, heritage and history but above it all, owning a piece in different traditions makes one an adult.
Yet, buying land is not an easy thing. For some, it starts like a dream, an idea that they start saving for day by day, while for others, it will take a loan or selling their beloved vehicle.
Even those with money and not in a rush to buy land, the forces around them will always remind them about the importance of getting their hands on at least a small piece.

In an interview with Homes and Real Estate last year, actor Philip Luswata noted that he wasn’t planning on buying land in Namere, in Kawempe Division, however, a friend that was older than him couldn’t stop bugging him to buy land. To shut him up, he bought the  land in Namere.
Other situations have been more bizarre, for example, stories have been told of fathers who don’t give permission for a son-in-law to take their daughter if they have not seen a land title or a work in progress of a house.

But even the place people choose to buy is always another story to tell, for instance, while many will purchase land in an area because they can afford it, others will buy in some areas for association; that’s to say, purchasing land expensively in Kololo because of the possible neighbourhood.
Edwin Musiime, for instance, says the neighborhood is one thing that really matters to him, he believes that as there are cheaper places where people can buy, he wouldn’t go to a location that doesn’t work for him.

Generally, regardless of the size of land or where it is located, getting hands on one remains one of the aspirations people starting families and lives independent hope to tick before moving on to all the other things.
We talk to different people about the day they paid for their piece of land, how they felt or what they did after completing the payment or how they even paid for it.
These are their stories.

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Allen Nabirye


Allen Nabirye
My father took a loan to enable me acquire the plot of land I own in Kamuli. I had Shs4 million and told him that I was looking for Shs3 million so that I procure a plot of land worth Shs7 million. He immediately revealed to me that he was going to borrow the Shs3 million from the bank and that I would pay it at my convenience.  He secured the loan and I was able to buy the plot of land. I then embarked on paying back the loan and after I completed, I started construction and I am now happily staying in my house. My father was very happy with the development and revealed to me that his wish is to see all his eight children own land and a home before he dies.

Alamanzan Mukose
I worked hard to buy a plot of land because of pressure from my mother.  She always challenged me to buy land and construct a house. Whenever I went to the village to visit her, she would remind me of the need to buy a plot and construct a house.  She would mention names of my contemporaries in the village who she said owned land and houses and that I ought to follow suit. Her endless reminders became a song and at some point, I would hesitate to go to the village for fear of being reminded because these reminders made me look at myself as a failure. But when I eventually bought land and told her on phone about it, I could hear her excited on the other end of the telephone. She was so happy.

Fred Kwemboi
I took long to buy land because I already had a big family of five with my eldest daughter in Senior Four, paying school fees for all them was a daunting task. It was also challenging having a big family in rentals. I had always feared to take a loan but after realizing that it was the only alternative, I finally secured one.  It was party time when I told my wife that we had finally secured land. She suggested that we celebrate the achievement and using her own savings, she bought chicken,  a kilogram of meat and a bunch of matooke. 

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Badru Edodi

Badru Edodi
I bought my plot in Bugabwe, Iganga district in 2017 at Shs6.5 million. I did not have all the money in cash so I first paid Shs4m and promised to pay the balance after two months. Fortunately I was able to clear the balance before a month elapsed. My wife was very excited and her respect for me increased. I had planned to complete construction this year but my plan has been hampered by the corona pandemic. I encourage people to stop waiting for huge sums of money. 

Salimu Mudiba
When I bought my piece of land, I knew that I was finally a man. There is nothing as dehumanising as being a tenant. There is a time I quarreled with my landlord after he falsely accused me of beating a cat he so much loved and the quarrel resulted in my expulsion from the house.  The cat apparently meowed in an unusual way and the landlord suspected that someone had beaten it. When he saw me in the compound, he immediately attacked me, accusing me of beating the cat. Out of anger , a verbal confrontation ensued that climaxed into my expulsion from the house. I decided to work hard and buy my own plot which I did a year later. I am now a proud owner of a home thanks to the harsh treatment I was subjected to.

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Salimu Mudiba

Yayiro Mugenyi
My wife was always pestering me to buy land and construct a house. She was tired of staying in rentals, claiming that the mood swings of tenants were disgusting.  Being a working class woman, she suggested that I leave all other bills for her and concentrate on securing a home for the family. I started saving every penny I earned and after a year-and –a half,  I was able to buy land worth Shs7 million. The day I bought the land, I received so many calls, most of them from in-laws, congratulating me about the milestone I had attained. I came to realise that women consider land ownership seriously and only feel secure in the marriage when they are in their homes.