I had a very good experience taking off a Sunday afternoon en route Uganda’s source of Nile home, the magnificent Jinja, one of Uganda’s neatly preserved public secrets. Jinja, also known as the Stone town is the headquarters of the Uganda’s party life. If you ever want to know the different activities your body is capable of doing other than the few that you know, then go to Jinja. Your adrenaline will confess.
You are not yet in Jinja until you have crossed the Nile. And now with the new bridge, it becomes even more interesting as you look at the blue waters running north without a slight bother in its flow.
In the quiet pockets of the residential side of Jinja town seats Mukagwa Club. The club is the go-to place of a number of people. Mukagwa is a Lusoga word that translates to bosom buddies.
Mukagwa Club was established about a decade ago to serve the growing interest of the quiet elite class that were not being addressed by the existing happening places.
The group had members who treasured the quiet. The other existing places do not necessarily serve the quiet as they are known to serve clientele across the board.
The few friends decided they should look out for their own kindred where they could have a quiet time playing scrabble. Nelson Kyagera had an idea.
There was this family property that had not been fully utilised for some time and he thought it would be a better place for the friends to hang around.
The house is located on plot one of Ghokale road. This place is historic as far as Jinja is concerned. Mr Kyagera tells me, this was the residential area for the Asian business people who were very many in Jinja before the Idd Amin Indian expulsion in 1970s. They had established in this area which was very near to their business. However, around the same time a number of Jinja local business people emerged and they were quick to establish in this distinguished area which could not be accessed by everyone.
The other prestigious neighbourhood hosted the civil servants and they stayed quite distanced from the common area of business.
However, in the early 1960s, a number of administrative quarters had been constructed in Gokhale village. It is one of the surviving few of such houses the Mukagwa Club today.
“This house has been home to three different generations,” reveals Mr. Kyagera. His own family once lived in the same premises. The red roofed house still holds its colonial architectural design to it. You cannot miss the frontal design of face bricks and long roof, a style that was introduced by the British. A recent coat of brown painting can make one think it is a recent building until you have a look at the glass laced wooden window frames that have braved the weather for the last 60 years.
MUKAGWA CLUB TODAY
Anyone in Jinja town will tell you Mukagwa is the headquarters of pork in the area. It is the one stop centre where good pork is served with the best ambience. Evenings are crowned with meetings of bosom buddies that come to share word in conversation as they play scrabble and watch a game or two should it be a football season. The membership of the club found itself at crossroads. The different individuals are fans of different football clubs. The Liverpool supporters one day brought their flag and planted it in the middle of the lounge which triggered a similar action among other supporters.
Today, the different rooms are named after the different clubs. They are Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.
It is this kind of organisation that attracts a number of people to come around.