At a time when the real estate developers are in the run to put up yet another skyscraper, a number of old buildings have been demolished and quickly replaced with glass towering floors racing up to the sky. It is hard to come by a historical building in the old cities. They have been claimed and ransacked to nonexistence.
However, all hope is not lost as there are individuals and organisations making sure that these buildings are conserved and maintained in the best condition ever.
The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) is one of them. Established in 2006, the organisation has taken it upon itself to make sure that historical buildings and sites are conserved. This is one of its core objectives in addition to promoting heritage in schools, documentation of built heritage and cultural institutions and the promotion of cultural entrepreneurship.
From the time they opened up, they have done a number of projects among which include the 2015 Kampala Historical Buildings and Sites map project that documents the location of historical buildings and sites in Kampala. The project dubbed A Journey through Kampala’s History was sponsored by IrishAid created a huge demand on the market for maps of other cities as well as a more detailed map of Kampala.
Last year, in partnership with the European Union, CCFU embarked on a bigger and more detailed project covering three historical cities of Uganda namely; Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe. For the success of the project, the team sought the expertise of a number of researchers and photographers who came together to publish a historical photo book titled Beyond the Reeds and Bricks; Historical Sites and Buildings in Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe.
The 158 paged book contains historical photos taken in the three cities tied together in eight different chapters. The publishers of this book visited the sites and took a comparison of what was versus what is.
It is interesting to note that a number of these buildings are well maintained much as others are in a dire state. The team labours to explain the fate of each and how it can be better handled. Also key to note is the fact that most of the surviving buildings are in the hands of government or institutions.
The beautifully captured photos of these buildings as archived and presented in this book are meant to remind the reader and the general public to be appreciative of old buildings. The chapter titled Heritage in Peril paints a very bad and agonising picture that has befallen the historical heritage of these sites.
This informative book is going to be a very useful resource in the tourism industry, city planners, city administrators, city legislators, architecture students, researchers in African and Ugandan history and to individual readers in the area of conservation and education especially regarding the three cities.
The entire project comes also with a map of each of the three cities and an app called the Uganda Built Heritage available both on Android and IOS built app stores.
The book will soon be released to the market.