Namirember Cathedral (All credits to Alfred Lobo) http://www.oldeastafricapostcards.com/?page_id=5270
St.Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe is Uganda’s oldest cathedral. The cathedral is visible from much of Kampala.
The present structure was designed by Arthur Bereford Pite (Born 2 September 1861, Died 27 November 1934), a professor of Architecture in England, at the request of Bishop Tucker.
St.Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe present day
The brick-red Anglican Cathedral with the impressive dome is also known as St. Paul’s Cathedral. The first church was built on Namirembe Hill/ Mengo in March 1890, it’s architect was Nicodemo Sebwato, the chief of Buddu. It has stood there for 95 years now, and a further 29 if you consider the earlier churches that were destroyed to allow for its construction.
Interesting is the graveyard which includes the remains of Bishop Hannington, who was murdered 1885 (his murder is a story for another day), and the Cooks (Dr Albert and Catherine Cook), who established Mengo Hospital.
Some outstanding features at the site include; The Eagle lectern donated by then colonial (British) government in memory of the people of Uganda that had died in World War I, The Cathedral organ purchased from the Positive Organ Company in 1922 (it’s still serviced by the same company to date), It also hosts a burial ground where missionaries and bishops are rested, it can seat more than 3,000 worshipers, The Bishop’s throne, standing between the altar and the choir, was constructed by the students of Kings College Budo (one of the oldest shools in Uganda).
Some memorable events that have occurred at the cathedral include; The weddings of Kabaka Daudi Chwa, Kabaka Sir Edward Muteesa II, Dr Apollo Milton Obote, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi.
Like all things, the passing of time seems to culminate in a state of disrepair for most existing relics in Africa, and this site is not immune to this. In my opinion, it also goes a long way in enhancing the collective fact that
Africans really do not know how to maintain things (roads, buildings etc), in fact this is a larger symptom of the fact that maintenance is not part of our culture, it boils down to the basics to include even maintaining our own health, in fact most African languages (and specifically many in Uganda) do not have one single word to mean maintenance. They use approximations for the word which in many cases loosely translate to words like, repair, rebuild but never maintain.
Ceiling Arches with light pouring into the main hall
A lot has changed at this site since the 1900’s however the grounds remain one of the best picnic sites that’s if they grant you to the grounds. Let us preserve our relics and honor those than created them.
This post was a long time coming, I took these pictures on March 16 2013 and have only gotten round to posting this more than a year later.