NAMIREMBE CATHEDRAL UNVEILED

A walk down memory lane!

Saw Bizzy

I was born at Mengo hospital and spent the first year of my life in Mengo and Old Kampala where my parents resided. It was close to Namirembe Cathedral, and for that reason, my older siblings enjoyed evening walks in the Cathedral gardens. Although I was also carried along for these walks; I can’t recall a thing. But their stories of those adventurous evenings make me feel like I was “really” there. Sometimes I “own” their stories and tell them as my own. Today is one of those days. Visiting the Cathedral last weekend brought back found memories of my childhood and family members who made them special. On some days, my brother plays photographer and so do I and here is our handwork;

  1. A post card from the past

At the time, the cathedral stood as a true architectural wonder – it still is.

namirembe-cathedral Photo credit to Alfred Lobo…

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Stifling democracy – the Museveni way!

This in more than one way sums up the sad state of “Democratic politics” In Uganda.

AfricLaw

Solomon Joojo CobbinahAuthor: Solomon Joojo Cobbinah
Ghanaian Journalist and Human Rights Activist

The Uganda Police Force is perhaps the most proactive in the entire world. They actively swing into action and arrest people they suspect are hatching plans to commit a crime. However, it seems the Police largely targets politicians, who are deemed to be “threats” to President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for 30 years.

More than a month after Uganda’s February 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Election, opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye, flagbearer of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) continues to be under what the Police describes as “preventive arrest”. Preventive arrest is meant to stop him from leading protests against a declaration from Uganda’s Electoral Commission that President Museveni won the 2016 Presidential Election. Dr Besigye’s arrest on the Election Day restrained him from legally challenging an election he deemed fraudulent.

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“The Look”

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me And never kissed at all.

Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes Haunts me night and day.
I am so haunted.

Authored by: Sara Teasdale

Namirembe – “The place of peace.”

Namirember Cathedral (All credits to Alfred Lobo) http://www.oldeastafricapostcards.com/?page_id=5270

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

Majestic SplendorMajestic splendor

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.

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.

Burning of a Library

“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground” African proverb.

I found this poem and felt it was a befitting tribute to my late grandpa who passed away recently. May god rest his soul.

Grandpa through your sacrifices, we are who we are today, we are were we are today and we shall forever respect and venerate your memory.

CRANKY OLD MAN

What do you see nurses? ……What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, … …not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .… … . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice …the things that you do.
And forever is losing … …… A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not … … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding … .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am … . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .… . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .… .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen … .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now …… a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty … ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now … . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide … And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .… . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other …. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ‘round my knee,
Again, we know children … . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me … . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … … . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .… young of their own.
And I think of the years … And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man … … .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age … … . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone … where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again … . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys … . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living … … . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few …. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact … that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .… . .… open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer … . see .. .…. …. . ME!!

Credits to (http://kraabel.tumblr.com/post/27651955273/when-an-old-man-died-in-the-geriatric-ward-of-a)

(In memory of the Late Kukha Charles Wekhanya Mungoma, Born 1924 Died 2014)

The Lasting Legacy of Watson, Minnie Cumming

CHURCH OF THE TORCH (BUILT 1928 – 1933) KIIMIAI MWATHANI located in Kikuyu, about 20 Kilometers out of Nairobi.

We came across this church during our out of town drive with my family, we were fortunate that the little guy were dead asleep by the time we go to this place, I get the feeling that maybe he would have pulled the flowers out of their beds. Anyway it was really idyllic, and very serene. The folks in the area had gone home for the day and only the tall palms and jacaranda’s were keeping watch over the grounds. The old mature compound made for a place of reflection, where one could look deep and connect with God.

You have got to trust the missionaries they surely had an eye for good pieces of real estate, and many of them left great legacies.

Case in point Mrs. Minnie Watson, affectionately referred to as Bibi na Ngambi (Lady of the Camps) by the local Kikuyu people. The reason she was called that I found was because she had set up camps to care for Kikuyu’s who were dying of Hunger and Small pox.

A versatile personality she was, I enjoyed reading her life’s story. To me this church is more than a living memorial, its also a tribute to a life well lived, of sacrifice and love.

“Minnie Watson was one of the most cherished and respected members of the CSM community. She was chosen to lay the cornerstone of the Church of the Torch at Kikuyu in early 1929. Reaching retirement age in late 1931, she returned to Dundee, where she died February 13, 1949.[28] Her ashes were returned to Kikuyu, and she was reunited with her husband on September 25,[29] almost exactly fifty years after their wedding. The inscription on the headstone reads, “Aria marehire utheri wa Ngai Kikuyu” (they brought the light of God to the Kikuyu people).”

You can read in detail her life story at this link below: http://www.dacb.org/stories/kenya/watson_minnie.html