Inside Kibinika Slum Where Booze Took Over From Tea

2643 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Located at the lower end of Kifumbira, a bigger and more known slum that neighbours Mulago, Bukoto, Kamwokya and stretches all the way down to Kalerwe, Kibinika is full of activity with noise from the video shacks and bars that serve cheap local brew. Kibinika originated from an old woman who used to sell black tea in the area. The said woman had a huge kettle, ekibinika, which she used to boil water. She notes that at whatever time one came to her, there was always tea in her huge kettle.

It may seem normal on the streets of Mawanda road in the Kamwokya area in Kampala until one takes a walk off the road down into the slum.
 
Kibinika is not as pronounced as other slums in the city such as Katanga in the valley between Mulago Hospital and Makerere University and or Kisenyi in Mengo, just below Mengo Palace.
 
Located at the bottom end of Kifumbira, a bigger and more known slum that neighbours Mulago, Bukoto, Kamwokya and stretches all the way down to Kalerwe, Kibinika is full of activity with noise from the video shacks and bars that serve cheap local brew.
 
In the northern portion of Kifumbira is Chamuka, another densely packed slum, with poor drainage and rudimentary sanitary infrastructure, with attendant public health challenges.
 
This area, locals say is ever busy day and night although they caution that beyond mid-night, it becomes a no-go-area for non-residents. It is separated by the Kampala Northern Bypass around Kyebando.
 
It is survival for the fittest here. Noelina Nasuuna, a 44-year-old woman has been a resident of Kibinika for 33 years.
 
According to Nasuuna, Kifumbira has several hot spots where people gather to socialize. In her description, most of the places are named after certain behaviours of people in the area, food and the type of alcohol sold therein.
 
In Kifumbira, names such as Toninyira-mukange, Kidomoole and Kibinika are the most common.
 
Nasuuna says that the name Toninyira-mukange was given to a place where old women used to sell Katogo, a local snack meal, using tin lamps as sources of light. She notes that whenever the lamps would burn out, women would be heard saying Toninyira-mukange meaning 'don't step in my food.'
 
//Cue in: "Akatundu akalala bakayita…
Cue out: …nomulala nomulala."//
 
According Nasuuna, Kibinika is a unique place compared to the rest. This is a hot bed of prostitution, sachet waragi and Ajon, a local beer made from fermented millet popular among the Iteso.
 
Nasuuna says the name Kibinika originated from an old woman who used to sell black tea in the area. The said woman had a huge kettle, ekibinika, which she used to boil water. She notes that at whatever time one came to her, there was always tea in her huge kettle.
 
//Cue in: "Kibinika, wo wanjawulo…
Cue out: …olunaku lwona."//
 
According to locals, Iteso and Bafumbira are the dominant tribes. Others are the Langi, Acholi, Banyankore and Baganda.
 
Some men who live work for different private security companies in Kampala while the rest do other businesses such as hawking, operating bars, boda boda cycling video hall attendants, and dry-cleaners.
 
Majority of the residents are youth who are either unemployed or do menial jobs. As a result, during the day, they spend time playing cards, others drinking Ajon and waragi tot-packs and watching translated movies in video shacks.
 
Some youth operate businesses including selling second-hand household items such as electronics, pieced together Television sets, second-hand phones, and phone batteries.
 
Girls gather in a place called 'Ki-bus' where their sole livelihood is selling their bodies. According to Nasuuna, the place is ever busy for all youth who seem not to have any meaningful employment. They spend their time either drinking malwa or playing ludo.
 
Nasuuna's account is qualified by Johnson Byamukama, a 21-year-old unemployed youth. He says that majority of the people in the area are youth who are illiterate and have been born to parents who brew local liquors.
 
Runyankore
//Cue in: "Hati, eminyeeto nimyingi…
Cue out: …nosika emishekye."//
 
According to Byamukama, the unemployed youth usually move upscale on main roads to look for survival. He says after spending a day gambling, they end up going to the streets and start pick-pocketing.
 
//Cue in: "Omu omu twinemu…
Cue out: …nibagikozesa."//
 
Byamukama discloses that the area lacks public toilets, which has prompted people to defecate in polythene bags after which they throw faecal material in a water channel. He appeals to government to arrest the situation before the worst happens.
 
//Cue in: "Ekizibu kyokubanza…
Cue out: …nakyo nikikore"//
 
A URN reporter visited one Ajon drinking point in Kibinika and when he asked revelers where they go to ease themselves, everyone was startled as it became hard to explain. One of revelers told URN that the bar owners had rented some toilet which was at a distance and this is where they would go.
 
Behind the iron sheet bar which is located just close to the drainage channel and garbage heap stands a make-shift urinal made with old sisal bags. A dark saucepan firmly sat on three stones on fire with water for Ajon boiling just on the banks of the channel.
 
English:
Cue in: "Among the challenges…
Cue out: …with us public toilets."//
 
Francis Niyibizi, the LC1 chairperson of Kifumbira Zone, in Mulago 3 parish in Kawempe Division says because majority of the youth are unemployed, they end up drinking the whole day and in the end fist fights break out.
 
Niyibizi wants government to ban the selling of sachet Waragi to save youth in the area. He notes that usually fights break out on weekends between different groups. Niyibizi says at least five cases of fighting are reported to him every week.
 
//Cue in: "Abavubuka abatalina emirimu…
Cue out: …embera eyinza kukendera."//

 

About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba