Ugandans Struggle to Name National Symbols Top story

3045 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Some Ugandans still exhibit ignorance of the National Symbols as the country celebrates its 55th Independence anniversary today. On October 9, 1962, Uganda became independent from the British colonial administration, putting in place a National Flag, National Anthem and Coat of Arms as the new nations symbols.

Some Ugandans still exhibit ignorance of the National Symbols as the country celebrates its 55th Independence anniversary today.
                      
The theme for this year's independence anniversary is, "Uganda's freedom must be anchored in the spirit of hard work, resilience and commitment." The national celebrations are underway in Bushenyi district.

On October 9, 1962, Uganda became independent from the British colonial administration, putting in place a National Flag, National Anthem and Coat of Arms as the new nation's symbols. 

These National Symbols are provided for under Article 8 of the Constitution and in the National Flag and Armorial Ensigns Act, 1962. The Act provides for the protection of the Symbols and prohibits their disrespect and misuse. 

The Uganda flag designed by the former minister of Justice Grace Ibingira consists of six equal horizontal bands of black, yellow, red with each shade appearing twice. At the centre of the flag, is a white disc in which a grey crowned Crested Crane stands facing the hoist side. The three colours in the flag represent the African people (black), Sunshine (yellow) and brotherhood (red).

The Uganda Coat of Arms, on the other hand, is composed of the shield and spears which represent the willingness of the Ugandan people to defend their country. The national symbol also has water waves at the top of the shield and below the shield, the sun in the centre representing sunshine and the traditional drum at the bottom. 

The shield is also flanked on the right by a Crested Crane, a subspecies of the Grey-crowned Crane and the national bird of Uganda. On the left is the Ugandan Kob, a species of Kob that represents abundant wildlife. The shield stands on a green mound, representing fertile land, and directly above a representation of the River Nile flanked by two cash crops, coffee and cotton.  At the bottom is the national motto: "For God and My Country".

Uganda Radio Network visited different places in Kampala asking gauging people's understanding of the symbols, more than five decades after the country became an independent nation.  

However, several people could only name one or two national symbols while others named the items on the Coat of Arms and the National Identity Card as the National Symbols.

Rachael Aine, a student of Development Studies at Makerere University could only name the Uganda Flag and Coat of Arms. She also attempted to identify some of the key features on the Coat of Arms.

//Cue in: "National symbols…
Cue out:…water bodies."//

Unlike Aine who could name some of the symbols, a police officer whose identity we cannot reveal could not name a single national symbol.

"What do you mean by national symbols? I don't know what you mean exactly. What are national symbols," the female officer asked our reporter.

This was before telling URN that she didn't know what the symbols are and that she could not talk to us anymore.

Eddie Golooba, a businessman told URN that he had forgotten the National Symbols since he left school a long time ago. When asked the year he left school, Golooba revealed that he left school in 2004 and he thinks knowing the national symbols currently is of no use.

Sharon Nanyonga, who dropped out of school in Senior Four, told URN that the National Symbols are the National Flag, National Identity Card and the National Anthem.

//Cue in: "The National ID…
Cue out:…all I know."// 

A Boda Boda cyclist along Parliament Avenue, who identified himself as Zubairi, also named only the Coat of Arms and the National Flag as the National Symbols. He also told URN some of the features on the Coat of Arms. 

//Cue in: "The national symbols…
Cue out:…blood remains red."//

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.