Uganda Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Local Customs
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Local Customs
    by muguruki

Uganda Local Customs

  • Fancy a Rolex?

    The title sounds rather more generous than it actually is, as a 'rolex' is a popular form of Ugandan street food.A Rolex comprises an omelette that has been rolled up in a roti (Indian flatbread) and then rolled into a convenient cylinder. The composition varies from vendor to vendor, but the most tasty also include some vegetables, and I...

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  • Towers of 'Irish' potatoes!

    Wherever you go in Uganda, you'll come across the curious term, 'Irish potatoes'.When I first saw this on a menu, I assumed that it was just a particular way of preparing potatoes, but it turns out that the term is used generically for potatoes of all types in all their possible potato-ey incarnations.I have no idea why they are called this -...

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  • Long distance runners are major...

    Most people outside East Africa would probably struggle to name a famous Ugandan - with the obvious exception of the murderous Idi Amin, who is memorable for all the wrong reasons ...Stephen Kiprotich is the Ugandan that perhaps althletics fans would come up with, since his gold meal marathon win at the 2012 Olympic games in London. Not only did he...

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  • Snacking on the go

    I love street food and find experimenting with local specialities to be one of the most rewarding aspects of travel, but there are times when even my cast iron peasant constitution is challenged by the variable hygiene of hawkers' wares.This can be especially problematic if you're on a tight schedule and can't afford downtime to recuperate. For...

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  • Charcoal grilled corn makes a good,...

    (work in progress)I'm a great fan of streetfood, but usually when you're travelling in Africa, hygiene can be a bit of an issue.A notable exception are charcoal grilled cobs of sweetcorn, which are readily available throughout the region. They are the ultimate quick snack, being cheap, tasty and easy to eat and as they've been grilled, the risk of...

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  • Waragi

    Uganda is ranked as the world's leading consumer of alcohol, 17,6 litres per capita. It is a very huge problem in this country and not easy to be resolved.Waragi is a generic term for domestic distilled beverages and the base of waragi ditillate can be made from either cassava, bananas, millet or sugar cane. It is sort of gin and production could...

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  • Marabou all around

    At first I was curious and attracted by seeing such an big bird in the nest on the tree which is opposite to Imperial hotel, right in the heart of Kampala. But than in the next days I realized that marabou is some kind of domestic bird, alike stork in the central part of Europe. Marabou is from stork family, however much bigger bird than European...

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  • School kids

    Primary school kids are probably very much alike all over the world, joyfull and playfull whenever stepping out of the classes. Spending much of times out in a fresh air and teaching about the environment, nature and life should be the best school programe for them. This kids from different schools and places came on a day trip to Entebbe, the same...

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  • The kids from my neighbourhood

    Maybe kids aren't more curious than adults are but kids showing it openly and without a hesitations. I was the only white who stayed in Naalya and later on some adults told me that I was the first white ever whom some kids have seen in live.Swahili isn't widely speaking in Uganda, as it is in Kenya or Tanzania, but most people using swahili term of...

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  • Green country

    Before my visiting there I had very wrong perception about Uganda! There are so many predjudices regarding Africa and its landscapes, I was almost convinced it is dry country and mostly covered by the desert areas. Uganda, surprisingly, is extremelly green country and has a very rich soil. It has very huge potentials in the agriculture, especially...

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  • local game

    This game is very popular among locals but unfortunatelly I didn't catch the name of it. It is game played by men exclusevely, never saw any women to play it. Guys usually play it around the market place and are followed by a crowd who support one or other player. Players are very skillfull and playing this game very fast. They told me it's the...

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  • Girls

    Don't be surprised if girl is approaching to you when alone out on the streets, offering to show you around. Majority of them are ordinary girls, mostly students at the local univesity, whos idea is to get free lunch or small pocket money. They are usually very polite and kind and never crossing the line of good behaving. If company was enjoyable...

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  • Police arrogancy - Act two

    This car, although droven by its owner, were violently pushed from the middle of the street and crashed into another car parked aside the street. The owner complained to the people around that was blamed by the police for causing this accident, although it was evident that he had nothing to do with it!When the police officer saw me with my camera...

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  • Police arrogancy - Act one

    The first armoured police vehicle smashed this pick-up truck. According to the round standing eye witnesses and their comments, the police car drove fast and in a very arrogant way although it is a market place full of people and parked cars. I couldn't understand what they were talking about but the police officers were extremelly harsh blaming...

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  • Police arrogancy - hope it was news of a...

    I didn't follow tv program in Uganda, cannot say wheter this accident was news of a day on a local network, however, have read newspapers the next day. Belive it or not, there was short article on a front page with no details about the accident and, without any picture.Why I am telling this? While I was taking this pictures a guy dressed in a...

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  • THE FLAG OF UGANDA

    The very colourful flag of Uganda is one of the most striking national flags of the world. It is comprised of 2 stripes each of Black, Yellow and Red and Red with a crested crane in full colour on a white disk in the middle. Black represents the African people, Yellow stands for sunshine and the Red symbolizes the brotherhood of man. The 3 colours...

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  • Flip flops/slippers/thongs

    Ugandans have a real thing about shoes and I don't just mean that Ugandan men like wearing elaborately pointy things. Ugandan friends have told me that slippers should only be warn in the bathroom. The wearing of slippers/flip flops/ thongs in the street is really frowned upon by Ugandans especially in the towns and cities. I’m not sure where this...

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  • Drink an Obama

    Senator lager is produced in East Africa and aimed at the cheaper end of the market. The beer appeared on the market around 2004 just as some chap in Illinois with a Kenyan dad became Senator there. Now not surprisingly a beer called President is available. The nice cool bottle you see in the photo cost me all of 1200 UGX at a shop cum bar in...

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  • Muzungu direct translates English...

    Mazungu is the term for English speaking person, derived from the fact the the language we speak is named Luzungu. I love how the kids shout out muzungu by... I guess one thing to rememmber in this culture is that it is always custom to greet everyone in the room when you enter, and never forget to greet anyone you know who you may see on the road...

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  • Manicure

    You don’t have to go far in any Ugandan town before you come across a group of young men armed with a small basket full of their tools of the trade; nail clippers, files, assorted abrasive pads and a hotchpotch of different coloured nail varnish. These young men (always men) that will cut file scrub and paint your finger and toe nails for a...

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  • CLIMATE

    Uganda sits right on top of the Equator. That makes it hot every day of the year. Every day. Because Uganda is mountainous the temperature can vary a little bit. The highlands o the South West experience a cooler average temperature of 16° C while the North East temperatures exceeding 30° C about 254 days per year! Except for the North East corner...

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  • A POT OF COFFEE

    This is a great local custom. If you order a cup of coffee in Uganda, they bring you a little pot of coffee that holds about 3 cups. The prices are reasonably low so this is a great idea that just keeps getting better. The coffee? Gorgeous. They grow it here. I didn’t see any of those high-priced coffee multi-national chains and I hope they never...

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  • Cooking method

    Bananas or plantains are a staple in the Ugandan diet and can be cooked in every way possible: baked, roasted, boiled, fried,stewed, steamed, grilled. The leaves of the banana are also used to wrap food before cooking it, instead of cooking in a metal or steel pot. No washing of dirty pans!

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  • greet everyone, and watch you hands

    when in the rural areas, not greeting people is seen as very rude, and if you can do it in Luganda people get very excited it's oleyotea nnyabo for a women and oleyotea ssebo for a man... or you can just say Jebale ko, which means well done, but people say it when they pass others and do not feel like talking.Another thing i learned, is that when...

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  • Mzungu!

    If you have light-colored skin then everywhere you go in Uganda kids will call out, "Mzungu!" and run after you or your vehicle waving. Mzungu just means foreigner, or white person, and since seeing a white person in a small village is a rarity the kids are curious and want your attention. It's kind of like if Brad Pitt walked down your street at...

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  • the culutual greeting before askng...

    In uganda people will greet each other with teh exchange "hello, how are you?" t which the other responds "finen, how are you?" you can then ask for directions, advice , buy your good in the shop whatever.If you dive in with a question without this preamble it is rather rude.k

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  • Markets

    In the beginning 80’s Uganda was recovering from civil war; markets were quite poor, with not a lot of choice for the possible customers ; here in Kygorobya, south of Kasese near Lake George the women sell grated roots (taro) and you barely found other type of food on this market. Here were not the bright colours and bright smiles of African...

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  • Cattle

    In South western Uganda the Bahima shepherds keep the Long Horned Ankole Cattle ; having cattle is a sign of wealth : these cows look beautiful to me, and herds like this one, were not a common view in the 80’s.

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  • Don't wear flip-flops!

    For those of us from the West, wearing flip-flops (or "slippers") while out and about is perfectly acceptable. In Uganda, however, these are only appropriate for use at home, inside. When Westerners wear flip-flops out in Kampala, they look underdressed - kind of like wearing your pajamas outside. Please remember that Ugandans (especially in...

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  • Matoke

    There are 7-8 different species of banana here in Uganda, the most common being the plantain-like vegetable called matoke. Plantains are more starchy than sweet and must be cooked before being eaten. They are a staple crop in much of Africa, and are served boiled, steamed, baked, or fried. Robert explained that Uganda also have another plantain...

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  • Carry your shopping on your head.

    We see many women carrying laundry baskets on their heads today, must be wash day. A little further on, it is bricks they carry on their heads, then later firewood.

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  • After Kneeling

    After kneeling down to greet granny, she then invites you to sit on her lap like a baby. especially when one has been away for a long time. Its a loving gesture which girls are very fond. Tell you what i was home lately and guess what? Yes i did and i loved it.

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  • Kneeling instead of Bowing

    In Uganda we girls kneel when we´re greeting elders, or delivering something to them. Just like they bow in Japan. Its just a sign of respect but not fear. Once upon a time as i was at high school, a relative of mine and a friend went to visit my great aunt who was leaving near our school. She was just working in the banana plantation and so we...

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  • visit katwe salt lake at q.e.n.p.

    have a watch at local salt productionAlthough Lake Katwe Salt Project has taken long without bearing fruits, it has significantly contributed to the welfare of the local people involved in mining. Agricultural production is high owing to the rich soils and reliable rainfall. But lack of proper information about markets denies farmers the...

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  • Road Side Shopping for Fresh Food

    No matter if you are driving your own vehicle or going by pubil transport, there will be people in the street wanting to sell you foods and drinks. This can be quite practical. Sometimes you can buy big portions of fruits to take home or just a snack on the way (meat, roasted bananas, cookies, peanuts, candy, sodas,...).Tlapia fish, freshly caught...

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  • Local Dances

    Traditional Ugandan music, with a lot of drums is obviously very loud and rythmical and people dance at their best!This was a performance group at Mweya Lodge (Queen Elizabeth N.P.) to the honor of a bunch of African ministers who stayed there.

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  • Ankole Cattle

    Those cows with their huge horns that go to the side look quite dangerous, but are very friendly :-) They are the major food and income source in many regions of the country. People drink A LOT of milk and safe-made yoghurt. Later the cow might end up as beef stew as well...

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  • Matoke

    Matoke is a type of green banana that doesn't turn yellow and cannot be eaten raw. In some regions people eat it every day as a main dish. It tastes just like potatos!!

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  • Local Food

    This is what I ate every day in the hospital canteen (there were some more choices, but this was the best): Matoke and Posho with groundnut sauce! They serve enormous portions for lunch...Matoke = cooked bananas that taste like potatoesPosho = the white stuff, It's made out of corn

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  • "Mzungu, Mzungu!"

    Whites are called "Mzungu". People will use it like a name when talking to you in the streets: "Hi Mzungu, howayou?", "Mzungu, taxi?" and especially in rural areas you will see kids waving and shouting out "Mzungu! Mzungu!" from every direction.It's just a descriptive term without any (negative) assessment.However, I sometimes found it quite...

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  • The natural mix

    Make it a point to experience Ugandas´ multidimensional culture (over 50 different tribes): dances, traditions and customs. Above all learn about Ugandas interesting revived kingdoms.

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  • Everlasting harmony

    Religious tolerance is an important part of present-day Uganda. Christians(65%,)Muslims(8%), Jews, Hindus and others live in harmony.

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  • The act of Balancing

    It is a very common practise in Southern Uganda to balance weights on the head. It begins with jags of water from the well over baskets to bunches of wood. So don´t be stunned to see people with loads on their heads.

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  • The people are friendly, but...

    The people are friendly, but that doesn't stop many of them from trying to scam you. Be aware of where you place your bags in buses and taxis (and look out for them at every stop along the way).You will probably get approached by children trying to sign up 'sponsors' for their education. Some of these are legitimate, but many of them are children...

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  • 'Uganda' (Swahili for 'Land...

    'Uganda' (Swahili for 'Land of the Ganda') was the name used by the Arab and Swahili traders on the East African coast to refer to the kingdom of Buganda, deep in the interior of Africa. These traders first arrived in Buganda in the mid-nineteenth century in search of slaves, ivory, as well as other merchandise. When the European colonialists...

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Uganda Local Customs

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