Katanga

Katanga is a slum situated on a flood plain between Makerere University (one of the biggest universities in East Africa) and Mulago Hospital (a significant government hospital in Kampala). Katanga is home to 20,000 people, living in wood, mud and brick homes. Slim channels weave between these structures, often alongside open sewage, mostly stagnant until heavy rains and the subsequent floods come to disperse the sewage throughout the pathways and, not uncommonly, in residents' homes.   

There is a great sense of community here. Lots of small businesses selling fruit and veg, porridge, rice and beans, chapati and omelette; there are gyms, cinemas, mechanics, hairdressers, tailors, bakers and butchers; electrical, clothes and shoe shops, as well as those who make bricks, beds, homes and coffins. Almost everyone works out the front of their homes, speaking, arguing with their neighbours and customers, multiple sound systems with a heavy beat providing a layered soundtrack to each corner of Katanga, and medley of foods creating a unique aroma throughout the day and late into the evening. There are people drinking the local Waragi spirit, a bottle of soda or black tea. There is plenty of joy, parents laughing, children chasing each other and parents and children alike playing various board games. This is Katanga. There are plenty of people who want to move away from the crime, the sewage, and the negative lures for their children, but there are plenty who see Katanga as their home, their friends, and their community. They wouldn’t want to move away but instead want to see Katanga become a better home.