Ssemagulu Royal Museum-Preserving Uganda’s Culture and History
If you are planning to visit Uganda for a vacation this coming season, expect to explore more than just wildlife. This landlocked country also boasts of its distinct historical and cultural sites which are widely distributed in different parts. And one of the most significant historical sites for you not to miss to explore its history is the Uganda’s first Prime Minister Ben Kiwanuka’s car at Ssemagulu museum. Uganda is indeed endowed with diverse history right from the pre-colonial times to the Arab trade, the arrival of the first European missionaries in 1877, to period when the country was declared a British protectorate or rather colony in 1894.
On 9th October 1962, Uganda gained her independence and after, she underwent through numerous governments prior the National Resistance Army (NRA) which is the present National Resistance Movement (NRM) that took over power in 1986 up-to-date. Exploring the Ssemagulu Royal Museum offers you opportunity to learn more about the history of Uganda especially how far it came to where it is today.
This museum lies in Mutundwe-Kampala suburb. This museum is privately owned and features a number of historical collections especially the Black Benz that featured among the car fleets that Sir Andrew Cohen-the Governor of Uganda used from 1952-1957 and many more. With a lot of history that this country boasts, visitors on safari in Africa have diversity to explore and later return when they are filled with distinct experiences. Sir Cohen is believed to have helped Uganda to self-government by increasing the Ugandan representation on the legislative council (LEGCO).
This museum is owned by John Ssemagulu who is also Deputy CEO Uganda Tourism Board (UTB). He established this historical site after four (4) years when he got capital. The name Ssemagulu was derived from the first throne of the Kabaka of Buganda that was known as Namulondo. This historical center became famous earlier this year when it rescued Uganda’s first Prime Minister Ben Kiwanuka’s car at Wakaliga police station where it had been dumped when his house and residence in Rubaga was demolished.
The Vintage black Mercedes Benz sits on its flat tires with no headlights but rich in Uganda’s history. This is one of the major historical collections which are kept at Ssemagulu royal museum. The Benz 220D model is said to have been imported to Uganda in the early 50s. This was one of the many items that were showcased by Buganda Kingdom at Lubiri Mengo where it attracted several people.
The car’s interior was vandalized by those who inherited it but due to its hidden history, it is worth preserving. This is not the only vehicle which has been rescued from the homes of formerly high profile persons in Buganda. Benedicto Kiwanuka was Uganda’s first prime minister and a leader of the Democratic Party and he was one of people who led Uganda into the transition between colonial British rule and independence.
At this museum, you will also get a cart showcased and they were driven by horses that previously were used as means of transportation especially by the affluents and royal figures in the country. During that time, motorized transport was only for the few and even costly for natives. The cart on display is said to be one of those which transported Sir Apollo Kaggwa. Kaggwa served for about 37 years in the reign of Kabaka Daudi Chwa as way to show means of transport used at a time.
Currently, this museum attracts students from various schools that come to explore more about the country’s history as well as other visitors from different parts. There are guides to take you through this historical treasure. Besides, it also features about fifty sculptures of colonialists, kings, Uganda martyrs as well as many historical figures and personalities especially from Buganda kingdom.
In conclusion, Uganda’s tourism sector is not dependent only on nature but also culture and history. This museum alone won’t benefit the owner but also the people around it once tourists pay a visit to it as some of the locals get employed as guides and later earn a living that will help them meet basic needs back at home.