Bukasa is a township within the city of Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Nobody has the actual facts about the origin of the name Bukasa but according to Robina Gulyetonda, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, the name was coined in referrence to Bukasa Island migrants who settled in the area.
Whenever the islanders arrived, the original settlers in the area, referred to them as Abe Bukasa bazze, loosely translated as “Residents of Bukasa have arrived”. The area was later gradually called Bukasa.
Twenty years ago, Bukasa was a deep village famous for growing a lot of cassava and potatoes, largely supplied to Muyenga and Kasanga residents.
Bukasa is estimated to be about 13Km from Kampala, which is a 30-minute drive. It is surrounded by Muyenga and Namuwongo. Bukasa is divided into three zones; Kyeyitabya, which has a stone quarry, Kijwa and Miyalu.
Bukasa is mainly a middle class residential neighbourhood with growing commercial outfits.
Bukasa always had a small population, but is now growing at a fast rate. It is a place that has grown from a slum into a well-established upscale residential area. Gulyetonda says new residents have greatly developed the place.
The recent construction of roads through Bukasa that connect to Namuwongo and Muyenga are the latest developments, at least the main roads have been tarmacked with street lights on though the small roads that lead to the villages have not yet been developed.
“The place lacks a well-established market and yet we have cried so much to the local government to help us construct one, but still shops, and mini supermarkets have emerged. We have no hospitals but we have at least tried to construct small clinics which have greatly helped us with health problems,” Gulyetonda says.
She is, however, thankful because the area now has a police post, which seems to have come with some security.
Bukasa has got very few primary schools with the main one being Bukasa primary school that has more than 1,000 pupils.
This school according to Gulyetonda, has helped residents educate their children at primary level. However, Bukasa does not have a single secondary school. Secondary school students from Bukasa have to move long distances to neighbouring areas to study.
There are also very many mushrooming Pentecostal churches in Bukasa.
Gulyetonda says they have safe piped water, and electricity. She adds that despite the developments, the residents have maintained their natural spring well that has been in the area for a very long time.
According to a police officer, who prefers anonymity, the security of Bukasa has developed with time.
“Way back, houses were broken into, and hit-men and car vandalisers were on rampage and other thieves were rampant. Luckily, we acquired a police post which has helped us to capture criminals who really threatened the residents. Hit-men were also many along the road especially near the stone quarry.
“They hid around there and killed a number of people, but today, police has deployed around the place securing many lives. At least patrols have been seen in the area at night prompting the thieves to run away to places like Namuwongo,” he says.
Land and Housing
Land in Bukasa is quite expensive because it is a popular residential area not far from the Central Business District of Kampala, and also close to Muyenga, which is a famous residential area for the wealthy.
Fredrick Kiniga, a broker in the area, says a plot of land of about 50 by 100, costs Shs150m and getting an acre is one of the hardest things because it is very expensive.
Also, you can not find land free on an acre because of the high population growth in the area.
Gulyetonda, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, says she bought her land that is about 100 by 100 at Shs15m, but currently, it is estimated to be Shs300m. She adds that because of the easy access to Kampala city centre, many young people starting families want to rent in the area so rentals are very expensive.
To rent a self-contained double room with a kitchen, one has to part with Shs700,000. A single self-contained room is between Shs350,000 and Shs400,000.
Social places and features
The most widely known social place that attracts people from different suburbs is the famous Ssebo Green Park, which is a good recreation centre. Other features include the famous Stone quarry at the boarder of Muyenga and Bukasa. This attracts very many people, including schools that bring students to tour the site. It has also become a place for wedding photo shoots and this has exposed the area because when you stand on one of the high points in the quarry, you get a good view of Bukasa very well.