When you talk of Makindye, what comes to the minds of most people are the many hangouts that are almost one step, if not even closer, away from each other. These, however, are on the lower side of Makindye that stretches from Kibuye to the military Police barracks on either sides of the road.

However, when you cross into the upper side of Makindye, Luwafu, which stretches from Makindye Magistrates Court to Kulekana, you find a quiet part of the neighbourhood.

Located about eight kilometres from the city centre, which is approximately a 15 to 20 minutes’ drive without traffic jam, Luwafu sits on gently sloping landscape, overlooking Masajja Hill and Lake Victoria.

Unlike some parts of Kampala that hardly have any vegetation, Luwafu is gifted with trees. Many of them are located on the hilltop at Kizungu, while others are scattered in resident’s compounds as you go downhill.
There is equally vegetation along Luwafu Road that runs from Makindye Market to Kulekana stage.

Cost of living
Francis Semakula, who has been a resident of Luwafu since his childhood, says the cost of living in the area has been steadily increasing year after year. This, he says, is because of Luwafu’s proximity to the city centre. It is also a quiet place compared to the lower side of Makindye that has many bars.

“In 2008, a two-roomed self-contained house would cost you between Shs200,000 to Shs300,000 for rent. But today, the cost of renting the same house has almost doubled. Wazungu (White residents) love staying on Kizungu Hill because it has fresh air and overlooks Lake Victoria. It explains why the cost of rent especially for residential houses has gone up,” Semakula says.

Rent
Currently, renting a residential house in the area costs between Shs600,000 to Shs1.5m but this is determined by among other factors, its location, easy access from the main road and whether it is surrounded by a perimeter fence.
The cost of land in Luwafu has also gone up. A 50x50 feet plot of land costs between Shs20m to Shs35m and a 50x100 feet plot of land will cost you between Shs30m and Shs60m.

As far as the cost of food items is concerned, Sheila Najjuuko, a resident of Luwafu, reasons that the presence of Makindye market, a number of scattered food stalls and retail shops makes the cost of living, apart from rent affordable.

There, she says, a bunch of bananas costs between Shs9,000 and Shs20,000 depending on its size while the cost of other foodstuff such as tomatoes and irish potatoes, is determined by one’s bargaining power.

Abdu Mpiima, who has lived in Luwafu for the past 40 years, says in the early 1990s.
Residences in Luwafu were scattered.

Mpiima recalls that it was around 1998 when the area started experiencing growth in population not only in residents, but also in the number of houses that were being constructed.
This also came along with developments such as Crested Secondary School that has over the years engineered education in Makindye Division.

“As more people settled here, it created a social services gap that was not attended to. With time, schools were built and a number of health facilities also came up. These developments meant that the area had to develop by all means,” Mpiima recalls, adding that when Luwafu Road was tarmacked, the development doubled.

Security of the area
Much as Luwafu is fairly quiet, Carol Mbatudde, a who has lived there for seven years, says security of residents and their property is their own responsibility. She says Kibuye police station, which runs Luwafu, is quite a distance from the area, making the area vulnerable to a number of crimes such as robbery.
“As residents, we have tried to maintain and keep our own security using the local leadership. When you hear an alarm from your neighbour, you run quickly to their rescue. It is on rare occasions that you get to see a police pickup truck patrolling in the night and rarely during the day,” Mbatudde explains.

rnasasira@ug.nationmedia.com