Five colourful characters you’ll bump into as you explore Kampala’s streets

(Craft It’s new foreign correspondent in Kampala)

#1. The Mannequin
They sit on the public benches and open spaces, in white shirts and red neckties, dark dresses or sky-blue jeans (always blue jeans). They stare at passersby with a far way look.

Their eyes will roam from bird to tree to car. You won’t read a thing off their faces.

An ant will climb up their neck and sting them but they won’t feel it. They’ll be numb to any sensation. No body tweaks. No eye movements. No head roll. Just a blank set of eyes.

I’ve been part of these ones.

Fortunately, I moved past it.

#2. The Street Evangelist
Bible in one hand, placard reading “Jesus, Coming Soon” in the other, the street preacher speaks words of the gospel of Christ to no anyone who cares to listen. Even those not interested will listen.

Their messages touch the core of people’s earthly desires; money, marriage, jobs, health.

One told me, through the drawn window of a friend’s car as we waited in traffic, that I’d be promoted in three months. I had just moved to a new department with a different set of roles. I nodded and told him, “That would be a miracle indeed.”

#3. Disciplined Pedestrian
He’ll use the pedestrian walkway humming to A-Pass’ Didada hit and, at the traffic lights, press the button that alerts him when the light turns green. He’ll cross with untainted discipline.

This is a rarity though. Such humans of this city deserve a podium recognition, spaces at morning talk shows and exhibitions to speak to the rest of the bunch about appropriate behaviour on the road.

The rest of the undisciplined road users who deserve punishment under the traffic offences law run across with a speed that, if measured, would compete for Usain Bolt’s record.

Wrong move.

#4. Bar pickpockets
Ladies, don’t trust that seemingly friend of a friend sharing a counter with you. Keep your purse close and your drink closer.

Two things might happen if you switch off for a second. Your wallet will end up empty or your drink will get spiked, not to the point of making you black out but to the extent you’ll lose some senses and your wallet will go missing.

When these alcohol ads tell you to enjoy responsibly, it’s not only drunk driving they are pushing you away from, they are telling you to watch your wallet too.

#5. Begging hands
Rumour has it that some street children are part of an organized group of fraudsters who use the innocence of infants to play on the generosity of unsuspecting people.

These children often with scaly hair, cracked skin and dusty legs run after you, taking short strides, with palms open, asking for any amount of money for food. Food is the conversation starter.

At the end of the begging day, they deliver their earnings to a leader who makes clean untaxed money.

Remember, this is a rumour. Don’t let it kill your altruistic side. Those children need you.
Tuape blogs at

Another thief in the night
From Kampala: Who do you want to sleep with?

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