Wildlife Sculptures Bring Fresh Look to Kira Road

Steven Masaba the Director for Tourism at UWA says each sculpture shall contain information regarding a specific National Park for which it is a signature animal. For instance, the Lion known for Queen Elizabeth Park shall bare information about Queen Elizabeth park.
One of the sculptures on Kira Road wrapped in a tarpaulin

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The beautification of Kampala has been enhanced with a fresh look of wildlife sculptures placed along the streets. 

Ten of them were erected along the Kira Road stretch from Mulago, through Kamwokya to the traffic lights in Bukoto, bringing to the street’s images of the crested crane, Giraffes, Chimpanzees, Lions and Zebra’s, all of which tell the lushness of Uganda’s tourism. Others to be erected are the Leopards, Elephants, Monkeys, Cheetah's, and the Turaco. 

The artwork is a brainchild of Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA, Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA, and part of the 800 million Shillings projects to beautify and promote tourism in Kampala. It started with the erection of the Impala monument at Jubilee Park and the Mountain Gorilla at Speke Road. The Impala forms part of Uganda's heritage as the source of the name Kampala.

Steven Masaba, the Director for Tourism at Uganda Wildlife Authority says the sculptures are designed to bring the images of what Uganda's National Parks have to offer close to the people, and interest the public to visit the beauty in the parks, while those who cannot visit can also get a feel of the wildlife from within the capital, Kampala. 

Masaba says that each sculpture is designed with information about a specific National Park where it can be found. For instance, the Lion will have inscriptions about Queen Elizabeth National Park, where it is a signature animal and the Giraffes will tell the story of Murchison Falls National Park, among others. 

Visual Arts Consultant Nuwa Wamala Nnyanzi acknowledges that the wildlife statues give the road a beautiful view, but advises that it would be enhanced with plant sculptures, created with living, growing grasses, vines, plants or trees to give them a natural and wild look.  Nnyanzi says that instead of using concrete on which the sculptures sit, they should have worked with the natural ground such that the free environment is maintained.  

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Amos Wekesa a tourism promoter and managing director of Great Lakes Safaris Limited, says that while the sculptures are important, KCCA needs to have a clear plan for the City to promote it as a tourism centre. He says Kampala should be known for something; for instance, as an Entertainment City such that it can be marketed as part of the bigger tourism package. 

The Buganda Kingdom has previously erected sculptures of Buganda’s Totems along the Kabaka Anjagala Road also known as the Royal Mile that stretches from Masengere to the Palace. 

52-year-old Rose Nabweggamu of Kobe clan says it gives her joy seeing her totem on the road, adding that apart from the pride, the images are important for popularizing Buganda clans among the Baganda and people from other parts of the country.  

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But Herbert Afoshimana, a BodaBoda rider and frequent user of Kira Road sees no value in the sculptures. He says it doesn't matter to him how beautiful the roadside looks as long as he can survive. Afoshimana also says that he has no interest in visiting the parks and that the argument that the sculptures shall entice the Public to visit them is null. 

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However, Ronald Mubiru, the manager of Sports, Recreation and Tourism Development at KCCA says that they are also putting up a tourism resource centre at the Lions Bar building at Jubilee Park to promote the City as a tourism destination.

Mubiru says the centre will have artefacts and works that tell the Ugandan story and market different products of the country. It will contain information about the tourism resources of Uganda, literature and information on booking for people who might want to tour the country.

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