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Katwe is located in Kampala
Map of Kampala showing the location of Katwe.
Coordinates: 00°17′48″N 32°34′32″E / 0.29667°N 32.57556°E / 0.29667; 32.57556
Country Uganda
RegionCentral Uganda
DistrictKampala Capital City Authority
DivisionMakindye Division
1,190 m (3,900 ft)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Katwe is an area in the city of Kampala, Uganda's capital.


Katwe, located in Makindye Division,[1] is bordered by Nakasero to the north, Nsambya to the east, Kibuye and Makindye to the southeast, Ndeeba to the south and Mengo to the west. The road distance between Kampala's central business district and Katwe is approximately 3 kilometres (1.9 mi).[2] The coordinates of Ndeeba are:0°17'48.0"N, 32°34'32.0"E (Latitude:0.296667; Longitude:32.575556).[3]


At the time of Uganda's Independence from Britain in 1962, Katwe was a center of African ingenuity, where artisans, craftsmen and technicians repaired imported electronics, automobiles, televisions, refrigerators and all kinds of appliances.[4] The more ingenious of these craftsmen would improvise and "manufacture" imitations of the original articles. The Baganda, an ethnic group in Uganda call such improvised articles Magezi ga Baganda (Wisdom of Baganda). Over the next half a century, that ingenuity has sharpened, the industry has thrived and taken in more apprentices and the range of articles locally manufactured has increased. In 2007, it was estimated that Katwe employed over 3,000 artisans and metal fabricators in over 800 individual small enterprises. The Katwe artisans now collaborate with Makerere University's Faculty of Technology, to take their industry to the next level.[5] Another group that has been traditionally attracted to Katwe are entrepreneurs and independent businesspeople, starting from meager beginnings, who have been viewed as "risky" by Uganda's conservative banking industry. These have included cooked food vendors, wholesalers of local foodstuffs, herbalists and owners of small transportation companies. One such an entrepreneur is Namutebi, a herbalist and owner of a transportation company. Despite her lack of formal education and young age (33 years in 2007), her estimated net worth was in the seven-figure range (in US$).[6] Other businesspeople who have come to Katwe include vendors of second-hand electronics, and sellers of scrap goods and previously-owned merchandise.[7]

Katwe has also attracted young men and women, with little education and practical skills who have resorted to all manner of crime, ranging from prostitution and petty thievery to armed robbery and murder. Katwe remains one of the highest crime-ridden areas in Kampala.[8][9] Politicians and community leaders have blamed the high crime rate to high unemployment and rampant use of recreational drugs, but lasting solutions to the problem remain elusive.[10]

The residential areas of Katwe have been a slum, right from when human habitation started to appear along the railway tracks leading from Kampala to Kasese in the first half of the 20th century. However, starting around 2007, respectable office space started to appear on Katwe's main streets. Quality Chemical Industries Limited, a Ugandan pharmaceutical manufacturer has its head office at Quality Chemicals House, in Katwe. Equity Bank maintains its headquarters in the area, having acquired Uganda Microfinance Limited which had established its headquarters there in August 2007.[11] Subsequently, other reputable businesses, including Orient Bank, Tropical Bank, Stanbic Bank, Bank of Africa and Airtel Telecom, are moving into the area, turning the former slum into a respectable business zone, one building at a time.[12]

Points of interest[edit]

The following points of interest lie within or near Katwe:

Cultural References[edit]

The background of the story in the 2016 movie Queen of Katwe starring David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o, is set in Katwe.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kato, Joshua (18 July 2007). "Why Kampala Divisions Want Municipality Status". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Map Showing Kampala And Katwe With Distance Marker". Globefeed.com. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  3. ^ Google, . "Location of Katwe At Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  4. ^ Ikwap, Emma (10 July 2013). "Know Your Hood : Katwe, Famous for Its African Metallic Artistry". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  5. ^ Vision, Reporter (22 February 2007). "Katwe Artisans Link Up With Makerere". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  6. ^ Basudde, Elvis (26 March 2006). "Namutebi, Chief of The Spirits". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  7. ^ Okello, Raphael (8 December 2006). "Earn From Household Scrap". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  8. ^ Ssempogo, Herbert (12 January 2006). "Over Sh39 Billion Lost In Crime". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  9. ^ Businge, Conan (22 July 2007). "Over 50 Arrested In Katwe". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  10. ^ Businge, Conan (10 August 2007). "Why Katwe Is A Crime Den". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  11. ^ Nsambu, Jean-Marie (21 August 2007). "Uganda Microfinance Goes to Katwe". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  12. ^ Katende, Jude (2 May 2008). "Katwe: From Den of Thieves to Modern Business Centre". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  13. ^ Kareire, Pidson (27 January 2005). "My Visit to The Shrine". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  14. ^ Newvision, Archive (31 March 2005). "Pastor Muwonge Launches Album". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  15. ^ Balagadde, Samuel (29 May 2005). "Mengo, Church In Land Wrangle". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  16. ^ Kironde II, Kadumukasa (5 May 2005). "Nalongo's Serves Big Portions". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  17. ^ Newvision, Archive (22 March 2006). "Celtel Donates to UPE Schools". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  18. ^ Serunjogi, Titus (31 January 2008). "If You Cannot Buy It, Rent It". New Vision. Retrieved 16 June 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 00°17′48″N 32°34′32″E / 0.29667°N 32.57556°E / 0.29667; 32.57556