In 2020, around 781,400 Ugandans lived outside the country. If you’re one of them, you may wonder how you can best spend Ugandan Independence Day this year.
It may be easier for Ugandans in Kenya or South Sudan to take a trip back home. For Ugandans living in other African countries, the pan-African joy of independence will be easily understood. But many Ugandans also make their home in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and the countries in Southwest Asia.
Uganda’s national day is not a public holiday in any other country. Still, it’s possible to have a festive celebration this Independence Day. Get all the essential facts about Uganda’s Independence Day, plus information on celebrating worldwide.
Ugandan Independence Day: Essential Guide
Here’s a quick refresher on the history of Uganda’s independence from the British.
As a British protectorate, Uganda had been somewhat self-governed, but heavy financial burdens and foreign interference in their internal affairs caused tension. As a result, different political factions joined together to protest against British rule and promote an independent state.
On October 9th, 1962, Uganda gained its independence from colonial rule and became a republic. The following November, Sir Edward Mutesa II, “kabaka” (king) of the kingdom of Buganda, was elected ceremonial President of Uganda.
The political situation in the new country of Uganda was volatile, and years of power struggles ensued, along with the infamous dictatorship of Idi Amin. It wasn’t until 2005 that the people of Uganda voted to implement multi-party elections. Thankfully, this has resulted in relative peace and stability.
Despite this tumultuous history, Ugandans are rightfully proud of their independence, which brought freedom from colonial rule. Unlike many other independence movements, Ugandan independence did not involve bloody battles. Instead, the people were able to advocate for themselves and pressure the British government into accepting the country’s sovereignty.
How to celebrate Uganda’s Independence Day
Within Uganda, October 9th is marked by a large military parade, speeches, and other ceremony. The original Independence Day took place in Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, Kampala, but the celebrations now occur in different locations annually.
Even if you are far from home, it’s possible to commemorate the day and honor your national heritage. For starters, try:
- Watching the military parade in Uganda
- Raising the Ugandan flag at your home
- Looking up the video of the original independence ceremony
To further your celebrations, enjoy traditional song, food, drink, and more. Why not introduce your neighbors to Ugandan favorites like matoke or luwombo? Cap off the festivities with Uganda Waragi gin and a few fireworks. Ugandan pop music, kidandali (band music), dance hall, or traditional songs make a great backdrop.
You may want to watch films based on Ugandan history, like The Last King of Scotland, Uganda Rising, or Mukajanga. And then there are light-hearted cult classics like That’s Life, Mwattu! Or you may want to binge on crime-thrillers like Murder in the City. Ugandan cinema has grown over the years, and with several streaming services, you should be able to find your favorites.
Getting together with other Ugandans is one of the best ways to feel close to your culture. Since the pandemic, many families have celebrated together through virtual meetings. Locally, Ugandan associations and other groups might host events.
Celebrating in the USA
Several national and local Ugandan associations may host Independence Day events. Two large organizations to follow are the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) and the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in DC.
You can also easily find groceries for cooking your favorite meals. The Pearl of Africa Store, located in Massachusetts, offers food, jewelry, beauty products, books, and more. If you don’t have a local African goods store, it’s easy to purchase many items online—even special ingredients.
Celebrating in the UK
Associations in the United Kingdom aren’t as generalized as in the US. But many organizations still may host events, from the Uganda Community Relief Association to the Uganda Church Association and university-centric groups, such as the Ugandan Society in Huddersfield.
As for getting your favorite snacks and ingredients for an authentic meal, there are many local supermarkets and online shops like the Owino Supermarket.
Celebrating in Kenya
Many Ugandans live in the bordering country of Kenya. Not only can you find festive and fun Uganda Independence Day celebrations in Nairobi, but you can find a host of restaurants and stores that carry Ugandan goods.
Keep an eye on the Ugandan Embassy in Kenya website for additional events and information.
Happy Independence Day from Remitly
Ugandan Independence Day isn’t just a national holiday, but a time to connect to home and culture. And to appreciate how far the people have come. From the historical Buganda Kingdom to the British to the unified and diverse country of Uganda, there is so much to celebrate.
But we also know that being far from home can be challenging. And, sometimes, you want to send something back to your family and friends. Whether that’s as a small gift or just to help out.
With Remitly, you can securely and quickly send funds to your family and friends in Uganda. And your loved ones can receive your gift however it’s convenient — in their bank account, as a cash pickup, or in their mobile wallet.
Learn more about sending money home to Uganda with Remitly’s mobile app. Then kick back and enjoy the national day.