Letters from Sonja: Buziga
About Buziga and the "King of Buziga".
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First published: September 20, 2005
When we moved to Buziga, there were seven houses on Buziga Hill. When we left, there were fifteen. The first building that was erected on Buziga Hill was what was later the so called "boys quarters" to our house, Nr. 13, Buziga Hill. This accommodation for the people working for us, was originally built by Mr. Radford as his home, until our house was completed and in which the Radfords lived from then on. This must have been around 1949/1950. Mr. Radford then built a new house for himself, which was a big mansion on top of the hill. He later built yet another house for himself, much smaller but with a kidney-shaped swimming pool and a tennis court. The top of the hill was flattened, so that this new house was more or less on the same level as his former big mansion, only a little bit away from it.
The big mansion was divided into two apartments and rented to Cooper Motors. The storekeeper, Mr. Hymas, and his family were living in one part and in the other part, a car sales man Mr. Evans was living.
Going down the hill on the side looking towards the lake – that was the only side that had buildings in those days – there was a very nice house, which belonged to the Browns. Mr. Leo Brown was a director of East African Railways and Harbours. Their house had a beautiful garden and also a swimming pool as well as a little house for Mrs. Brown's many cats.
The next building was our house, which was in a very desolate state.
Next to us, again going downhill was a simple house that belonged to Mr. McCully-Hunter. He was a land-surveyor and, I think, a member of the Legislative Council. Then the road made a big bend and in this bend was a big house that belonged to Baumann's. The Hitchens family lived in this house. Mr. Hitchens was a director of Baumann's Cotton and the boss of our friend Hermann Meyer.
On the opposite side of the Hitchens house was another very nice house with a beautiful view, in which first lived a couple named Unsworth with a little girl. After they left Mr. Tony Smith, manager of Fresh Foods, moved in with his family. Fresh Foods belonged to the Baumann Group and was one of the first two Supermarkets in Kampala.
Downwards, adjoining the Hitchens' house was a simple house that belonged to a Scottish Couple, Mr. and Mrs. Culvert.
Right at the bottom of the hill on the left-hand side, coming down the hill, was a small duka that belonged to Mr. Matovu and his wife, a humble Baganda couple.
Later Mr. Radford built four more houses on Buziga, three in one row and one by itself a bit further up. These houses were all on the left-hand-side, coming down the hill.
The last houses that were built while we were living on Buziga were all on the right-hand-side, coming down the hill. Towards the bottom of the hill a small house was built by a Belgian Lady.
One plot up, an Asian Lawyer built a house. A film "Mississippi Masala" was made in the US. I guess this film tells the story of this Asian lawyer, who lived on the lower part of Buziga Hill. The filming was, however, not done in his house, but in the house the Hitchens lived in. I was so surprised when I saw that film the first time on TV. I can remember exactly how Mr. Hitchens built his rock garden, which was now shown on TV. I have heard that the Indian Lady who made the film has bought this house and is spending part of the year there now.
Still a bit further up an English lawyer, Mr. Bickford-Smith, built his house. Mr. Bickford-Smith's second marriage was to an African woman. She was very well educated and extremely kind. I would be very interested to know what happened to this couple.
I hope that it is more or less correct what I wrote and that my memory did not let me down.
A bit further away along the road that leads to the lake, right in the valley there was a house, in which an English dentist, Mr. Parkinson, and his family lived. Still a little bit further towards the lake our friends, the Meyers, lived in a house that belonged, I think, to a Mr. Bemba.
And then right at the lake, of course, there was "Salama" the residence of Prince Mawanda.
Back view of the house after the kitchen and dining room were ready. The car -port which connected to a useless water storage tank, was later removed together with the tank.
I write all this, because there are many, many houses on Buziga now, but mainly on the side looking towards Kampala.
Back then; most of the plots were 2-acre plots, except I think for the later built houses of the Radfords that were rented out. The big problem on Buziga was that there was no water supply.
Mr. Radford, who was residing on top of everybody and behaved like the "King of Buziga" built a primitive water supply, with a little pump house down in the swamp and pipes going up the hill and others down again. From that pump-house, he pumped up water from Lake Victoria to his property on top of the hill. He sold the water at quite a high price to the residents on Buziga. When we had our water connected, we soon realized that the pump is constantly breaking down. So Hubert, who was an engineer, volunteered to keep that pump in good working order. For that reason he spent many hours standing in the swamp. The pump was really old!
The road going up Buziga Hill was not officially maintained. It was a very steep road. During the rains it was always in a bad condition. Mr. Radford took over the road. He employed a "road-boy" and sent the bill for the upkeep of the road to every household. To say it in short, Mr. Radford was the greatest crook I have ever met. The attached news clipping explains why.
We had very good relations with all the original people who lived on Buziga and Jackie Hitchens, who lives in Ireland now, is still my dear old friend and so are the Northcotes who later moved into the house of the McCully-Hunters. The Northcotes are now living in Zimbabwe. Mr. Northcote was a well known white-hunter.
Prince Mawanda, whom we already knew before we moved there, has been a very good friend and neighbour to us and he came to visit quite often.
The Radfords certainly were nobody's friend on Buziga. They suddenly disappeared to the Bermudas because of Income Tax irregularities. As you can see from the news cuttings, he had the guts to return to Uganda later.
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First published: September 20, 2005