DID YOU KNOW? Upscale Kololo In Kampala City Got Its Name From Incarcerated Acholi Chief


By Markson Omagor


On Thursday 11th of July, 2019 while sipping from a common pot of Ajon, a local potent drink with natives of Kalongo in Agago District, the topic of Kololo came up.

We were discussing different topics ranging from the coming of the colonialists and African resistance to Colonialism to the negative effects of Christianity on African Culture as is common in any Ajon (Malwa) sitting, then one member by the names of Ogwok revealed that Acholi were active in resisting Colonial rule in Uganda just as was Kabalega of Bunyoro.

In his revelation was the fact that Kololo is a Luo word meaning ‘am alone.’

According to Ogwok, Chief Awich of Payira was one of such brave sons of Acholi who resisted colonial rule. As a result Chief Awich sometimes called Awichu was arrested by the colonialists and incarcerated in Kololo which was at the time a forest.

Because Chief Awich was considered very dangerous he was imprisoned in the forested Kololo away from other prisoners. In exasperation, Chief Awich is said to have cried out in Luo, “An atye kany kololo”, which means “I am here alone.”

When I googled the following morning to confirm the historical narrative of my friend Ogwok, I found that Dr. Martin Aliker had spoken to the Daily Monitor in 2013 about the same incident and here is what he said.

” According to Dr Martin Aliker, one of the earliest occupants and longest staying residents of Kololo, a story is told that at the height of the British rule in Uganda, Rwot Awich and Kabalega of Bunyoro vigorously resisted the British rule in the early 19th Century.


Chief Awich was arrested and brought to Kampala. He was incarcerated on top of Kololo, which was a great wilderness at the time. Aliker narrates that Awich is alleged to have cried out in Luo, “An atye kany kololo”, which means “I am here alone.” Awich was lamenting over the fact that he had been left alone in the wilderness, miles away from home. His captors and the Baganda started calling the place the hill of Kololo. Before long everybody called the hill Kololo.

But it’s a fact that Awich was incarcerated on top Kololo Hill at the beginning of the last century when the British had established their rule in Uganda,” Dr. Aliker says.


Development in Kololo

Development in Kololo started in mid-1950s. Before that, all European civil servants and expatriates lived in Nakasero. However, it became crowded and the government at that time moved some civil servants to Kololo. “The buildings on Upper Kololo Terrace were meant for only European expatriates. At the same time, they sold some plots to private individual- expatriates mostly and a few Asians. Ugandans were not housed there,” Dr Aliker says.

Today Kololo is definitely a rich man’s slum it is a place for the wealthy and people who attained successful status a long time ago. It is home to many big shots in the country, housing most diplomats and diplomatic organisations from different countries. In its early years, Kololo Hill became the home of colonial officials and civil servants. Today it is one of the best planned, with a good road network and beautiful houses with large well-trimmed lawns.


Kololo is one of the seven hills of Kampala standing at a height of 4,305 feet. It commands a stunning view of the city and Lake Victoria. It can be accessed from different directions of Kampala. To the east, it is bordered by Naguru, and Bukoto lies to its north, Mulago to the north–west, Makerere to the west, and Nakasero to the south-west. Kololo is also separated from Nakasero by a drainage that starts from Mulago and goes all the way to Lake Victoria.