It is over a year after a fire destroyed Kampala’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient Kasubi Tombs of the Buganda Kingdom, did reconstruction finally go underway earlier this week.
Kasubi, where four of the former kings of Buganda have been laid to rest, was also featuring priceless artefacts and art collections which were on display and burned to ashes together with the huge thatched dome which dominated the site.
The cost, thought to be ultimately in the several million US Dollars range, will be met through a contribution of UNESCO but also collections given to the fund government set up to assist in the rebuilding of the prized heritage site which upon completion is expected to draw in even more visitors than before.Uganda Central government has pledged funding towards the reconstruction, which will – when completed – see a range of better facilities for visitors established including a perimeter wall, paved parking and new outbuildings, while the tomb structure itself will be as close a ‘replica’ as is possible, though with the latest fire prevention systems installed. Exhibits and artefacts lost will be partly replaced from the kingdom’s collections kept elsewhere, as well as from items donated by well wishers, to give the ‘new Kasubi’ as authentic a look as will be possible.
Tour operators in Kampala have expressed their regret over the loss of the site for their city tours, as many tourists were keen to get an insight into the ancient customs of the kingdom and vowed to include Kasubi again in their sightseeing tours just as soon as it has re-opened. No exact timeframe was given as yet by the contractors or kingdom officials how long work will take.
The cause of the fire (16th March 2010) has not been conclusively established inspite of a commission of enquiry investigating the blaze and immediate aftermath of it and no prosecutions have so far been brought to court in the absence of clear evidence as to culpability and individual responsibility for the fire.
Compiled by Jackie