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South Africa


Uganda Video Audio Reviews

Uganda got her independence on 10th October 1962. It is located in East Africa and lies across the equator. Due to its relatively high altitude, the mean annual temperature in most parts of the country ranges from 16°C to 30°C. Although more than 40 languages are spoken in Uganda, Luganda, Atesot, Runyakitara, and Luo are the main languages spoken in the four political regions, that is, in Central (Buganda), Eastern, Northern, and Western Uganda respectively. The population of Uganda has tremendously increased from 9.5 million in 1969 to 30.7 million in 2009, with a fertility rate of 6.7 births per woman. The literacy rate was estimated to be 57% in 2009 and is expected to increase because of the government’s new policy of free primary and secondary education.

English was first introduced in Uganda by missionaries in 1877 and later by the British administration, when the Buganda kingdom and other communities that make up Uganda became a British Protectorate in 1894. It was used as a lingua franca and as the language of the elite during the colonial era. At independence, it was declared the official language of the country, a status it has maintained to the present day.

The constitution of Uganda declares English the sole official language of parliamentary debates, procedure, and government transactions. It is also the medium of instruction at all levels of education, except for the first four years of primary education in rural areas, where is it taught as a subject.


Commonwealth monument Kampala
©Jude Ssempuuma, 2008

Today, English is used in domains that were earlier ascribed to indigenous languages, in Kampala (capital city), for instance, and in other urban areas, English, or code-switching between English and the different indigenous languages, is becoming the language used in homes.

Bukalasa seminary Uganda
Bukalasa Seminary
©Jude Ssempuuma, 2008

In addition, the Ugandan music and film industry is producing songs, plays and movies in the English language, such as Hidden Truth, The Honourable 2008, and Dangerous Desire.Ugandan English (UgE) is influenced by indigenous languages, most especially by the Luganda language.

Characteristics of UgE include intonation and direct translation of indigenous Ugandan language lexis into English. The Luganda word "obuze", for example, is directly translated into English as "lost" in an expression like "you are lost", which means “I have not seen you for a long time”.

Here, you can listen to this text being read in Ugandan English.

Reviews of available literature on books dealing with this English variety can be found here

© Jude Ssempuuma


Official government site of Uganda

Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (TV)

The Weekly Observer (Newspaper)

The Independent (Newspaper)

Beat FM Kampala (Radio)



© Christiane Meierkord
and individual reviewers