Sir Apolo Kaggwa, the Katikkiro of Buganda from 1890 to 1926 was one of the most consequential leaders of the Twentieth Century. Ham Mukasa, his personal secretary, was one of the earliest people to receive formal education by the British. When he accompanied the Katikkiro to attend the coronation of King Edward VII of Britain in 1902, Mukasa kept extensive notes of his observations and the Katikkiro’s travels and activities in England.

He wrote his original account in Luganda, which was translated into English by Ernest Millar and published in 1904 under the title: Uganda’s Katikkiro in England: being the official account of his visit to the coronation of His Majesty King Edward VII.

The copy I have is a 1976 reprint, edited by Taban Lo Liyong. It is a fascinating account of the journey of these Baganda envoys, written by a man who not only admired his hosts but, together with his Katikkiro, sought ideas that they hoped would uplift the standard of their kingdom.

Lo Liyong’s Introduction was criticised for its inaccurate interpretation of what Mukasa had written. Without the benefit of reading both the Luganda and the original English version, I cannot comment on that controversy. What is clear is Mukasa’s gift of observation, documentation and communication. This is an essential book for connoisseurs of Uganda’s formative years.

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