One Grandmother for Everybody

So you didn’t have to worry if you never had one.
I was partly raised by my Grandma until I was in primary 5, unfortunately she didn’t live long to get photographed by her favourite grandchild, she actually named me (Papa), does that hint on how much was spoiling me? I dedicate this blogpost to her Life and all the grandmothers in the world.

African grandmothers will always have your back; they always get you covered! They will call you by every kind of sweet names, spoil you with way too many favors and would grant you as much edibles as you weren’t able to carry (then I started using my shirt as a basket). Tropical fruits for my childhood case, and grandmothers would always provide a place to hide until your Mama’s temper cooled down or even better would negotiate for your forgiveness. Way too many memories.


Abuba was one of those sweet grandmothers and she still is. (Abuba) is a Nubian word for Grandma, she is the only surviving elder of her generation in the whole village. Her parents were apart of a huge movement of Swahili speaking people who migrated from Tanganyika (present Tz) into Uganda via the Southern border of Uganda before 1900 and settled in Mbarara, at place that came to be known as ‘‘Kiswahili’’.





Just that you also know; In Africa, a child is raised by the whole village (community). Even though this tradition is fading away with time, it is still everyone’s responsibility to watch children’s behavior as they grow up. When we the 90’s kids were growing up, this was more like the (neighborhood watch), you would get your behind whipped, get reported to your parents or even disciplined you accordingly by anyone older than you. My European friends laughed at this and questioned me about who gives who authority, I bet this wouldn’t work in so many parts of the world.

Roundabout 180
Nyakaizi cell- Kakoba Round-about, this is a township that Abuba witnessed come into existence. She knows its stories, and this township knows bit of my childhood memories.

Well, Africa to the world.

Published by PAPASHOTIT

Artist statement; Papa Shabani is a photographer whose Contemporary Art practice involves research, intimacy, expression and communication as a process of documenting life. Award winning East African (Ugandan native) photographer working and living in Kampala.

5 thoughts on “One Grandmother for Everybody

  1. Beautiful story Papa.To add on, Abuba’s father (Mwinyihijja) migrated from Tanga (Tz)from a small village called Mwarongo ya Ng’ambu, Tongoni ward,Pongwe division and Tanga district.Her father came as a surveyor and eventually settled in Mbarara in a place that was named “Kiswahili” because People the people there were speaking Kiswahili.

    1. Dear Award, thanks for this information. It isn’t surprising that you know this much already, I wish there is a establishment of family link ties between our Kakoba and Tanga families.

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