Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fighting for the aesthetic supremacy

The leadership of the church I belong to is stressed. Kampala Pentecostal Church has embarked on a frenzied drive to construct a new ultra modern showpiece. What they are going to do is basically extend the area of the existing church.

There will probably be diversions of the roads around the former cinema and we might have to find alternative routes to the flats, me thinks. The church will have an underground parking lot and it will rise many floors into the air.

All this is on program to come to fruition by the end of two years. This year, we are collecting money. Our theme for the year is “It Is Time To Build.” The faithful are pledging all sorts of amounts in all currencies and the leadership of the church has pressed it on us that this is the time to do this. It might be kinda sudden for us but apparently, Ps. Skinner and his friends have been praying about this for some time and they have got the go-ahead.


Lifting up holy hands

Things might sound clear or obvious until one looks across the city to Old Kampala. There is a new sight rising that side and if it is not the central reason we are going to have a new multi billion shilling church in the midst of the city, it definitely has some bearing. It is called National Mosque Kampala.

The Leaning Tower of Old Kampala, which had for long been an example of bad architecture (people said it was Iddi Amin’s legacy to his religion: a failure in matters spiritual and so a failure in matters architectural). Those who grew up in the Indian houses of Bakuli or Old Kampala had their childhood memories wound around the tower.


No longer about to fall


It was an attempt to build a mosque but it stalled and remained derelict for decades. Until Col. Muammar Gaddafi came around with his money sacks and said “let there be a new kick-ass mosque” and sure enough, there is a new mosque taking shape. And the tower? It has been transformed into a beautiful new thing. The whole project, which covers the whole hill, is still a work-in-progress but it is eye-catching already.

Looking at National Mosque from town, one can have a fair idea what it will be like when completed. It is going to be one of the wonders of dusty old Kampala. Anyone who is involved in competition with the A-rabs will look at it and immediately see the religio-political issues underneath. And if you are affiliated to one of the fastest growing churches in the land, you want to fight this to the death.

KPC is not going to build just on the central site. They are going to build up the Kisaasi site as well and the work will be simultaneous. Something tells me that even if the church members don’t contribute the chizzy, the project must go on by any means possible. Already, the guys who constructed the American embassy have been commissioned to do the work. This is serious business.

Whatever happens, one thing is for certain: Kampala is sure going to look a lot different in five years. Maybe the Krishna guys will also take up the challenge and the Greek Orthodox guys’ll follow them.

2 Comments:

Blogger Degstar said...

me i'm sending my dime to the people who run the organisation dedicated to restoring and preserving the original buildings of Old Kampala. all this modernism in construction is not only a disservice to our heritage but is also a damn eyesore.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Degstar said...

u conspiracy theorist u.

8:22 AM  

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