Jinja, a city rich in historical properties and architectural treasures, has been the focus of a unique initiative known as the “Jinja City Historic Properties Locator Drive by Vintage Cars.” This collaborative effort by the Vintage Collectable Rotary Fellowship (VCRF) and the Cross-cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) aims to emphasize the importance of conserving Jinja’s historical legacy and promote community involvement.
Both VCRF and CCFU are charitable organizations driven by their passion for preserving history and the desire to integrate historical artifacts into our daily lives. VCRF’s extensive collection of vintage cars and rare collectables serves as a testament to their dedication to promoting tourism and its transformative potential.
The heart of their mission is to raise awareness about the value of historical properties. They challenge the conventional belief that modern cities must be dominated by high-rise buildings. Preserving a city’s historical core, they argue, not only enhances its allure but also maintains a vital connection between people and their history. This, in turn, enriches the potential for heritage tourism and contributes to cities with distinct identities.
The loss of historical sites implies a loss of our shared heritage and a risk of cities becoming indistinguishable from one another. VCRF and CCFU firmly believe that Jinja City has the potential to become Uganda’s very own “stone town.”
In 2019, with the support of the European Union, CCFU meticulously documented twelve historic buildings, sites, and monuments in Jinja City. Four of these locations, including Source Cafe, Railway Bridge, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and Madhivani Buildings, received plaques to commemorate their historical significance. The restoration of the Jinja Railway Station, dating back to 1928, and its transformation into the Uganda Railway Museum served as a prime example of how historical properties can be preserved and sustainably utilized.
This two-day locator drive, which began on October 27, was a fitting celebration of Uganda’s 61 years of independence. The event featured a vintage car drive from Kampala to Jinja, inaugurated at the Uganda Railway Corporation (URC)’s head office in Kampala by the Minister of Works and Transport. The drive included stops at selected historic properties along the Jinja-Kampala highway, such as Ham Mukasa’s museum in Mukono and the UNRA Bridge.
The participants also enjoyed a leisurely drive through the streets of Jinja City, making stops at iconic locations such as Ambercourt, Rippon Falls Hotel, Madhivani Building, and Source Cafe. The event concluded at Jinja City Hall and featured an overnight camping experience. Additionally, there was an exhibition of vintage cars for public viewing and an impressive showcase of handicrafts and collectables from community museums in the Eastern region, all hosted at the Uganda Railway Museum in Jinja City.
This unique event, organized by VCRF and CCFU, underscores the value of preserving historical treasures and embracing our shared heritage. It highlights the unique charm that historical properties bring to our cities and paves the way for a harmonious coexistence of history and modernity. This approach ensures that our past remains an integral part of our future. With a concise focus on preserving Jinja’s historical charm, VCRF and CCFU’s joint effort serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of conserving historical treasures and engaging the community in this endeavor.