Uganda is situated in East Africa and takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, which encompasses a large portion of the south of the country, including the capital Kampala.
Much of the south of the country is heavily influenced by Lake Nalubaale or Lake Victoria, which contains many islands. It is the source of the Nile and is the largest tropical lake in the world.
During his 1907 visit Winston Churchill said of Uganda “For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa”. It gained independence from Britain in 1962 as a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. In 1963, Uganda became a republic but maintained its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.
Idi Amin ruled Uganda from 1971 until 1979. He carried out mass killings within the country and an estimated 300,000 Ugandans lost their lives during his regime. Amin’s rule was characterised by human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement.
Uganda is home to the endangered mountain gorillas. As of September 2016, the estimated number remaining is about 880 and they are found in Bwindi National Park in Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Ugandan cuisine consists of traditional and modern cooking styles, practices, foods and dishes. Main dishes usually consist of a sauce or stew with groundnuts, beans or meat. Recipes I came across included Ugali (maize porridge), Matooke (mashed plantains), Luwombo (meat stew) and Nsenene (pan fried grasshoppers). I made Sim Sim Cookies (sesame seed biscuits) which were very sweet, but tasty.
Makes 10 – 12
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cooling time: 2 hours
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sesame seeds
Heat together over a low temperature until the sugar liquefies. Keep an eye on it constantly and stir it gently to bring it together
Be careful not to let the mixture cook too long, or the cookies will be too brittle
Pour the hot mixture onto a flat, greased surface. Work quickly to pat or roll the hot mixture into a flat sheet, approximately 1/4 inch thick
Cool until warm to the touch, but not hot and slice into squares
Separate the square cookies and remove them to another surface to continue cooling