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Why the obsession with vintage?

There is something baffling about Ugandans, especially the middle-class. Have you ever wondered why men in particular like to associate with the past?

I mean things to do with what was trending during their youth such as music, hangouts, fashion or even gadgets.

It was the same question ringing in my head recently when I attended the launch of the 2018 CBA Vintage and Classic auto show at Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) offices at Twed towers, Nakasero. The event is still some weeks away but the excitement was palpable.

There were just a handful of vintage cars on display, a silver Toyopet from 1960 and a Volkswagen (Combi), but the admiration of people around intrigued me. Seeing men fit to be elder statesmen marvel at a car was a sight to behold.

They took turns to compare intricate details such as the design, painting and even nuts. I could sense the nostalgic feeling in them.

“You cannot and will never understand what such a car means,” said Abdu Karim Kironde, popularly known as Ssalongo Express. “We grew up dreaming of driving these cars because everything about it was tailored for the driver, not these current cars made for mass production.”

They talked prices ranging from Shs 40m to Shs 100m. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. Can you imagine planning to buy a car from the sixties at Shs 60m?

Nonetheless, therein lies what bonds some people with vintage stuff.

Dr John Baptist Niwagaba, the show organiser, quickly pointed out to me that the event is not merely a show-off as many would think. “The Vintage and Classic Auto show brings together people who cherish their valuables and have kept them intact for decades,” he says.

“It is also an opportunity to network and do business. You may get a person with the spare part that your vintage car has been missing or even a willing buyer or seller of a vintage item.”

Indeed, this year’s show, now in its seventh edition, promises to be bigger and better since organisers have added new twists to spice it up.

“We are changing from a static show where cars are judged in one place to a mobile show where cars will move to a judging arena thus offering a lively experience to both car owners and spectators,” Niwagaba revealed. “We are also introducing the collectibles category where other vintage items like gramophones and jukeboxes will be showcased.”

The show is on July 28 at the Kampala Sheraton gardens and I cannot wait to see what other items keep some people obsessed.


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