Wasswa and Kato

September 30th, 2017

Wasswa and Kato

In the Baganda tribe, all male twins receive the names “Wasswa”, meaning firstborn male twin, and “Kato,” or second born male twin. Kato and Wasswa are both confident; they smile, laugh, and crack jokes easily. (That's Kato wearing the big smile, his art project for that afternoon. Medium: red Flair pen on back of hand.) But under their jovial façade is a seriousness. As in many Ugandan families, Kato and Wasswa went to boarding school for Primary One, or first grade. Their mother had gone abroad to work, and she was sending money for them to attend a good school. That’s where they got their exposure and appreciation for art and crafts.

“Things were okay from P1 to P7 while my mom was away, but then we lost her,” Kato says, with no explanation. “We are only three, Wasswa and me and my sister, but paying for school fees is a big problem.”

Wasswa chimes in, explaining that the two had gone to live with an auntie after mom’s passing, and money gets tight. “Before, we sat at home for more than a month, looking for that money (for fees). I could only wait at home, not able to improve on the situation as I was praying to God.” Kato also says they are very serious students, and it’s not easy to catch up in class when you are forced to sit out for extended periods of time.

Their ambition is to run an arts and crafts business. “Of course we have to do the same thing, and we will do it together,” says Wasswa of the future. “When we make beautiful things, we also gain a lot from it,” says Kato. “We can teach others about our culture through our art. I don’t think Muzungus (white people) know much about Uganda.”