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Nagombe: from selling tomatoes to producing graduates

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Nagombe: from selling tomatoes to producing graduates

Nagombe in her stall in Kajjansi market

Nagombe in her stall in Kajjansi market

Edith Nagombe, 53, is one of the personalities that have inspired many vendors in Kajjansi market. Hard work and customer care are some of the attributes that have helped Nagombe stay long in the market and achieve goals that many of her colleagues can only dream of – including educating children through university.

Joining the market

Nagombe  joined Kajjansi market  in 1986 when she was 23 years. She had endured several years of need at home, having earlier finished Primary Seven and failed to raise school feeds for secondary school.

“I started with a few tomatoes and a few onions worth Shs 20,000. My business grew bigger from a few tomatoes and onions to many tomatoes, much more onions, carrots, cabbages, green peppers and other vegetables. Now the business is worth about Shs 5m,” Nagombe says.

Family life

Nagombe married fellow vendor Hajji Kisitu and they produced five children – Fatuma Nanteza, Abdul Muvule, Aisha Nandyose , Farouk Lubwama and Kasim Senoga. Later, her husband passed on. “After that life became very difficult for me and my children. I was now the mother and father. I had to work extremely hard to meet the needs of my children,” she says.


In the 30 years, Nagombe has managed to see her children through school, constructed a residential house in Bwebajja, bought another plot of land still in Bwebajja and hopes to save money to buy more property.

Children Fatuma Nanteza and Farouk Lubwama are now working with Makerere University and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development respectively.

Nanteza graduated in Social Work and Social Administration and Lubwaama in Civil Engineering.

Lubwama says growing up with a single mother was a challenge that pushed them to work harder.

“We lacked very many things including basic needs like clothes and shoes.

We were assured of lunch on a daily basis but getting supper was really hard for us. The little money she earned she made sure that we went to school and had food to eat. She was too determined. She was not earning a lot. She simply persisted,” Lubwama says of his mother.

“We used to get some help from uncle Sam Mulindwa who was the chairperson of Bwebajja Market, especially some school fees. It was tough for us but our mother always encouraged us to be strong,” Lubwama adds.

Nagombe’s colleague, Rosette Namulwaana, say Nagombe is a very committed, determined and focused woman.

“She respects everyone and many of us approach her for advice,” Namulwaana adds.

Steven Busuulwa, the chairperson Kajjansi market, says Nagombe is hardworking and disciplined.

“She is so committed to her work. She is a very good friend of mine,” Busuulwa adds.

“Our mother had faith that one day we would achieve. We grew up thinking positively and that helped us to be focused, persistent and determined,” adds Lubwama.

Now 53, Nagombe is still waking up early everyday to manage her business in the market.

“I cannot give up now. I have to continue to work, to serve my people,” she says.

“Nagombe does not need any special treatment. She is still a very strong woman. She can stand on her own,” Busuulwa adds.




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