Kampala Hash House Harriers

History of KH3

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Ebola (Harriet Fowler)                                                                                                                         July 2006


The Kampala Hash started in July (or early August) 1986 with 37 r*nners. Some of the original hashers are still around, though no longer hashing. This history is based on interviews carried out in 2004 for the 1000th hash magazine by Deo ‘Dayo’ Lubega and Ken ‘Michelin’ Mdoe with John Magnay, who was on the first hash, and Pearl Horeau (Pearl of Africa), who started hashing in 1988.


The idea of a Kampala Hash was conceived by Peter van de Meer and about three others who had been working and hashing in Ethiopia before they came to Uganda. Peter was elected first HM and hosted the Hash at his house. Fred Cockerill arranged the beer and became Hash Cash. The invitations were not clear on the specifics of what would take place, and this was the inaugural Uganda hash, so the assembled hashers arrived with an air of quiet excitement. Those who turned up included John and Leslie Magnay, Jean Backhouse, Keith and Liz Flowers, John and Sally Wyles, Liz and Stuart Court, Pauline McKenzie, Peter Gudgeon and Shabby. The trail was laid with shredded paper from the American Embassy and the route covered upper (Kizungu zone) and lower (Madirisa zone) Makindye, and was based on original Hash concepts with false trails and check-backs. At precisely 6.00pm the On On was sounded for Kampala’s maiden Hash. The shredded paper trail was later replaced by maize flour and then lime (see anecdotes later for an explanation of the change). The HM Peter now lives in Durban, the Wyles are in New York, the Magnays and Fred Cockerill are still in Kampala.


Pearl has happy memories of the Hash. She started r*nning in 1988 and remembers that the hashers numbered about 30 mainly bazungu who would assemble at people’s homes. The 100th r*n, set at the ARA in Makindye, was memorable for attracting a record 50 hashers – all bazungu except for 3 Ugandan girls. Check backs and false trails had already disappeared (to be reintroduced in 1990) – the Hash was a simple, direct circular route. The circle was held regularly, but was used mainly to give down downs to the Hares, introduce newcomers and announce the next r*n location. The Hash trash was a monthly publication. The r*ns rotated around Makindye, Najjanankumbi, Kololo, Nakasero and Tank Hill – the main expatriate residential areas. The Hash had a reputation as a good social group where visitors to Uganda would come and meet local people and find out more about the country. Pearl accumulated 220 r*ns before she retired, but says she will return one day (Ed: oh, yes!).


The oldest current hasher is Dayo who was the first Uganda to clock 100 r*ns (1993) and has now reached over 700! He claims that the Hash has helped him become resistant to malaria – more likely that he is a man who will go to great lengths to secure free beer!


Beancounter set the record as the most consistent Hasher – in 94/95 he ran 100 consecutive Hashes, graduated from slacker to r*nner, and was Hash Cash for 5 years (Ed: until the office of IGG was established!)


In June 1993, at a Hash venue on the Entebbe Road called the Diane Bar, the Mismanagement Committee decided to introduce something different for the après-Hash festivities. As the hounds arrived back, they were greeted by ethnic dancers and music – which impressed everybody, until some Harriettes and notably the then Ayatollah, (Peter Dow) unwisely decided to have a disastrous go at the wiggling. His skill at this type of dancing was obviously lacking and he was clearly out of his depth!


By 1994, the numbers had grown steadily and the 100 mark was realised for the first time in January 1994 in Kololo where the Hash was hosted by Emmanuel Kikoni of Stanbic Bank (no longer a Hasher… but still a bank). The opportunities for a good traditional hash were fully grasped by the Hares who included lots of wonderfully mind-bending diversions on the route, round the hills and valleys of Kololo. The food afterwards was wonderful - selection of goat kebabs, chicken stew and a host of other delights. One UK expatriate airily refused to touch the goat meat, on the ground that he did not eat ‘this sort of thing’, but got his come-uppance when he dipped his fingers in the trough and proceeded to eat something which he was alarmed to discover was the goat’s eye!


National festivity hashes were introduced in the early 1990’s to coincide with the various National Days – St Patrick’s for the Irish, St George’s for the English, July 4th for the Americans, Dutch Queen’s birthday etc. The few Ugandans also did their bit on Uganda Independence Day on October 9th. The Monday before Christmas became a Christmas hash, which included fancy dress and various hash games – broom race etc. Prizes were awarded to the best performing Hashers and free drinks were served. The Christmas freebies seem to have fizzled out but the National Days continue.


The numbers of Ugandan hashers increased rapidly during the 90’s and by the end of the decade formed about 80% of the Hash population.  In 1995, the first Ugandan Hashmaster was selected, and this role was ably filled by Stephen Luswata (Pisser), a keen cricketer. With Pisser, came his cricket disciples, including, among others William Kibuka Musoke (Kabuki).


Weekends away were introduced - in November 1995 and February 1997, the Hash went to Mbarara at the invitation of Dr Emmanuel Kaijuka (original hash handle What’s up Doc? which later mutated mysteriously to Professor). On the ‘95 hash, 29 Hashers (half the usual number) made the trip down West for a well-organised Hash. Pisser was noticeably absent from the disco afterwards, but he had been spotted with a medical student in downtown Mbarara. Everybody had a wonderful weekend – especially Pisser! The tradition of weekends away has been continued, the most recent being a great weekend in Fort Portal to celebrate 100 years since Count Abruzzi climbed the Rwenzori mountains.


The 500th Hash festivities took place in March 1996 at Entebbe Sailing Club, the Hare being Don Pomfritt, a truly committed Hasher who has left Uganda, Woodentop and Karamoja. They organised a long but clever meander through the Botanical Gardens, which confused everybody. When the snakelike procession had slowed down to a virtual standstill, a visiting HM Cairo Crusher was heard to ask for a woman (preferably naked) to be thrown on the trail to speed everyone’s progress. From then on all the Hashettes kept a safe distance from the Cairo Crusher until he left Uganda. The Nairobi H3 contingent sang an appropriately bawdy rendition of Charlotte the Cowpuncher’s Whore led by the Keeper of the Hash Kitty, inevitably introduced as the Hash Pussy, which name she vehemently denied.


By 1997 Hash numbers were well over 100 and some change to the organisation was needed. Until then,  Hashes were still hosted at the Hare’s house – the Hare would set the course, the Hare-ess would do the catering. The idea of either splitting the Hash into separate groups, or of leaving out the food was floated. The agreed solution was to move the hash venue to pubs and restaurants. However, a splinter group, of mostly expatriates, did start a parallel Hash, but this had thankfully fizzled out by 2000.


The opportunities for marketing their products at the hash were not lost on various organisations. Nile Breweries offered to sponsor the Hash by providing Club Pilsner products – for free! After a lot of deliberation the Hash Mismanagement Committee declined this magnanimous offer, on the grounds that the character of the Hash would change substantially, as it would degenerate into just another weekly beer festival. Nonetheless the Hash has been a vehicle for the launching of various pubs and products – this includes Speke Resort, Kiwatule Recreation Centre, Muyenga Club, Kasangati Resort Centre, Forest Cottages and White Cap lager.


A Hash tradition, started by McGinty (Brendan Rogers, HM in 1999) was the annual Hash Bash where the kimansulo dance is the main evening attraction (next Hash Bash due November 2006). McGinty called regular Mismanagement meetings to plot forthcoming events in some detail. He livened up the circle (cirkol) by introducing down downs for sinners, and, most importantly, the award of hash shit. One day at a Capital Pub hash, a hasher pulled down McGinty’s shorts in the firm belief that his manhood would be covered by underpants or some other protective clothing – he was wrong!


In 2002, Hashmaster McCanCan (Garvan McCann) introduced another new tradition – to have an out-of-town hash on the first Saturday of the month. Hackenbush (Martin Fowler) and Queenie set the first Saturday hash which was held in Mpanga Forest, followed by food and a disco. Little did anyone realise that McCanCan’s idea was just to introduce a new beer-guzzling opportunity.


In February 2003, His Excellency (aka His Lowliness Jimmy Kolker) Velvet Tongue hosted the largest hash to date – 180 hashers! (nosy people who wanted to see inside a certain Embassy residence!!). The trail was amazingly complicated – left turns that led nowhere, check backs to dead ends, one right turn to an airstip with tombstones (VT’s grave humour perhaps?) and a host of other false trails. Everyone got lost, including His Lowliness as well who was seen to board his vehicle at only the second check back. We are indebted to Velvet Tongue for being an exemplary KH3 HM and ambassador by promoting hash traditions in the Uganda diplomatic circuit.


2003 saw the first group of KH3 hashers attending the Africa Interhash (Mombasa) and they came back with such stories that a larger group ventured to the Interhash in Cape Town in 2005. This is catching on, and around 40 KH3 hashers are due to go to the Chiang Mai World Hash this year.


In 2004 we celebrated the 1,000th Kampala Hash, with a truly hash-like weekend of activities starting with a pub-crawl in Kampala and moving on to various runs in and around the River Nile in Jinja.


Technology has slowly crept into the KH3 and we now have a computerised contact register of hashers, a hashstats database, a website: (kampalahhh.tripod.com) and TrueAfrican send out a weekly sms of the hash venue to registered hashers.


Hash numbers remain high – an average of around 100 per week, and the vast majority of the participants and organisers are Ugandan.

Several Hashers of the past have been contacted for input to a 20 year KH3 commiseratory/celebratory magazine that will be put together for the 2006 Hash Bash. The following sent congs and regrets that they can’t be with us:


Ivan the Terrible; John (Hash Splash) and Sally Wyles; Lizzie and Brian Dugdill; Stephen, Therese and Rhys Lawlor; McGinty; Lem Morgan; McCanCan and Dutch Disease.


NB: If anyone has photos, or anecdotes, particularly of KH3 in the 90’s, please give them to the Hash Master or Ebola for the magazine.


A few anecdotes from Hashes of the past:


From Karamoja: About 7 years ago we had a hash on Kololo, I think the hare was UEB (Robert Kisubi) and he put the trail onto the airstrip. I was the Ayatollah and somehow I managed to be in the lead as we came up the bank.  I was a bit fitter than I am now. The trail led to a check point somewhere in the middle of the airstrip.


I hollered check point, as one does. 2 Policemen "guarding" the airstrip were not impressed. They came over and began to ask what we were doing, who we were, did we have permission etc. I was followed by a half dozen or so of the fit young Ugandan r*nners, who of course were extremely polite and kept their distance, saying nothing.


All changed when the first Mzungu came trotting up. Tony Locke sized up the situation immediately. "Shoot the bastard" was his instant suggestion to the forces of Law and Order. Knowing that a very fit and instantly recognizable regular hasher was likely to join us at any moment, we waited expectantly. Sure enough in the pack of front r*nners was the familiar shaved head and huge moustache of Ivan the Terrible. He jogged up to the two policemen, and greeted them in Swahili. It took about half a second for recognition and the Hash was treated to the crispest salutes ever witnessed, by the two instantly highly respectful policemen!


To the disappointment of Tony Locke and co, the Ayatollah was not arrested or shot, but Mcginty gave the Hash Shit to the hapless Hare for "endangering the life and liberty of our beloved Karamoja".


From Chicken Shit: One of my early hashes was held at the Red Chilli site in Bugolobi. Greyhound was the Hare, assisted by Queenie (only he wasn’t Queenie in those days, he was Tortus ‘cos we couldn’t spell Tortoise). As usual, posho had been purchased for marking the trail, and off young Tortus went. However, by the off he still wasn’t back – he had been arrested for “wasting the nation’s food” Greyhound had an interesting job trying to explain the concept of Hashing to a (probably hungry) Bugolobi policeman. Since then the trail has been marked with lime.


From Hillary: I think the thing about the hash is that you are not going to like everything about it, so you have to pick and chose. For example, very few people like having beer and water poured over their heads, so one either has to learn to drink beer very quickly, or keep a low profile. If you are going to be nominated as a sinner every week, drink up your beer and then beat a hasty retreat when it comes to nominations for hash-shit, because it is one thing to get a down-down and quite another to get the ‘Ultimate Honour’. When McGinty was the hash-master, I used to get picked on quite a bit, because he knew all my sins, but I managed to avoid hash-shit most of the time. The one time that I didn’t escape getting wet was at one of the first Christmas hash bashes. At that time hashers were still a bit sceptical about this particular function and it was rather poorly attended and a bit boring, so I was passing the time talking (as one does). However McGinty and Karamoja were intent on having a circle. There was a keen hasher called Fatima (hash name?) who was married to the deputy American Ambassador. He hated hashing and everything to do with it, but had been dragged along for the party by his wife. So there we were passing the time, having an intellectual discussion, while Karamoja was drinking a yard of beer. I never talk in the circle, but this was an exception and for my sin, we were both dragged into the circle. At that time only a few hashers had hash handles and I was not one of them, so McGinty was keen to rectify this failing and ensure I was baptised. Since my fellow talker was an American diplomat, we were baptized as Bill and Hilary Clinton – obviously I got to be the wife in the relationship. The baptism was total immersion rather than sprinkling. Not only did I get soaked, but the name has stuck.


Brian Dugdill who, with Lizzie, joined KH3 in late 1986, sent the following from Mongolia, where he is now based:


Kampala Hash Song (sung to the Welsh hymn tune ‘Bread of Heaven’, words by Dugdill)


When I came to Kampala from the UK

Squash and water was my drink

Then I changed to Waragi and soda

What a really awful drink


Here’s to Bells beer, here’s to Bell’s beer

I can never get enough

I can never get enough


Went into a bar in Mbarara

Told the barman milk will do.

He replied in sorrow more than anger

Bell’s beer is the drink for you


Here’s to Bells beer, here’s to Bell’s beer

I can never get enough

I can never get enough


Topical verse & chorus


On your feet you shower of hashing bastards

Drink to the beer that in good for you

B-E-L-L-S- B-E-E-R

Is the best beer for us


Here’s to Bells beer, here’s to Bell’s beer

I can never get enough

I can never get enough





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