Jajja Maria Nakacwa Namatovu in action during the 2019 Sinocham Entebbe Marathon (Photo: David Isabirye)
Jajja Maria Nakacwa Namatovu in action during the 2019 Sinocham Entebbe Marathon (Photo: David Isabirye)

On a rather unique ‘rainy-sunny’ Saturday morning, thousands of people are paraded at the vast Entebbe Botanical Gardens ready to take part in the annual Sinocham Entebbe Marathon.

Majority of them are primary school pupils and a fraction ranging between 20 to 50 years age bracket.

However, mingled up in the 15,000 in excess crowd is an odd figure – the elderly 80 plus year old grand-mother, Jajja Maria Nakacwa Namatovu ready to take part in the marathon.

To express her confidence before the gruelling marathon, Jajja Namatovu joins the others during the limbering drills.

She is donned in a traditional kiganda out-fit, gomesi, hitherto Busuuti with the official marathon kit, a blue branded vest, a brand that best potrays her as a runner as well.

Her hair is all white, she holds a white wrapper and often bends because of the itching back bone.

85 year old Jajja Maria Nakacwa Namatovu (Photo: David Isabirye)

In Jajja Namatovu’s midst is her last born, Nalongo Justine Namirembe, 49, who is taking care of her alongside two of her 12 grandchildren – Kevin Nakyeyune, 22 and 5 year old Tatian Mulindwa.

Jajja Namatovu thrilled the rest of the runners as she enjoyed the marathon euphoria.

I love to exercise because it keeps my muscles and bones strong. I also feel good when I am in the company of the many people away from the isolated life.

Jajja Maria Nakacwa Namatovu
Nalongo Justine Namirembe, 49, (Left) with the mother Jajja Namatovu. Namirembe is the youngest of the Namatovu’s three children (Photo: David Isabirye)

The aging grandmother lives in Mayanzi village in Kiggungu ward of Entebbe Municipality.

She was born on 14th July 1934 to Micayiri Matovu and Scholatistica Nabisaalu Namakula in Kabwooko, Masaka.

Jajja Namatovu migrated to Entebbe in the late 60’s uncle her engagement to Matovu, and she has lived in the Lake Victoria peninsular town since that time.

She produced only three children, two daughters and one son.

Whereas Betty Nambogo is long gone, the other two Justine Namirembe (49) and Francis Musoke (55) are still living.

Jajja Namatovu with his two of the 12 grand children. Tatian Mulindwa is 5 years as Kevin Nakyeyune is 22 years old (Photo: David Isabirye)

The energetic grand-mother still yearns to take part in next year’s Entebbe marathon.

I feel I can also take part in next year’s Entebbe Marathon. I thank the mayor (Vincent De Paul Kayanja) for this opportunity.

Jajja Maria Nakacwa Namatovu
Jajja Namatovu plays with the grand son, Tatian Mulindwa after the 2019 Sinocham Entebbe Marathon (Photo: David Isabirye)

The Sinocham Entebbe marathon was started by the Mayor of Entebbe Municipality with the idea of raising proceeds to help the state of primary schools in the area.

The Mayor Vincent De Paul Kayanja with some of the runners during the 2019 Sinocham Entebbe Marathon (Photo: David Isabirye)

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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