Kaddu Wasswa was born in 1933 in Ngangwa Village, near Mukono Town, Uganda. When he was 17, his mother became sick and his family was unable to pay his school fees. Kaddu dropped out in the second term of junior school. He then managed to find employment as an office messenger; a horticultural apprentice; a trainee for the Geological Survey Department; an assistant manager; a Uganda Bookshop employee; the founder of the first youth club in Uganda; a youth leader; a bank clerk; a student of social work; a depot clerk for Esso; an employee of British American Insurance; a grocery shop owner; a fundraiser; a novelist and writer of drama and social critique; an usher at an English state wedding; the treasurer of Jinja Rotary Club; a pioneer for a vocational training centre in Njeru; a civic leader in Ngogwe, Nyenga and Njeru Town Councils; the inventor and producer of Revolutionary Curry Powder Ntula Spices; a rural community educator; and an activist for human rights, public health, food security and environment issues. He lived through colonial times, the regimes of Obote and Amin, and fathered 18 children, 10 of whom died of AIDS.
Kaddu Wasswa met the Dutch artist Andrea Stultiens in 2008 after an introduction by his grandson, the photographer Arthur C. Kisitu. Stultiens found in the way Kaddu Wasswa had documented his life a fascinating alternative route in the Ugandan history she had been searching for. The three set out on a mission to tell Kaddu Wasswa’s life in photographs, based on the documentation he had compiled over the decades. A book was published about the project in 2010, but the collaboration continues, and will do so for as long as Kaddu Wasswa is still adding new chapters to his life.
About the artist
Andrea Stultiens does things with photographs. She makes and collects them; she thinks and writes about them. Some of this gets shared in exhibitions, publications or online. After working on The Kaddu Wasswa Archive, she started the platform History in Progress Uganda, looking at the relationship between the documentation of individual lives and collective memory in Uganda.