Art Deco Jinja

Featured Image Source: Ashit Desai, Under Creative Commons,

Jinja is a town that sits are the source of the Nile river. With a population of about 70,000 people, it is an industrial centre for the Ugandan economy and is a large tourism draw. It sits right at the start of the White Nile on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Jinja town was, until colonial times, a small fishing village. The town’s population really exploded when it was named as the source of the Nile and the British built the railway through it towards Kampala. The city became a hotspot for new Asian immigrants and one can see this in the architecture and numerous Hindu temples. The town became an industrial powerhouse after the completion of the Owen Falls hydroelectric dam in 1954. It was around this time that many of the Art Deco buildings were built in the city.

If you’d like to know a bit more about what art deco is exactly I can recommend ‘What is Art Deco?’ written by Pascal Laurent but he defines 5 basic points, Stylization, Plasticity, Light, Exoticism and Uchronia. These points can be found in many of the buildings in Jinja like the Odeon Cinema. Its concrete facade is a great example of stylization and plasticity. The facade is moving, its relief gives life to an otherwise simple building.

Source: Ashit Desai, Under Creative Commons,

The Madlani Building, built in 1948, also has an Art Deco feel to it. It’s reimagining of the classical geison as not only a straight band but something that switches elevations is both interesting and creative. Its colour is of course also very Art Deco, bright and beautiful

Source: Ashit Desai, Under Creative Commons,

The best example of colour use though has to be these offices on Iganga road. Its bright pink colour and smooth curves are about as Art Deco as it gets. It’s beautiful and bold.

The curves are an important part of the style that flows throughout Jinja.

Source: Ashit Desai, Under Creative Commons,

Smooth curves, bright colour and beautifully placed within its surrounds.


SkyscrapercityWikipedia (Jinja Uganda)Wikipedia (List of Cities and towns in Uganda)Jinja TownArt DecoWent Worth StudioSikh Heritage

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