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Rolex Festival made in Kampala

For a brand associated with celebrity events like the Salzburg Festival, a visitor to Uganda would be forgiven for mistaking a Rolex for a watch in Kampala city in Uganda.

This was very evident at the recent edition of the reality television show “The Amazing Race” when in episode 6 teams in the race were challenged to perform a task entitled “Who Wants a Rolex?”

At the Kampala Rolex Festival which returned last weekend on Sunday, August 18, hundreds of hungry revelers including tourists thronged the Lugogo Cricket Oval in Kampala to feast on Rolex.

Would this festival conjure up bouts of metallophagia (an eating disorder where people eat metals) in epidemic proportions leading to mass eating of stainless steel Rolex watches? On the contrary. In Uganda, if you order for a Rolex, you will be presented with a quick fix meal fried on a charcoal stove. A Rolex is literally an omelet wrap (chapatti) which comes in all sizes, including one named “Titanic,” and is garnished with choices of shredded cabbage, onions, tomatoes, or even Nutella.

In reality the name Rolex was corrupted from its true meaning – rolled eggs – in the mid-90s when it became a popular road-side snack with mainly university students on a shoe-string budget and with low-income earners.

The Rolex Festival is now in its 4th edition and was the brainchild of former Miss Tourism Uganda from the Busoga region, Enid Mirembe, who started the event originally with the support of the late Honorable Maria Mutagamba who was the former Tourism Minister along with State Minister Kiwanuka Suubi who originally endorsed the event in 2015. The Festival grew to be a big event garnering sponsorship from local beverage brands including Coca Cola, Africel Telecom, Kampala Capital City Authority, and the Uganda Tourism Board.

Appropriately themed on hygiene, this year’s event attracted tourists and offered up celebrity cooking competitions, raffle draws, and bouncing castles for kids as well as entertainment by local musicians including Ffefe Busi, Sheebah, and King Saha.

The inventors of the luxury version precision Rolex watch would be known as “Egg on Your Face” if they even harbored the thought of suing for infringement of an unintended pun for which the original creator of the Rolex omelet remains equally anonymous among the 42 million Ugandans.

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