KULOBA PETER TERA
UPPA 2020 Grand Prize Winner
The Salt Farmer
Hanifah Niwagaba, who is also known as Mukyala, stands next to one of the salt pans from which she harvests salt. Hanifah is a resident of Katwe town, a town named for its neighbouring Lake Katwe, Uganda’s biggest salt lake. Salt farmers tend to their salt pans daily, monitoring and creating the conditions that prepare salt for harvest. A combination of high temperatures and saline water make the lake perfect for salt farming, but because of the water’s salinity the farmers must dress in extra clothing and take care to remain hydrated as they go about their work.
Salt mining, which is the main commercial activity in Katwe, has been an industry in the area for generations. The salt is mined in rock form from the lake’s floor, while the refined salt crystals are farmed from the salt pans. Salt pans are family-owned and can be passed down from generation to generation. The farming employs whole families, although women and children are the main workforce and men help packing, carrying packed salt, refilling the pans with brine or construction and repair of the pans.