, KAMPALA, Uganda, Nov 20 – A week before Pope Francis lands in Uganda on the second leg of his Africa tour, the country’s Catholics and souvenir-sellers alike are getting excited.
As “Popemania” builds, images of the pontiff are giving the ubiquitous pictures of strongman President Yoweri Museveni a run for their money in the capital Kampala.
On the glass shelves of Jude Colour Solutions – a self-declared “one stop centre for promotional items” – four dollar computer mouse pads with the pope’s picture sit side-by-side with the usual bestseller bearing the presidential portrait.
“I’m very excited,” said Catholic shop manager Bernard Ssenyondo, 32, when asked about the papal visit from November 27 to 29.
Francis will be the second pope Ssenyondo has seen, after John Paul II’s visit in 1993, “when I was in primary school”.
In pride of place on a high shelf sits Ssenyondo’s prized possession: a trophy for “The Best Branding, Printing and Promotional Items Exhibitor in Uganda”. And next to it, a Pope Francis vase. Only one of these items is for sale.