#MyUgandaAt56: Arrested for wearing a short dress



Your stories


Using the hashtag #MyUgandaAt56, Jemimah shares an interesting story about her mother, who while still a teen back in the day, had to spend some hours locked up at the Police station for wearing a short dress. President Idi Amin signed a decree prohibiting the wearing of mini dresses in public. Women were banned from wearing mini-skirts/dresses, hot pants and dresses with slits (maxi dresses). More precisely, women were prohibited from wearing outfit measuring over three inches above the knees. Well, it so happened that Jemimah’s mum was a culprit.



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In today’s #MyUgandaAt56 story, my mum’s telling me about when she got arrested, around 1971 for wearing a short dress. President Amin had passed a law, no minis, no wigs (for the women) and no wearing slippers/flipflops (sapatu) on the streets.

Holiday time, she was in Senior Three and decided to go visit her cousins on this ‘eventful’ day.

As she walked along Main Street, Jinja, she was stopped by policemen who were rounding up anyone dressed in anything banned. Her dress, according to her, was not that short.

So she was taken to Central Police Station Jinja with other people, and the girls were asked to unfold the hems of their short dresses/skirts to see if they would get longer. Mum’s was a gone case. Dress was still short.

She, and all those who didn’t pass the test, were kept at the police station till evening and then sent home, with caution.

Meanwhile, the origin of today’s story is the dress I’m wearing today, 2018. It’s not short, but wouldn’t pass the 1971 test.

Were you ever caught in a similar situation? Or, do you, too, have a story related to Uganda’s independence/history that you would love to share with us? Get in touch with us:


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Oh, by the way, you can also check out our collection of Uganda’s history in pictures HERE.


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