I spent a month in Uganda on a ‘fact-finding mission,’ attempting to ascertain the general potential of the archives there for my D. Phil research. I planned to work in the manuscripts section of Makerere University library and in the Uganda National Archives at Entebbe. In addition, since my interest was in church-state relations in the pre-independence period, I was particularly keen to discover what church or mission material might be accessible to me. I knew of no researcher who had used local church records in recent years, and certainly not for the decolonization era.
Although I tried to secure institutional affiliation and research clearance prior to my departure (through MISR, the Makerere Institute of Social Research), I still had to climb a mountain of paperwork on arrival. At Makerere University itself, the library archives held some material of interest to me, such as an extensive newspaper collection, local church publications, some of the papers of the major political parties from the 1950s and 1960s, and a number of relevant research dissertations. Nevertheless, due to the prohibition of photocopying and a shutdown of at least two hours for lunch each day, working through it called on reserves of patience and negotiating skills that I did not realize I had!
At the Uganda National Archives, Entebbe, although a number of detailed handlists existed for early twentieth-century papers, later material was far less readily accessible. Files from the 1940s, for instance, did not appear to be cataloged at all.