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Uganda’s Luxurious “Must Visit” Safari Lodges.

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Safari lodges are usually located in the remote destinations in National parks, forests, lakes with abundance of wild game, birds and local communities to interact with. Uganda’s Safari Lodges offers a crystal-clear opportunity to venture into vast nature and wildlife with a surety of safety and splendid game drives.

Must Visit – Safari Lodges

Paraa Safari Lodge
Paraa Safari Lodge

The lodge boasts of its closeness to the mighty Murchison falls where its guests enjoy thrilling experience of the incredible power of nature- a must visit
Paraa lodge offers exquisite accommodation enclave of lavish cottages, suites, double, twin and single rooms, en-suite private bathroom all having breathtaking views of the Nile River from the balconies. The swimming pool makes a perfect place for a cool refreshing deep after a long day of Safari drive. Indulge in game drives, nature walks, Hot-air balloon Safari and bush breakfast

Chobe Safari Lodge

Chobe Safari Lodge


Enjoy an authentic luxury experience and an adventure Safari in the park with quality service at Chobe Safari Lodge. This is lodge nestled in the Murchison falls National park. The 5-star lodge is a unique treasure with an amazing ambience and definitely unveils your dream Safari vacation to reality. While at the lodge, engage in activities like fishing, Safari drive, nature walks, visiting Murchison falls and Bush breakfast.

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Clouds Mountain Gorilla

Perfectly located in the southern part of Bwindi National Park, the incredibly tranquil lodge setting, deep and yet elevated boasts of awesomely modern Cottages crafted out of the volcanic mountain stones with each featuring a spacious, comfortable bedroom, bathroom with walk-in-showers, lounge and a blazing fireplace that keeps you warm and cozy.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge offers an incredible chance of a gorgeous view of lush green rain-forest. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is the highest lodge in Uganda over 2000 feet above sea level. Indulge yourself in wildlife view, bird watching, Gorilla treks, Virungu volcanoes and the rift valley.

Mweya Safari Lodge

Mweya Safari Lodge

Beautifully situated on a peninsula within the heart of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge, is a truly charming lodge perfect for travelers who desire to connect with nature. It offers its guests, a mesmerizing view of the Kazinga Channel and gorgeous mountain of the moon- Rwenzori Mountain.
Mweya Safari Lodge boasts its beautiful cottages and impeccably clean spacious and self contained rooms. Other facilities include an amazing swimming pool with a great view of the channel, Restaurant, Business center, gift shop, conference facilities and the Tembo bar. Enjoy activities like; Birding, safari drive, water safari, chimpanzee trekking, katwe explosion crater and many others.

Apoka Safari Lodge

With a beautiful view of the Savannah Vegetation, Apoka Safari Lodge is perched on a small hill in the Kidepo National Park. The wildlife can be heard, viewed effortlessly from every angle of the lodge- the rooms, Veranda and private outdoor soaking tub.
The accommodation is of a first-class. Simply impressive and breathtaking with a central dinning area overlooking the waterholes allowing you to view wild game coming to quench their thirst. The cottages are amazingly decorated with an African touch that beautifully blends the surrounding. Enjoy a perfect swim at the skillfully crafted swimming pool at the edge of the rock.

Semilik Safari Lodge

Semiliki Safari Lodge

The lodge is gorgeous tucked in a remote destination in the Semiliki valley, Semiliki forest that houses an array of beautiful birds, baboons, monkey, forest elephants. The Semilik Safari Lodge hosts charmingly thatched roof golden-hued tents, en-suite bathrooms, each room has a veranda with a stunning panaromic view of the mountains and savannah forest and rift valley. Activities includes chimpanzee trekking, extensive walking trails, boat trips on Lake Albert and Visits to the pygmies.

Choose to go on a get away trip and immerse yourself into nature’s finest making a stop at one of Uganda’s luxurious Must see Safari lodges. Enjoy!

Meet the falls in Uganda

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Watching water fall naturally down the rocky cliffs is an exciting venture and a wonderful refreshment of the mind. The uniqueness of Uganda’s natural waterfalls is that; the water flows throughout the year and are reachable with clear trails or roads. The waterfalls are at their scenic best during rainy seasons, best for photo shoots.

Let’s meet the most beautiful falls in Uganda

Murchison Falls

Tourists at Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls –also known as Kabalega Falls, is a waterfall between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the White Nile River in Uganda – the second longest river in the world. It’s located within the Murchison National park in the Northern region of the Albertine Rift Valley.
Tourists love cruising at the bottom of the falls as they watch the water splashing down with enormous force as the River Nile pushes through the gorge only 7 meters (23 ft) wide, and tumbles 43 metres (141 ft), before flowing westward into Lake Albert.
Enjoy hikes to the bottom of the falls and have an impressive view of the rainbows, devils cauldron, bird watching and game drives; Simply breathe taking sight!

 

Aruu Falls

Aruu Falls


The graceful flow of the water over the slippery cascading rocks naturally arranged into a series of steps will definitely relax and mesmerize you with their intricate beauty. The Aruu Falls are located in Pader District; the best attraction site in Northern Uganda.
Whilst visiting Kidepo National Park, make a stopover and enjoy the sight of the scenic cascading Aruu falls. Nature walks, swimming, rock climbing, fishing, and bird watchingTourist enjoying the cool breeze and water spray of the fall

SIPI FALLS

Sipi Falls


An impressive sight of the100 meters high, Sipi falls at the foothills of Mount Elgonlocated in Kapchorwa District in Eastern Uganda.Its character can go from thunderous wall of water to graceful parallel strands of water exposing the Curtain Cave behind it.
Taking a natural shower under the fall or diving for a swim into the large plunge pool is a priceless experience. Take in the spectacular sight of the gorgeous Sipi Falls through bike riding, hikes or dives into the water

Sezibwa Falls

Sezibwa Falls


One of the unique water falls in Uganda; a gorgeous oasis for nature lovers. It’s approximately 35km along Kampala- Jinja highway in Mukono District in Central Uganda. The smoky brownish water gushes between the two rocks and falls 7 meters high producing a hissing sound.
It is the nearest of all to the capital city of Uganda. It’s a hideout place isolated, quiet and serene; perfect for family picnic or couples who would wish to enjoy their private time. It’s also a much-loved place for bird watchers, rock climbing, camping and taking nature walks.

Karuma Falls

Karuma Falls


Karuma Falls on the white Victoria Nile 311 km from Kampala City on Gulu high way. The Karuma Falls comprise of a sequence of natural good locking rock formations at the base of the Victoria Nile, within this place creating a spectacular ripple of water of a stunning white foam appearance.

Karuma Falls Bridge


Constructed in 1963, Karuma bridge crosses the huge waterfalls and connects the districts of Masindi and Gulu. The water fall is a perfect spot for bird, wildlife viewing like buffalos, antelopes, monkeys and baboons. Nature walks around the banks of the falls is an exciting activity for most tourist.Baboon along the Gulu High way on Karuma Bridge.

Uganda Zaabu, do not miss to indulge your sight with at least one or two of the waterfalls mentioned here. Enjoy!

HOW BUSONGORA BEAT RWENZURURU TO RULE KASESE

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By Simon K. Turibamwe 

It’s always hard for the minority to rule the majority but only the Basongora, one of the minority tribes in Kasese have proven that they can rule over everyone in in the district challenging the Rwenzururu establishment whose leadership and affiliations are on probation majority saying its agenda isn’t clearly understood.

In 2009 when the Government of Uganda accepted to officially recognize the Rwenzururu movement into a cultural institution or Kingdom, the Basongora who says are the indigenous of Kasese accepted and supported the idea. Much as Toro Kingdom didn’t agree with the central government on Rwenzururu recognition at the time, the Basongora and Banyabindi who were still claimed by Toro to be her subjects contributed towards the occasion to grace the function that show King Mumbere being crowned as King on the 19th day of October 2009 at Kilembe Mines Golf Club.

After the recognition of the Rwenzururu Kingdom which originally was to accommodate Bakonzo and Bamba then other tribes in the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo, the King did not appoint any none mukonzo on his cabinet a move that sparked talks of discrimination from day one.

As years went on, these other tribes including Bamba, Babwisi and vanoma in Bundibugyo district, Basongora and Banyabindi in Kasese district started moves to have their own Kingdoms established and publicly announced that they are not part and partial of Rwenzururu anymore.

On May 13th 2012, the Basongora pronounced themselves and later on July 1st 2012 crowned their own Bwebale Ivan their king with a title of Rutakirwa and gave name him after one of the Busongora’s great kings Rwiigi the fourth.

Much as the government officials never surfaced at the coronation of the Busongora Kingdom, President Museveni was present for the coronation of the Omudhingiya wa Bwamba Lt. col Martin Kamya  who rules over all none Konzo tribes in Bundibugyo district.

Save for Obudhingyiya bwa Bwamba in Bundibugyo districts, Rwenzururu Kingdom and its functionaries have been opposed to establishment of Banyabindi and Basongora Kingdoms saying that there can’t be two Kingdoms within one area. The Rwenzururu looked at this as creation of a kingdom within a Kingdom.

With all the resistance from Rwenzururu, the Basongora went on to perform cultural roles on grounds that their culture and language is not similar to those of Rwenzururu.

Reasons for Busongora Kingdom existence

Having exhibited seriousness within their territory and why they are not Rwenzururu, below are the reasons both government and individuals have decided to support the existence of Busongora Kingdom. Despite having a richest Kingdom on this earth planet the Basongora says they better have no kingdom than having a kingdom that is not developing and basing on this background using the constitution they have made sure that any one not developmental will never be their ruler.

Historical Background

The Basongora with the help of reigning King Ndahura II Kashagama have managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that their Kingdom existed 5000 years ago and only disappeared for the last 100 years after it was conquered by the Britsish to pave way for Toro Kingdom that was seceding from Bunyoro with the help of Capt.Lugard.

The Basongora presented lists of their former Kings, their origin and where they were buried in Uganda and the period they reigned which has also proved that all Kingdoms in Uganda and some parts of Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi originated from Busongora a fact that it’s older than any other Kingdom in East and West Africa. This has been one of the grounds that even professors of history accepted without doubt.

Unique culture

Much as the Basongora are pastoralists like any other group related to the Bachwezi, they have continued to exhibit that their culture is so unique from the rest. While establishing their kingdom which they said were reinstating in 2012, the elders said that they were feeling so sad to see their children in schools being forced to learn the norms of Bakonzo as if they had no own cultural norms and traditional. The Bakonzo who are of Ndu dialect, have a traditional dance that makes women to jump and spread their legs wide while the Basongora who are of Ntu dialect remains seated while performing a traditional folk songs. Though all tribes in Uganda fronts a drum as the major musical instrument, the Basongora never plays a drum or any other object that makes noisy sound apart from the Enanga. The Enanga will be played by women seated with their legs folded and covered under their long dresses (suits) while men will stand holding sticks and make moves with their arms wide spread holding sticks.

Still on culture there was no way Bakonzo or Rwenzururu whose main food is Bundu (cassava flour), sombe (cassava leaves) and Fish would force Basongora whose only favorite is milk and yoghurt (Ikyivuguto/amakamo).

Environmentalists

The Basongora who equalize their cows to human beings in terms of treatment and respect they don’t only stop there but also love environment because they know that their lives and those of their animals depend on environment. The Musongora will plead with you to have him punished but not to pollute the environment any form. The Basongora culture also prohibits hunting or killing female animals for meat while Bakonzo are hunting experts and meat lovers.  

None violent

They make good warriors while armed with sticks but they are not provocative to open wars against others and they like solving grievances through dialogue. Some elders revealed that the Basongora like dialogue because they realized that violent is destructive during the days they were at war with foreign armies.

With this, the Basongora said can’t be part of Rwenzururu whose culture is even known by the true Bakonzo that is characterized by violence and forceful means.

The Bukonzo vs Rwenzururu

When King Mumbere’s father and comrades launched the Rwenzururu rebellion or Rwenzururu movement a rebel group that fought Toro Kingdom accusing Batoro of oppression, marginalization and discrimination among other tribes, they managed to convince all none Batoro that struggle would benefit them all.

However after recognition of Rwenzururu as a Kingdom, the true Bakonzo were the first to question the legality of Rwenzururu as others said that Kingdom should be called Bukonzo since the area was known as Bukonzo and people called Bakonzo while the Rwenzururu was the group of fighters. Basing on this other tribes said would accept working with Bakonzo but not Rwenzururu that had no geographical location and existing people or culture. Before Rwenzururu got recognition some senior citizens had warned the government not to recognize Rwenzururu but Bukonzo because the characteristics of Rwenzururu were not clear and that it would change the identity of Bakonzo to be called Banyarwenzururu something that would have a negative impact on the community.

Minutes after his recognition as King Rutakirwa Rwiigi IV Bwebale at Muhokya Palace, he said he would respect King Mumbere because government had put him in place but would never respect the functionaries of Rwenzururu.

To provide alternative leadership

To prove that they had an alternative leadership for peace and stability in Rwenzori sub region especially in Kasese which is characterized by unresolved conflicts, the Basongora said must focus only on developmental issues and give no attention to anything that hinders peace or development.

When he assumed the office of the King, King Ndahura II Kashagama asked all his subjects never to engage in anything not developmental if they are to make Busongora a model community. He promised that he would only concentrate on development and not conflicting with any member of the society or central government because they needed each other and that only team work is the only way to develop.

To show his determination, King Kashagama who assumed the office in 2016 has managed to construct own Palace, develop a Tourism Centre, construct roads, bore hole for safe drinking water, lobby universities and other learning institutions for scholarships among others for his subjects. The Basongora who were listed by UNESCO to be the most endangered minority ethnic group in the world, are now proud that their identity is back on record not for the bad but for the good.

The Busongora kingdom has also been able to attract investors, partners and friends from western countries to support the Kingdom developments. With support from donors and the government the Kingdom is planning to establish a wildlife treatment center, university and hospital inside the Ikamiro Palace.

Recently Busongora Kingdom was ranked by cultural experts as the model Kingdom of the 21st Century in terms of cultural diversity development.

None discriminative

Busongora elders who were interviewed by this reporter also revealed that before they thought of reinstating the kingdom what their priority was to see a united community because majority of the population that neither belonged to Toro or Rwenzururu were left in limbo because were not accommodated in any of the Kingdom.

This the Kingdom that accommodates Basongora, Bakingwe, Banyankore, Bakiga, Banyarwanda,Bagabo, Batuku, Batoro, Banyaruguru and a section of Bakonzo who are opposed to Rwenzururu establishment among other community living in Kasese district.

People who are not Basongora don’t only subscribe to the Kingdom but also included in the Cabinet and technical team of the kingdom.

Robert Kyomya kashamura who is the chief advisor of the king revealed that the inclusion of the other tribes in the kingdom was to exhibit their will for co-existence because there is no community that lives in isolation without neighbors. He adds that: “Busongora is the center of all tribes in Uganda and therefore staying or working alone may not solve the community issues. It should also be noted that a kingdom that wants to isolate other people living within is not for development but for other missions I may say subversive but for us we believe in co-existence.”    

Yosam Nyamutare the Kingdom prime Minister said that because they wanted to see Busongora provide alternative leadership, they had to be accommodative to whoever is interested to stay or work towards the development of Busongora and no one is compelled to subscribe to the kingdom of Busongora because subscription is optional.

Nyamutare further says that instead of compelling people to subscribe to the kingdom, the kingdom has a duty to prove competence in service provision so that people are convinced by the deeds not the word of mouth or force.

“The Kingdom is not politics where people are convinced to support a certain political party but the only way is to show everyone that you are doing right things and focused for development,” said Nyamutare the Kingdom Prime Minister.

Pan-African spirit

King Ndahura II Kashagama, who recently received a certificate of appreciation and a medal for his contribution towards promotion of Pan-Africanism, has also been telling the Basongora to imitate their ancestors treat all Africans as one family. The Basongora believe that they are the ones who mothered Africans and therefore all Africans are equal and that no one should be discrimination on race or tribe but they are Africans.

People power factor

Busongora is the only Kingdom in the East and West Africa where people have more powers than the king. To avoid dictation by the King and prime Minister, both the king and prime minister are chosen by people in an open election.

The Busongora Kingdom constitution gives powers to the council of accession (elders’ council) to choose who should be the king or prime minister.  The same council also has got powers to dethrone, remove or punish or force a king to resign if proven guilty of nonperformance. The council of accession is the Alfa and Omega arm in running the Kingdom affairs.

Simon Kagame, the Minister in charge constitutional affairs revealed that the constitution doesn’t stop at taming powers of the top leadership but also locks out people who drink alcohol from being nominated or appointed Kings. He adds that this constitution was designed to avoid future problems in the kingdom where individuals would impose themselves on people to claim being rightful kings.

“We have had scenarios where people are claiming to be right kings to oppose the existing ones and this because they have no due process of appointing kings but if some chosen through due process not even God will dispute his appointment,” said Kagame the Minister for Constitution affairs and institutional development.

Moses Kibwiizi a minister in the Kingdom also said that whoever developed the idea to give powers to the people and not the King deserve an accolade because in most cases leaders use their powers because they are final to mislead people they are supposed to lead.

“Where the King or any leader has the final word can use his powers to give wrong or misleading instructions to the subject and destroy the Kingdom,” Kibwiizi said.

The Glamorous Cable – Stayed Bridge

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It is well known as the Source of the Nile Bridge or the New Jinja Bridge that replaced the deteriorating 1954 built Nalubaale Bridge. The Source of the Nile Bridge is the longest bridge in Uganda and 5th longest bridge in the African continent at 525 metres (1,722 ft) long and 22.9 metres (75 ft) wide

The glamorous cable-stayed bridge across the Victoria Nile located at Njeru, a suburb of the city of Jinja – Uganda; aroused excitement among people after its completion in October 2018. One of the aims of constructing this bridge was to enhance tourism with the addition of this iconic signature beauty of the gigantic concrete and steel structure is 72 harp-like white cables connecting the bridge deck to two 69-metre tall inverted-Y pylon towers that are well lit in the night. It is said to look like the ‘Anzac’ Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

 

Anzac Bridge – Sydney, Australia
Source of the Nile Bridge – Jinja, Uganda

The overall width of the New Jinja Bridge is 22.9m wide. It has a dual carriageway 7.0m wide with a pedestrian walk way of 2.25m wide on both ends with a projected lifespan of 120 years.

The traditional dance for the Bakonzo Culture

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The Bakonzo sometimes called Banandi is a group of the Bantu speaking people living in the districts of Kasese, Bundibgyo, Bunyangabu and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bakonzo mainly have two types of dances which are ceremonial.

Ekikibi Dance

This is the dance which I would call breaking of the chest and the back, it is for both men and women, it is majorly performed in functions that attract happiness say during marriage functions, music competitions among others.

It involves dancing together of a man and a woman, its best attractive when performed by people who know how to break the back properly while standing on one and a half feet.

It has a specific drum beat (the medium or the biggest of all the drums) and then other more two which makes it attractive or possibly one may work in absence of others.
The traditional dance for the Bakonzo Culture

Omukumu Dance

This is the dance performed mainly during the closing out of a burial ceremony (erisesya ekiriro), it may take up to one week while dancing, every day people go early to the home of the deceased to perfume this ritual.

This dancing has other many categories including, omukobo, eluma, amasinduka, amahande among others

Omukobo involves dancing while turning to the next neighbor as you keep rotating in a circle form as well as singing. There’s also beating of three drums, xylophone and other instruments.

Eluma evolves all the omukobo instruments with flute leading them all  to compose different songs.

Mukumu dance is neither for women nor for uncircumcised men

Mukumu dance is not performed in every one’s burial but for men who went for circumcision in Bwamba, Bundibughyo district (elhusumba) and not performed for women.

This type of dance has a leader called “Kabira”, is the person who is in-charge of everything involved in the dancing process say if you are to dance with a neighbor then you start with him among other things.

In early years of 1930’s and later, men would arrange and go to Bwamba (lhusumba) in Bundibugyo district for circumcision, this was one of the things to prepare for descent burial rituals and respect in public.

They would walk in the mountains of Kasese district, through upsides of Nyakigumba, Katebwa and then to Bwamba for the Circumcision function and return later after recovering.

The function would be organized for those returnees’ recognition of being rightful men to stabilize in public.

During those times and up now, men who are not circumcised are not considered in public like normal ones, they can’t even be recognized to speak in public.

ESUUKA; An Adorn of Royalty

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Esuuka is one of the most precious ornaments a woman can wear especially that from Tooro, where beauty and royalty are a daily observation. An emblem of a true Mutoorokati (woman from Tooro), this easy wearing distinctive attire is the crown of beauty – solely the main reason Tooro women stand out on many occasions – traditional or elite worldwide.

Ever wondered what a sexy elegant woman with holiness looks like? A woman adorned in a Tooro Suuka will strikingly stick in your mind and hypnotize your personality as you appreciate the true likeness of being African.

Generation to generation, Esuuka has managed to prevail the test of time and threats of modernity – growing stronger and more popular among adults, young women and girls. It is the official wear for women and girls from Bunyoro , Tooro and those attached comprising of three major components including; ekiteteeyi (dress) wore on top of ekitambi (wrap skirt around the waist) and the Suuka (sheet of cloth between 5 to 6metres long) from where the name of the whole outfit is derived usually wore up to the feet.

The Tooro Suuka is more so like a red carpet gown, it covers full body length including the feet.
What makes it special is the way the Suuka is wrapped around the shoulders with its flap falling on one of the shoulders mostly on the right.

The Suuka is folded over the collar bone then tucked under arms wrapped around the whole body to the feet. The folds are kept in place by hand or pressed by the upper arms in position as shown by images in this piece

       
Left, the length of esuuka, dress and rapper (ekitambi), right batooro women rocking esuuka

Esuuka’s influence on women is one of the most significant in Tooro Culture; it portrays a well groomed woman with respect and humility – on the minds of everyone before they set out to an official or traditional event.

The Suuka is fabricated in such a way that keeps a woman habitually modest and respectful; it is by design a woman wearing Esuuka cannot jump out of her seat, run, speak or dance offensively in front of people. She can only walk or dance (if she has to) majestically with the lowest pace exuding the highest sense of privilege and admiration.

On an official Tooro ceremony or event, women not wearing Esuuka are ushered in at the back where they are not easily visible while those wearing the treasured Suuka are honoured in front row seats.

On a Kweranga (introduction) ceremony, the bride to be is obliged to wear the Suuka every time she comes out for presentation; it is unethical for a bride to walk out of the house dancing, raising her head and moving fast – the reason slow sentimental music is required to facilitate a majestic dance or walk of honour locally known as kuhuubya.


Batooro girls walking out of the house in esuuka on an introduction

It is eminent reality this phenomenon must be observed and respected since it’s the window that
exhibits the true essence of traditional fashion in Tooro. In recent times, Esuuka and its respects have been faced with immense infiltration from other cultures – not wearing it properly (imitating other cultures), dancing and moving fast while wearing it or dressing otherwise among others to official and traditional functions.

This has been largely due to lack of heritage education and influence of modern fashion trends that are on the
high rise every time. However, the current generation is realizing the value and uniqueness of this special tradition and is working so hard re-embracing it and lifting it up to where and how it is supposed to be alongside modern fashion inclinations.

It is actually OK accessorizing Esuuka with jewelry –necklaces, bracelets and crowns as long as they do not affect its etiquette.

 

The Queen Mother of Tooro Kingdom Best Kemigisa Akiiki is  the most iconic woman that has graced the Tooro Suuka diligently for all time, she has epitomized and showcased the core of the Tooro Suuka worldwide. She is rarely  seen  on a public function without the Tooro Suuka.

 

By Nelon Gerrard

Bakonzo names and their meanings

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For every Mukonzo, the surname must tell the position in birth counting whether the child is the first, second, or third, up to the last born.

Who they are?

The Bakonzo, sometimes called Bayira or Banande, are a Bantu-speaking group of people in western

Uganda and eastern DR Congo. In Uganda, they are concentrated in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts.

Others live in Bunyangabu and Ntoroko districts. The Bakonzo are the subjects of Rwenzururu Kingdom, whose king is Charles Wesley Mumbere.

The Bakonzo name their children according to their order of birth.

IN SUMMARY

The number matters. According to Grandfather (sokulhu) Stifano Bwambale Murokole, a resident of Kakone village in Mahango subcounty in Kasese District and a veteran Kikonzo culture advisor in the Bahira clan, the names of the Bakonzo were given to boys in seven birth ranks, whereas those for female children are eight.

Culture.
Have you ever considered the origin of your name? Fred Stephen Bwambale of Enganzi news writes that for anyone schooled in the culture of the Bakonzo, it is easy to tell the order in which someone was born just by knowing that person’s name.

 “Birth ranks” in this regard, it is the order in which the children born of the same mother and father follow each other, ranging from the oldest to the youngest.

For every Mukonzo, the surname must tell whether the child is the first, second, or third born, up to the last born.

Some other names are given depending on the situation like war, famine or massacres at the time the bearer was born.

According to sokulhu Murokole, “The Bakonzo women have for a long time been among the most fertile in Africa. By the 1990s, some strong women were producing up to 16 children. Such a woman would have a chance to finish all the male and female names”.

He listed the names given to the boy children, from the first born, as; Baluku, Bwambale, Masereka, Kuule, Thembo, Mbusa and Ndungo.

The female names are Musoki or Masika , Biira, Kabugho, Mbambu, Ithungu, Kyakimwa, Nziabake and Bulhubasa.

“These names are not given without considering who was born before who. You cannot name your first born Masereka. This will be a disorder because Masereka is the third born male child,” Murokole said.

One must be wondering where the name “Mumbere”, which is sometimes mistaken for a king’s title because Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere is not mentioned in the order.

“Mumbere” is another name for “Baluku” (the first born male child). Others say “Kambere” to refer to the same person – Mumbere.

However, the same child can be named “Nzanzu” if both parents were virgins at the time they consummated their marriage. A first born female produced by such parents is named “Kanyere”.

Murokole further explains that “Kasoke” and “Musoki” are names for a first born who is male and female respectively, if the child’s paternal and maternal grandparents are still alive by the time he or she is born.

The first time the parents produce a child of a different sex from the first one, the child is named “Muhindo” if male or female, and “Mbindule” if female.

 Bakonzo names given depending on the situation at birth

“Bethubanji” is another meaningful name given to the first born who is able to see the same light with his or her parents’ grandparents. This means the baby has its grandparents alive at the same time their parents are also living. This child is referred to as “Akatsukulhu,” meaning a person who has two generational grandparents.

Much as death is something that everyone fears to associate with, the Bakonzo have names that tell that someone was born after the other child/children had died. If this person is male, he is named “Kibaya”, “Kyithi”, “Bisogho”, “Kamabu” or “Bisiika/Kyirere”, whereas females in that category are named

“Mutsuba”, “Kyabu” or “Bisiika” and other names like bahwere.

The twins are named according to their order of birth too. The first to come out is named “Nguru”, while the second is “Ndobya”. The child who follows twins is named “Kitsa”, followed by “Kamalha”. These apply to both sexes.

There are also situational names such as “Muthende” for a child born when boys had gone for a circumcision initiation ceremony, “Byerire” for one born during time of great harvest and many other proverbial names like Byanzira when one is born in along the way.

However, despite the unique way of naming children, this culture is facing extinction because of factors such as the modern campaign of family planning in which parents are encouraged to produce a number of children they can easily provide for.

Amos Bakalhania Kule, a resident of Kaberere in Kyondo Sub-county in Kasese District, attributes the fast extinction of some of the names to people drifting away from their culture by opting to copy names whose meaning they have no idea of.

“Our people are running away from their culture and that is why our culture is facing destruction. Why should someone copy a British or American name and make his child known by that imported name instead of popularizing the name Baluku, Bambale or Masika?” he wonders.

Amos said much as family planning is now necessary because of the prevailing economic situations and scarcity of land for production, it is important to preserve the culture by giving the few children the original names.

For Stifano Murokole, the Bakonzo naming culture will only persevere if all [birth ranks] children are produced and bear the names.

“It is not preserving when you produce five and give them the right names. What we need to do is to produce all the children because these names were given by our ancestors for a reason,” Murokole suggested.

Fr. Balinandi Kambale Raphael of Kasese Diocese, also a Lhukonzo literature author, said the Bakonzo women are still fertile to fulfill God’s command to “produce and subdue the world”.

“It is poverty that forces the people to produce few children but it is also ignorance of culture that they are not giving those few their real names. The women are still fertile and if possible, they should produce all [birth ranks] the children to fill these names,” said the priest, who also teaches Lhukonzo language and culture on local radio station Kasese Guide Radio every Tuesday.

He said very soon, he will release a book giving the names of the Bakonzo, with their meanings with the hope the young generation will understand and use them to make the culture consistent.

Rwenzururu kingdom speaks out:

The prime ministerial commission Rt. Hon Guardi Mbayahi, is another man disturbed by the near extinction of some of the names of the Bakonzo.

He said copying other names from the neighboring ethnicities is “poisonous to our culture,” adding that children need to be named according to their birth ranks.

“People are copying names of our brothers the Banyankole and directly translate them to name their children. The Bakonzo have not been having names such as “Lwanzu”, which is from Rukundo,

“Athwanzire” from Natukunda and “Apipawe” from Ahimbisiibwe among the Banyankole. These names are fronted by parents ahead of the birth rank names such as Baluku, Thembo and Mbusa,” he said.

 

The OBR premier also said the kingdom cabinet has already deliberated on this growing concern with a view of officially writing to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to advise on how to preserve the names.

“The cabinet has already discussed this concern. As Bakonzo, we have a unique culture worldwide because we are well named according to our birth ranks. We need Unesco to help preserve this culture that is now threatened,” Rt. Hon Guardi lamented.

There are fears that with the names of the Bakonzo being ignored by parents while naming children that the 14 clans may also be at the brink of not being cherished.

Each clan among the Bakonzo has a totem and “fake enemy”. The “fake enemy” is another clan that is jokingly an enemy of the other.

For instance, the Bathanji clan members will joke that “Balegha bahwere” (the Balegha clan is finished) when they see a new moon. These jokes, elders say, were used to make the young ones understand their clans better. The Bakonzo clans that give the same names are Abakira, Abasu, Abahambu, Abahira,

Abaswagha, Ababinga, Abathanji, Abaseru, Abanyisanza, Abalegha, Abahinda, Abakunda, Abalumba,

Abasongora (not the cattle keepers’ tribe).

AFRICAN TRIBAL PRINT

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African print has different names based on where it is from (East or West Africa) like Ankara fashion print that is popular in the west or Kitenges/Chitenjes/ Kikoy/Kangas popular in the East.

It doesn’t really matter where the print originates from but the flair the print adds to your fashion sense. Either you wrap it around your chest or waist, a headscarf, baby sling, dress or shirt, rest assured you will look outstanding.

Best part is that this print can be customized or tailor-made to any style or shape your mind can imagine or skillful tailor can conform it to.

Different Uses of the African Fabric;

  • They are used as a sling to hold a baby across the back of a mother. They can hold the baby at the front as well, particularly when breast feeding.
  • Given as gifts to young women.
  • Decorative pieces at dinner tables.
  • Can be is wrapped around the bathing suit for modesty or to shield cold air.
  • Framed or hung up on the wall as a decorative batik artwork.
  • Incorporated in clothing items such as hoodies, trousers, and accessories such as bags.
  • In Malawi, Chitenjes are customary for women at funerals.

The Connotation of the Independence Monument

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For over five decades ever since Uganda got its Independence, the independence monument has imposingly stood height of 6 meters at the heart of the capital between the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Grand Imperial Hotel and Stan-Chart bank whilst staring down at the Grand Imperial Hotel to the right and Standard Chartered Bank to the left.

It is one of the most distinctive landmark of Uganda, a work of art that shows a woman with wrapping all over her body standing firmly on the ground with her legs slightly parted while hoisting a child in the air. The child looks like a little boy with his hands raised in victory. This signifies a new born country let free from colonialism and bondages.

This was the work of Gregory Maloba, a Luhya sculptor from Kenya who studied and taught art at Makerere University from 1939- 1965. He executed this work using from cement, sand, iron bars and wire mesh in the months towards the day of Uganda’s Independence, October 9, 1962. Gregory Maloba was one of the better-known artists then with a well-documented track record in art at that time. Gregory was assisted by John Kisaka, one of his graduate students, now a retired teacher.

It is said that this monument was deemed incomplete as the initial sketch had two human figures at each side, each playing a trumpet, perhaps as a sign of jubilation. Despite this, the Independence monument turned out to be of much artistic and symbolic significance to Uganda.

In time for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Independence Monument was revamped and the wall behind it painted with a few stripes of the Uganda Flag colors.

The Independence monument is a must see if you are travelling to Kampala. With the beautification around the monument, you need to carry your camera for the memorable capture of the sight. This is among Kampala’s top Attractions and best sight when doing city walks

BUGANDA TRADITIONAL WEAR

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Clothing is part of culture because it defines who people are. A Muganda woman typically wears a gomesi. This is a floor-length, brightly colored cloth dress with a square neckline and short, puffed sleeves.

The first Gomesi was made of bark cloth however today they come in materials such as silk, cotton and other fabrics. A gomesi is not a single clothing but rather one that is accompanied with several garments to make it whole like the Kikoy which is an undergarment that is worn to add weight.

The garment is fastened with a sash traditionally known as a kitambala placed around waist over the hips, and two buttons on the left side of the neckline.

The indigenous dress of the Baganda man is a kanzu, a masculine outfit looks similar to a tunic and is mostly composed of a white or cream fabric. It’s made from silk, cotton, poplin, or linen. Linen kanzus are the most expensive.

The Kanzu unlike other specific attires cuts across several tribes and almost all ugandan men wear it during cultural functions. The Kanzu has a make of a dress and the men usually wear trousers beneath it plus a coat over their shoulders to match with it.

Traditionally, the busuuti was strapless and made from bark-cloth. The busuuti is worn on all festive and ceremonial occasions like introduction parties, giveaways, coronation ceremonies .

The Significance of the Gomesi and Kanzu is to promote decency and respect in public. Different tribes around Uganda and world wide have a adopted this traditional wear. The Gomesi and Kanzus are easily customized into different designs and colors as preferred by different individuals.

Put in mind that when wearing these traditional cloth that you have to be gracious. Men ought not to hold the kanzu when walking to avoid it from touching the ground. Never let the under garment be seen. And never alter the traditional design of the gomesi or kanzu because it ceases to be the known traditional wear.

These traditional outfits can be bought from shops in the city centre of Kampala at places like; Mukwano Arcade, Kiyembe shopping centre, Craft village and several shops around Kampala town.

In order to own one, you’ve got to buy a material of your preference, then take it for measurements to a tailor who then sews it into a Gomesi but for a Kanzu, the gentleman has to fit in to find the perfect size and height of it. The Busuutis are quite affordable but the material you want will determine how much you will have to spend.