Gorilla Tracking in Uganda, Rwanda

THE RICH CUTULTURE OF BUGANDA KINGDOM AND CULTURAL ORGANISATION

This kingdom’s top most head holds the title of The Kabaka, the civilians are called the Baganda in case they are many and Muganda for singular, during communication, they use Luganda and the Culture is referred to as the Kiganda Culture. The reigning king is addressed as the Kabaka on the other hand the deceased king is referred to as the Ssekabaka.

Located in teh central region of Uganda, all powers of leadership have since time memorial been vested in the male child from the royal family. Neither a woman nor another individual who is not from the royal blood can take up the greatest seat of the king in Buganda. They are referred to in Luganda as the Bakopi. The elder son of the King in Buganda is not given the chance to become king but holds the title of Kiweewa and a number of functions are conducted in order to crown the Kiweewa. The legitimate heir to the throne is at all times under the guardianship of the Kasujju. The Kasujju has the responsibility of assisting the Kiweewa take on his duties. Usually, there is a senior prince in the Kingdom refereed to as the Sabalangira. For clan unity and creating a vapor of belonging, Princes and princesses take up their mothers clans and totems. The queen and the queen mother are permitted to hold their courts and a certain measure of administrative powers is granted them by the Kiganda Custom. Princes in the direct linage of succession are referred to as Princes of the Drum (a baana be ngoma) because their father is the head of the throne and has the royal drum (Mujaguzo). In case one owns the royal drum, he is taken as someone who possesses power, office and authority. Apart from the Royal drum (Mujaguzo), there are also more drums for each chieftainship. Every office is identified by the rhythm of its drum.

The kingdom on the other hand relied on the Bafumu who were chosen by the King. The Sabafumu would help to forecast and warn the King about the uprising problem and would move on to provide the King with people who could sort out the problem.

The kingdom on the other hand relied on the work of the royal sister. She would help assist and direct the King when he takes over power. She is also traditionally referred to as the Lubuga of the king. She was selected by the elders who were also had the task of the selection of the proceeding king from amongst the sons of the fallen king. The Royal sister would stress her guidance to the King so that he acknowledges her word and takes it serious. This is traditionally called Okuvuma Kabaka in Buganda. She also had a helper called the Nampakibeezi who would assist her by doing her duties when she was not present.

The King’s Twin (Mulongo) was on the other hand very helpful in directing the King on extraordinary powers claiming to come from god. The Twin possessed special powers referred to as Lukenge. He was at times referred to as the Mukasa wezadde. This explains the reason why the Baganda say Bweza Bwa Mukasa the moment twins are born.

Each king in Buganda had to possess a Jjembe which was believe to make the King a hero by assisting him win all the battles that were stage on him and outside the kingdom. The King had the power to select a name for his Jjembe.

The Home, like in a good number African culture, for one to be treated as a man, he has to set up for himself a home and get a wife. The King can set up his home and give it a name of his choice.

The subjects in Buganda are organized under different clans and are recognized according to their individual clans. Children in Buganda are named basing on their respective clans. Below is a list of the different clans in Buganda;

The Sheep clan (Ndiga

The Leopard clan (Ngo)

The Lion clan (Mpologoma)

The Colobus Monkey clan (Ngeye)

The Manis or Pangolia clan (Lugave)

The Buffalo clan (Mbogo)

The Small Grew Monkey clan (Nkima)

The Antelope clan (Mpeewo)

The Otter clan (??onge)

The Grasshopper (Nseenene)

The Civet clan (Ffumbe)

The Elephant clan (Njovu)

The Lung fish clan 1 (Mmamba)

The Lung fish clan 2? (Mmamba)

The Mashroom clan (Butiko)

The Katinvuma clan

The Bird clan (Nyonyi)

The Edible Rat clan (Musu)

The Yam clan (Kobe)

The Bean clan (Mpindi)

The Bushbuck clan (Ngabi)

The Dog clan (Mbwa)

The Jackal clan (Kibe)

The Cephalopus clan (Ntalaganya)

The Roebuck clan (Njaza)

The Hippopotamus clan (Nvubu)

The Genet clan (Kasimba)

The Heart clan (Mutima)

The Tailless cow clan (NteTerikoMukira)

The Spotted cow clan (Nte ya Lubombwe)

The Hornbill clan (Nganga)

The Rain water clan (Mazzi ga Kisasi)

The Crow clan (Namungona)

The Grass clan (Kitete)

The Crested Crain clan (?aali)

The Red Ant clan (Kinyomo)


The Kingdom of Buganda is located in the Central region of the country referred to at the moment as Uganda. It is exactly in the middle of Africa on both sides of the Equator and in the North West shores of Lake Victoria and it’s on the other hand the source of the famous river Nile. Buganda Kingdom is the habitat to the nation’s political and commercial capital city Kampala plus the country’s main International airport Entebbe. Buganda possesses a population of 5,500,000 persons as per the census of 2002.


The Kingdom’s equatorial climate provides abundant sunshine which is moderated by comparatively high altitude. Because it’s close to Lake Victoria, its mean yearly temperature ranges from 16 degrees 25 degrees Celsius. Daytime temperature averages between 8 degrees to 10 degrees Celsius warmer than night temperatures. Rainfall is uniformly distributed around the area and the mean annual rainfall usually rises beyond 2100 millimeters. The area is warm rather than hot and temperatures changes a little throughout the year.

Like other interlacustrine kingdoms, Baganda had a centralized system of government which by 1750 was the most excellently organized in the region.

The top most man in the kingdom was the king referred to as Kabaka. Earlier on the Bataka had a lot of political influence. They had power almost like that of Kabaka.

On the other hand, after 175O, the Kabaka assumed a position of political significance far superior to the position of the Bataka. The Kabaka’s position was hereditary however it was not confined to any one clan because the king would take the clan of his mother. The Kabaka used to marry from as many clans as possible and this encouraged loyalty to the throne in the sense that each of the fifty-two clans hoped that it would one day produce the king.

A king just like other leaders cannot perform all his duties solely. He was helped by other persons who took up positions of political and social significance were: the Prime Minister referred to as the Katikiro, the Mugema, the royal sister acknowledged as Nalinya, the Queen mother identified as Namasole and the Naval and Army commanders referred to as Gabunga and Mujasi respectively.

For easier ruling and quicker communication to the subjects, the kingdom was partitioned into administrative units famously known as Amasaza (counties) which were once more sub-divided into Amagombolola (sub-counties), and these were sub-divided into parishes known as Emiruka which were subdivided into sub-parishes. The smallest unit was referred to as Bukungu which was more or less a village unit. Every chief at all levels were appointed by the Kabaka and they were straight away responsible to him. He could assign or dismiss any chief at any time. Following 1750, chieftainship was taken to be open for any one to qualify. Chieftainship was warded on clan basis but only to men of merit and notable service.

The region famously known today as Buganda was referred to as Muwaawa before the 12th century; a name legendary seems to mean a place that is sparsely populated. It is thought that these people come from Abyssinia through the rift valley and the mountains of Elgon.

These people were organized into groups that had a common ancestry and constituted the most significant unit in Buganda’s culture � the clan. The leader of every one of these clans would be a chief and ruled a part of the territory. There were five original clans called the Banansangwa simply meaning the indigenous clans and they are: Ffumbe, Lugave, N?onge, Njaza and Nyonyi. More clans were added on up to 52 clans by 1966.

Even if these people spoke the same language and had the same culture, the clans were not so independent. There was luck of an organized system of governance in the region but the clans were lead by The Bataka. There was no accepted general leader in the region but leadership passed on to whoever proved his strength in the battle field. There used to be several leaders in the same area. There some powerful leaders who are said to have established themselves for some periods of time prior to Kintu’s arrival and they include the following: Sseguku, Buwumpya, Bukokoma, Bukulu, Bandi, Beene, Ggulu, Kyebagaba, Muyizzi, Bukuku, Bukadde-Magezi, Nakirembeka, Tonda, Maganda, Mukama, and Bemba. Basing on the most widely accepted version of history, Bemba was the reigning leader at the time of Kintu’s arrival.


The originally known Muwaawa turn into Buganda during the period of Ssekabaka Kintu the first king who took over from Bemba. During this time, the leader of the Ffumbe clan was called Buganda Ntege Walusimbi who had headship over other clans. Walusimbi had a number of children including Makubuya, Kisitu, Wasswa Winyi, and Kato Kintu. The time Walusimbi died, his son Makubuya took over the throne as ruler. He died later and, Makubuya in turn was replaced by his brother Kisitu as ruler. In the time of Kisitu’s reign, a rebel prince called Bbemba came from the area of Kiziba in northern Tanzania currently and set up his camp at Naggalabi, Buddo from there he planned to over throw Kisitu and replace him as head of state of Muwaawa. Bemba turned out to be so cruel and merciless. When Bbemba set up a coupe against Kisitu, Kisitu became so frightened and in his fear, he swore to give his throne Ssemagulu to which ever person would attain victory in assassinating of Bemba whereby Ssemagulu was the figure of authority. When he heard his brother’s vow, Kintu together with some followers from among his brothers and some of the different clans and attacked Bemba. Bemba was overpowered in the resulting battle and he was beheaded by some one called Nfudu of the Lugave clan. Nfudu swiftly took Bbemba’s head to Kintu, who later took it to Kisitu. After viewing Bbemba’s head, Kisitu left his throne for Kintu with the words that "Kingship is attained in battle". In spite of his abdication, Kisitu wished to retain leadership of the Ffumbe clan, therefore he instructed told Kintu to begin his own clan. He also informed Kintu that the kingdom must be renamed Buganda remembering their common ancestor Buganda Ntege Walusimbi. Therefore the royal clan came into existence by separated from the Ffumbe clan. Kintu set up a new system of governance together with the other clan leaders. Even if there is no printed literature, the information has passed on from generation to generation in oral communication and the above version has been generally acknowledged as the most reliable one.

On the other hand, there are more versions that talk about the origin of Buganda and amongst them is one where several people have a myth that Bbemba and Kintu were correlated and that Kintu who was younger than Bbemba was enthroned. This was not approved by Bbemba who was eldest. This forced him to fight his cousin Kintu from the throne. Bbemba defeated him and Kintu sought refugee in the Ssese Islands from where he staged a coupe to come back and fight for his throne which was by initially called Naggalabi.

The time Bbemba took over power; he turned out to be so cruel that people detested him so much. They even made a comparison of him to the dangerous cobra (Bbemba Musota) and which ever place he would go to visiting; he caused misery to the people and even slaughtered many of them. People turned out to be furious of him and the time Kintu returned to fight him, each and every person rallied behind him to fight Bbemba and this assisted Kintu to take over once more.

In this version it is said that Kintu ganged up with all the various clans and his army was headed by Mukiibi who was leader of the Lugave clan in the area. They claimed victory in the battle and Bbemba was dethroned. Kintu Kato was enthroned and it’s from here that some people think Kintu Kato was the first Muganda but this is not correct. Kintu Kato could not have been the first Muganda after he fought Bbemba to claim power. He was a grandson to the first Kintu who descended straight from heaven and he was married to Nambi Nantululu. The time Kintu was returning from Ssese Island, he took around about route passed mountain Elgon. This he did since he wanted to over throw his enemies in order to attack Bbemba’s men with no difficulty. This is the point several people use to mistake Kintu for having come from the east of the country referred to currently as Uganda. Kintu returned to Buganda as a conquering hero with a big force that helped him to reinstate himself as king. There is also a believed that Bemba was a ruthless and merciless ruler. His subjects were by now primed to rebel against him and surely some prominent clan leaders joined Kintu’s invading force. The major ones among these was Mukiibi, the top man of the Lugave clan, who was assigned command of the attacking force. By the time Bemba was put down in the battle, Kintu slept in Bemba’s house as a symbol of his victory. Bbemba had given his house the name Buganda and was situated at Naggalabi Buddo. Therefore Kintu took over leadership of Bemba’s house Buganda and the name finally came to mean every territory that Kintu ruled. Up to today, the time a new king of Buganda is crowned, the ritual takes place at Naggalabi, to remember Kintu’s victory over Bemba.


Kintu found the region not in proper order with only five clans. He modernized them and merged those people he came with and the people he found in the region. At the moment they formed thirteen clans, organized themselves and made the Buganda Kingdom. The five clans Kintu found in the region incorporated among the following Ffumbe clan, Lugave clan, Ngeye clan, Nyonyi Nyange clan and the Njaza clan and they are called Ebika Binansangwa. Kintu organized the people and sent out for a general meeting for every clan leaders who met at Magonga in Busujju on Nnono hill and created a united government with Kintu as their head man. This meeting was of important historic meaning for it was at this meeting that Buganda’s form of governance, and the relationship between the clans and the King was officially agreed upon. The agreement was not written down but it constituted an understanding with in the clans that has been followed from that time. In real meaning it laid down Buganda’s Constitution. The following are some of the major people who were at the meeting:


Bukulu, from Ssese, who chaired the meeting

Kato Kintu, who became King

Mukiibi Ndugwa, of the Lugave clan, whose son Kakulukuku was the first Katikkiro of Buganda

Kisolo, of the Ngonge clan, who also became a Katikkiro of Buganda

Kyaddondo, of the Nvuma clan who was appointed Ssaabaddu

Mwanje, of the Ngo clan

Balasi,

Kagobe, of the Ffumbe clan

Kayimbyokutega, from Kyaggwe and of the Mpeewo clan

Kiwutta Kyasooka, of the Mbogo clan

Nnyininsiko, of the Njovu clan

Bakazirwendo Ssemmandwa, of the Ngeye clan

Kakooto Mbaziira, of the Nnyonyi clan, from Bulimo in Kyaggwe County

Nsereko Namwama, of the Kkobe clan

Kyeya Mutesaasira, of the Ngo clan

Nsumba, of the Mbogo clan

Kisenge, of the Nnyonyi clan, from Mirembe in Kyaggwe County

Kyeyune, of the Nnyonyi clan, from Mirembe in Kyaggwe County

Mubiru, of the Mmamba clan, from Bumogera

Mutasingwa, of the Mbwa clan

Kayimbyobutezi, of the Njaza clan

Having finished the meeting, Bukulu went back to the Ssese Islands. After completing his victory, Kintu set up his palace at Nnono. It is at this moment that he appointed his first government and gave chieftaincies to his famous followers. For this reason, Nnono is one of the most significant cultural and historical sites in Buganda.

A Fetich doctor (Omulubaale) who was responsible for the wellbeing of the Naggalabi which was the traditional name for throne gave one stick (Akati Kamu) to Kintu and ordered him to break it into pieces which Kintu did at once. Afterwards the Fetich put together nine sticks to make a bundle (Kaganda) and also prepared more others to make a number of bundles (Buganda) and told Kintu to break them like he had done with the one stick. Kintu was unable to break the bundles with ease as it had been with one stick and at this time the Mulubaale explained to him that it was quicker to break one stick but it was very hard to break the bundles (Obuganda) and that he must rule his people in BUGANDA and not in single STICKS. From that moment, the famous name was acquired the name Buganda was adopted and Muwaawa dropped. All the people would refer to Kintu’s region of rule as Obuganda Bwa Kintu. When the kingdom was created and acquired the name Buganda, the people in the Kingdom also turned out to be called Baganda for many and Muganda for Singular, they speak Luganda and their culture Kiganda. The love instilled in them by there fore fathers still reigns up to to date. They also spoke the same language and were rarely envious with of each other.

Very many stories and myths are present to explain about the rich but interesting cultural history of Buganda.

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