Being one of the most ancient kingdoms in Uganda, Busoga Kingdom has a political, social and economic organization similar to that of other inter-acastrian kingdoms. It is made up of five politically organized districts that like Bugiri, Kamuli, Mayuge, Iganga and Jinja. Jinja was turned into a municipal council which is the central part of Jinja and the industrial hub of Busoga. The Kingdome is led by a traditional king known as the Kyabazinga and it can best be explored on our Uganda Cultural Safaris.
Social Organization of the Basoga People
The Basoga love living in harmony with each so as to keep their brotherhood. Since time memorial, they have been living in small homesteads comprising of the father, mother, children and relatives. This kingdom is part of the large communities with similar traditional norms, culture and origin. These large families or communities are referred to as clans. And as long as they shared these, their sense freedom was complete. The Basoga from time to time have lived as peace-loving people who live in harmony with each other and to-date they keep on extending it to visitors.
A number of factors contributed to the trend of events. They included mainly factors ranging from famine and safety for their lives and property. Currently, these factors continue to affect and define the population mobility in the kingdom in addition to quest for employment and social amenities.
Due to the changes in the demographical trends, very many people have moved in urban and peri-urban areas of Busoga kingdom because of the above reasons. Towns like Jinja, Iganga plus their neighboring areas are some of the areas that keep on to facing high levels of immigration. Imigrants join town life looking for jobs, security for their lives and food.
Jinja Turns into the Capital of Busoga Kingdom
In the 1920 and 70s, Jinja, Busoga’s capital city, turned out to be a very important economic town. In this period, it changed into an industrial town with the stead high cotton production, completion of Uganda railway and Owen falls dam. Because of these factors Jinja turned into an agro-industrial centre boosting over 46 factories, a number of cottage industries and perfectly set up infrastructure. Due to these developments, very many people were attracted in form of workers from the rural areas of Busoga to work in those factories, assist in housekeeping or in doing other urban development related activities. Externally, several people came from the neighboring areas of Busoga. Among the new comers were families of Asian origin who arrived in Busoga with the aim of doing business. Estates like Mpumudde and Walukuba were set up to accommodate the rising population. Other services like piped water, electricity, roads, hospitals and schools were also brought nearer to people to serve the population.
However in villages the greatest number of people, with the assured market in towns, dealt in agriculture. They planted both cash and food crops like cotton, coffee, bananas, potatoes and cassava, fruits and vegetables. Their daily income increased plus the way of life which drastically improved and Busoga kingdom raised its revenue and set up more infrastructures. The people of Busoga forgot about subsistence system of life and changed to real economic production even coveted by Europeans.
The Pre-colonia Era in Busoga Region
During the pre-colonial era, a number of people left their traditional lands. State structures vanished. A number of clans and states decimated and people moved into Busoga in large numbers in this century, moving with them traditions and cultures of their origin.
Some noted outcomes of these movements were Marjory families and epidemics, which started within and the nearby areas. Slave trade 19th Century decimated the state and confused the trend of development. While the development of commerce and industry especially in the colonial era.
During the 19th Century, one of the principle routes along which Europeans traveled from the coast to Buganda passed through the Southern part of Busoga. From John Speke and James Grant, Sir Gerald Portal, F.D Lugard, J.R. Macdonald, and Bishop Tucket all noted the country was plentifully supplied with food and was densely settled as a result.
On the other hand, between 1898 and 1901, the first indications of sleeping sickness were reported.
During 1906, orders were passed to desert the region. Even though they tried to clear the area, the epidemic persisted in force up to 1910. Because of this, most of the heavily populated port of Busoga, the home land of more than 200,000 persons in the 19th Century, was completely cleared of the population in the ten years. Lubas palace at Bukaleba, also the coveted European fruit mission, collapsed and relocated to other parts of Busoga. South Busoga intitulated about one third of the land area of Busoga, and, in 1910, South Busoga was cacant. In the 1920s and 1930s, some of the evacuees who survived the epidemic began to return to their original land. Still, in 1940 a new outbreak of sleeping sickness resurfaced in the area, and it was only in 1956 that relocation engineered by the government started again, but things were not going to be the same again. Few Basoga came back to their traditional lands.
The results of the catastrophe were that the Southern part of Busoga, the area somehow corresponding to what Johnston, delimited as the most deadly populated area, was (Governor) almost uninhabited. More areas originally attacked by sleeping sickness, including the eastern margins of Bukooli and Busiki conties were obviously depopulated too.
Several Famines led to substantial population movements, a number of areas in northeastern Busoga and in the close by Bukandi district across the Mpologoma river were constantly affected by famines – 1898 – 1900, 1907, 1908 – 1917 – 1918 and 1944. Population in these areas reduced, a number of people, falling victims to the famines as the survivors migrated to other areas for safety.
The result of these movements were apparent growth in population density in the central area of Busoga and peri-urban areas of Busoga. Many Basoga left their homeland in the same period, settling in other districts. The demographic profile of Busoga today is, as a consequence of all these developments.
Today Busoga has a population of over 2.7 million people. If you wish to do a safari in Uganda along and visit Busoga Kingdom please visit http://gorillatrekking.org/