Uganda Culture Tour & Experience

UGANDA RICH AND DIVERSE CULTURE & BACKGROUND
Situated at the geographical heart of the African continent, Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot, as evidenced by the existence of over 30 different indigenous languages belonging to five distinct linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural moasic of music, art and handicrafts. The country's most ancient inhabitants, confined to hilly southwest, are the Batwa nand Bambuti Pygymies, relics of the hunter-gatherer cultures that once occupied much of the East Africa to leave behind a rich legacy of rock paintings, such as the Nyero Rock Shelter near Kumi.


1. THE CENTRAL UGANDA CULTURE EXPERIENCE
The central region is dominated by the Bantu group specifically the Baganda.
The Buganda monarchy presents one of the best documentation of Kingship in Uganda. The head of the state is the King locally known as Kabaka. The current King of Buganda, His Highness Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II was crowned the 36th Kabaka of Buganda in1993 after his father Sir Edward Mutesa II who died in exile.
The kingdom also constitutes a Parliament known as Lukiiko, comprising mainly elderly heads of its 52 clans. Other people who occupy important positions in the Kingdom include the Queen (Nabagereka), the Prime Minister (Katikiro), the Royal Sister (Nalinya) and the Queen Mother (Namasole)
Traditional Dances
Buganda is renowned for her distinct ceremonial occasions organized for observance, commemoration, inauguration, remembrance or fulfillment of cultural rituals and norms. Some of the commonly (highly recognized) ceremonies in Buganda include: the initiation of twins (okwalula abalongo), the introduction (okwanjula) and the last funeral rite (okwabya olumbe).
It was easier to become polygamous in Buganda than in other parts of Uganda. This was because the bride wealth obligations were not prohibitive unlike before when marriage used to be conducted by parents. For instance, the father of the girl could choose a husband for her without availing her any alternatives.
Dinning
Matooke (banana of the plantain type) is a popular local dish among the Baganda. It is pealed, tied in banana leaves and put in a cooking pan with enough water to steam the the leaves. Later on, the bundle is removed and squeezed to get a smooth soft and golden yellow mash. The banana leaves are used to keep it hot and steamy.


2. EASTERN UGANDA CULTURE EXPERIENCE
The Eastern region is another diverse area comprised of a number of different tribal groups including: Bagisu, Basamia, Basoga, Bagwere, Iteso, Japadhola, and Sebei among others.
Apart from other groups that have Chiefdoms, the Basoga present a distinctive Kingship in Eastern Uganda with their King locally Known as Kyabazinga is elected from the Royal Family to succeed the previous head of state.
The Eastern region is famously known for the renowned Imbalu and Kadodi circumcision ceremony of the Bagisu tribe who settled around the Mount Elgon locally known as Mount Masaba.
Marriage and Family Life
In this region, as well as the rest of the country, dowries are highly valued and are usually in form of cattle, sheep and goats. The amount paid is negotiated among the parents of the new couple-to-be. The higher the dowry, the more value of the bride, although this does not guarantee the success of the marriage.
Ceremonies
The Imbalu is a cultural ceremony practiced by the Bagisu tribe where boys turn into men through circumcision as a traditional ritual. The Imbalu is accompanied by the famous Akadodi dances which are performed by the Basinde (Boys to be circumcised) and the community that accompanes them for a two weeks or one week dances moving from community to community visiting the relatives of the boys to be circumcised.
Tamenhaibunga: This kind of dance is practiced by the Basoga tribe. Tamenhaibunga literally means “good friends drink together but they do not fight each other lest they break the guard (eibuga) that contains the drink. The guard is symbolically used to express the value and fragility of love and friendship. Other dances in Busoga include much faster and youthful version of Temanhaibunga; Eirongo – a slower dance performance to celebrate the birth of twins; Amayebe – which builds physical stamina, especially for men; Enswezi – used to communicate to super naturals and Ekigwo for wrestlers.
Dinning
Kamaleewa: These are tender bamboo shoots which are delicacy among the Bagisu. Usually, after harvest, these shoots are first boiled and later sun dried before cooking. Others include: Atapa, Akaro and sun-dried fish.


3. NORTHERN UGANDA CULTURE EXPERIENCE
The northern region is also a melting pot of quite a number of tribes including: Acholi, Langi, Alur, Madi Kakwa, Ik, Karamajong and Lugbara among others.
The Acholi and Langi tribes are predominant in this region and they predominantly depend on agriculture as their economic activity, with millet and sorghum serving as staple foods.
Marriage and Family Life
Traditionally a young man depends upon his lineage head and elders both for permission to marry and for the material goods required for the bride wealth; elders of the bride's lineage were also much involved in the discussions and negotiations surrounding the marriage.
Ceremonies
Naleyo dance is performed by the Karamajongs where women line up and men strike their chest using fingers as they dance. The Karamajongs are s pastoral community in the north eastern Uganda.
The Raka Raka dance is a famously known dance performed by the Acholi tribe on most of the occasions and celebrations.
Dinning
Akaro: This is made from combination of sorghum, millet and cassava flour mingled in a proportionate quantity of water.
Malakwang: A sour vegetable usually prepared with groundnut paste to form a typical northern meal. Malakwang is best served with sweet potatoes. Other foods include: smoked fish and Ugali.


4. WESTERN UGANDA CULTURE EXPERIENCE
The western region is a region flowing with milk and honey because of its rich tribal cultures that consists of Bakonjo/Bamba, Batooro, Banyankole, Bakiga, Bafumbira, Batwa, Bachwezi among others.
Kingship
The Batooro and Banyoro have a centralized system of government headed by the Omukama. Initially, Tooro was part of Bunyoro, but later broke away. The first King was Kaboyo Kasusunkwazithe actual founder of the Kingdom and currently headed by the World's youngest cultural leader Omukama (King) Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV.
Marriage and Family Life
Ankole in the west is the most popular tribe in terms of prestige and population. The King owned all the cattle and theoretically owned all women. Hima fathers were anxious to call attention to their daughters because the King gave generous wedding gifts. Slim girls were unfit for royalty so those girls whom the King found to be of interest to marry one of his sons were forced-fed on milk.
Traditional Dances
Entogoro: Entogoro is danced by Batooro and Banyoro of western Uganda. The dances takes its name form the pod rattle (locally known as ebinyege) that the boys tie on their lets to make different rhythms as they dance.
Ekitagururo: This is characterized by energetic stamping and tangling rhythms using the feet and aerial arm movements; it is performed by both Banyankole and Bakiga in the South-western region.
Dinning
Eshabwe: A traditional Banyankole dish comprising of ghee, skimmed from milk. This is usually eaten with Akaro. It is a meal one would certainly get acquainted with on a visit to the western parts of Uganda. Other dishes include: Akaro and Firinda.

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