Was Her Magic a Nyabingi Gift or an Epic Hoax?

Muhumuza (c. 1870–1944/45) Muserekande, born c. 1870, was one of the wives of King Rwabugiri of Rwanda. On his death in 1895 there was a succession dispute led by the Beega clan who championed Musinga, a son aged 15. Muserekande escaped, changed her name to Muhumuza (“She who gives rest from tyranny”) and attempted to…

96 Years, 114 Children, 6 Songs

“Katarinaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaa,” you could hear a voice rise from Tom’s Homestay in the middle of Lake Bunyonyi, right there on the southwestern edge of Uganda. Sitting in a circle around a glowing campfire on a small hill north of the marshy bottleneck that divides Habukomi Island, trekkers from around the world listened to the traditional zither…

Shame on You, Old Chaps

“One has to admire the English: they managed to run almost half a billion people and control a quarter of the world’s land—all that from a relatively insignificant island somewhere between Europe and America. Extreme self-confidence—if only Africa had more of that!” I read in the Gorilla Highlands Interactive eBook under the heading “Well Done,…

Bakiga Are Tough but Not Rough

You ask any typical Ugandan about the Bakiga people and the first thing they will tell you is that the Bakiga are rough and strong by nature. Some will even say that it’s a proven fact that the Bakiga women beat up their husbands. True to some extent, but not entirely because depending on the situation…

Elders’ Comfort and Happiness

This is the fourth in a series of texts on Bakiga traditions that we will be posting every Wednesday; they all come from our award-winning Gorilla Highlands Interactive eBook. Relationships between the various people in the Bakiga compound, lineage and clan were bound by many formal rights and prohibitions. Elders got the most respect and…

“Bakiga”, a Colonial Invention

The term ‘Bakiga’ was first used by the English to refer to all independent Kigezi clans, who had never called themselves Bakiga previously. Local people thus learned to see themselves as Bakiga during the colonial period and it became a source of identity and pride after independence. Currently about 95% of the Kabale District population…