the capital of Bugisu. A giant in its own right. Mbale, a city located about 230 Kilometers east of Kampala is the picture of pride and calm. Yes, a beautiful show-off! But the shy kind, almost never out there but remains fulfilling. Like a gateway to ‘heaven’, the eastern town has views to behold. As soon as you step out of the Tirinyi road and step foot into the town realms, a view unfolds before you.
A hill that could pass for a mountain with a strip of waters sauntering down shows face. It seems to define the city, appearing on nearly every angle, like a guardian of sorts. No, that is not Mount Elgon, it is Wanale hill. Calm and watchful, again, a beautiful show-off. Mount Elgon, one of the highest peaks in East Africa, is about 60km north-east of Mbale, but still the pride of the east.
Until it was split into many little districts, Mbale was home to plenty of beautiful spots. Today, it sits shy surrounded by all this beauty, not too far away. For example, Mount Elgon National Park which provides a gateway for those looking to access Kapchorwa’s Siipi Falls from the east was in Mbale. Together with the luscious green Mount Elgon, a mountain that borders Kenya to the East was in Mbale, the National park is a must-see for every tourist seeking put the eastern district.
Bulegeni and Butandinga Cliffs, though 50 Km away, were still in Mbale and boy are they nature’s own little whispers of beauty. Nice that the Bufumbo and Wanala Forest Reserves stay within the district realms. And that the tomb of the colonial darling Semei Kakungulu Tombs is just 5 Km away. One of the favorites of the locals, you should try a picnic up there.
What makes Mbale work
The thing is, Mbale provides travelers with all the amenities they need to be comfortable, while still allowing for a touristic experience just minutes and no more than a few hours away. Take Simu and Sisi falls, for example, just minutes away from this buzzy eastern town.
And in case you are wondering if you can camp whilst out in the east, then worry no more, Bulukyeke-Bukigai Hills sit complete with a campsite and decent enough shelter should the outdoors turn gloomy. The place is bursting with history, a favorite of the colonialists that sought out Mbale back then. Don’t forget the Kakoro Rock Paintings, history comes to life there.
Should it be during the cultural season of circumcision, please try to seek out the Mutoto Circumcision site which luckily is within the town. Here, dance and culture and celebration, a peek into the Bugisu culture really is what happens. Young boys turn men, the drum beckons, the locals’ wiggle, and all but culture are what defines the moment. The alcohol is in plenty, it’s a festival, one permitted by the gods of Bugisu out here.
The accommodation in Mbale is tailored to fit every budget. Yes, you will find rooms from a little lower than $10 all the way to $100. Most of these places will have food and allow for quick access to the city’s nightlife spots. Street food is mostly sold alongside loud music. The restaurants serving local food should mostly be done by 9 pm, so try to catch all the locals’ meals then, unless on special orders. Don’t forget to try out Malewa, a delicacy by the Bagisu, a tribe that calls Mbale home. But also, Mbale is home to the ripe bananas, arguably the best in the country, support the vendors if you can.
When it comes to transport, private cabs for hire can be sought in nearly every public transport stage and could range from $40-100 a day. If you are looking to have the real Mbale city experience, then remember that Mbale could be one of the biggest bicycle cities in Uganda. No, for a self-ride, out there, they are called the boda-boda. They are also motorcycles, these still bear the name boda-boda. In fact, most of the riders have been licensed by the municipality, and stages are gazetted for them.
When seeking out Mbale from Kampala city, there are buses and commuter taxis headed there every single hour. These can be found in the bus park and old taxi park and a fee of no more than $6 should suffice. Enjoy the district with one of the best temperatures in the country.Read More
mwenge Bigele. Get drunk on a ripe banana beverage, or just bask in the glory that is the Buganda culture. As its name suggests, the brewing process involves stepping. Mwenge is alcohol, Bigele is feet. But first, let me tell you about Ssalongo Kasanvu Kakeeto.
We met at the Buganda Tourism Expo where he had gone to exhibit Mwenge Bigere. However, something stood out that would soon switch our conversation from the drink to a thing. Elyato, which is its Kiganda name, is a very fascinating artifact.
A wooden boat-like article designed for brewing. Inside it, ripe bananas were mashed dutifully with bare feet till they morphed into overflowing sweet juice. The juice, then, would be fermented and turned into Toonto or Mwenge Bigele: the local brew. It’s one of the best brews ever invented by man. It’s strong, indigenous, sweet, and too hard a drink capable of flooring a grownup man.
These boats are still in existence in the rural areas even when the world moved on. Civilization is cutting through the rural areas like cancer, but these boats have remained. Nowadays, many families in the villages own them. This wasn’t the case in the yesteryears, especially among Buganda. It was exclusive to a few. The very rich to be exact. This begs the question, why? “This is because the process of making it was very demanding, both in terms of time and resources,” Kakeeto offered.
According to the Senior Administrator with Mutima Club, an association at the forefront of preserving Buganda’s cultures, it would start by felling down a mature hard-wood tree with a thick stem. Canarium Schwinfurthii, locally known as the Mpafu tree was of stronger preference as it never cracks even when over-exposed to sunshine.
Thusly, it stands the test of time. Using heavy-duty traditional tools especially axes and pangas, a craftsman with a reputation for paying attention to detail would shove a hole inside the tree, expertly, attentively yet artistically. The edges were/are sliced off and molded nicely. It is then smoothened on the surface. He would continue shoveling to create a hollow section with a wide base and narrow entrance. “That way, the stomp wouldn’t flow over when being mashed using the feet.” He says
Finally, a huge chunk is yanked out, leaving it (boat) somewhat hollow. It’s in that hole that the ripe bananas are later thrown and mashed with sorghum, a core ingredient of the beer. On the other hand, the outside skin would be repeatedly scrapped to give it a more appealing look. The outcome of this hard work was light and impressive boat edged by two handles known as Ensanda for easy mobility.
“Due to this complexity that comes with making it, only a few used to have it. In many instances, a village would have less than two.” As such, sharing was the way to go. This spirit of sharing created unbeaten solidarity among locals. In appreciation, the party who had borrowed would reward its owner with a reasonable portion of the final fruitage.
This attracted a great deal of respect. The ground upon which it was laid for mashing was always carpeted with banana leaves and stem. Partly, this practice was meant to lessen its wear and tear. At the end of the day, it would be kept on an elevated stand like a souvenir. From time to time, its outer wall would be smeared with cow dung for preservation. On the other hand, its inside was preserved using sup from the very bananas mashed inside.
Granted both sexes were free to savor its rich taste, but it was abominable for the female to participate in certain phases of its making. Such included the mashing phase. According to Mwami Ssonko Emmanuel, Secretary Njonge Clan, the exclusivity to men was because women don’t have as much strength as men.
They agreed that mashing the bananas required so much strength. “Short of that, it is bound to go bad in less than a few days or even hours.” he worries. That aside, many didn’t feel comfortable having women take charge of the process as they might do so while in their periods. Sexist as this was, they argued that they didn’t want to risk contaminating the drink.Read More
Like a treasure, it stays shy away from the buzzing Gulu town. Many know her as the 140-year-old scenic setting where Senegalese-American R&B superstar Akon shot the video for his song, Mama Africa, in July 2008. The four-minute video attempts to recapture the agonizing crucifixion that the Arab slave traders subjected their captives to between the mid-18th century and the end of the 19th century. This is FortI can never forget our arrival at her bushy parking lot, which is a block from its gate-less entrance. We were welcomed by Salvatoria Oringa, the calm caretaker of Fort Patiko. He suggested we take a stroll around the two-kilometer-long pits surrounding the fort. The pits, which measure 16ft in depth and 16ft in width, were dug to make it impossible for slaves to escape from the fort — just in case they beat its tough security deployment.
As we advanced, we were swallowed up by towering wild grass and shrubs. By the time we maneuvered our way through, our clothes were covered with blackjack needles whose sharp tips pricked us mercilessly. We were also not spared by the thirsty mosquitoes in the pits.
Oringa said this humiliating walk was purposed to give us (tourists) a pinch of “the walk to oppression”, that the slaves endured as they trudged thousands of miles to Fort Patiko from different parts of central and East Africa.
Following these words, dead silence fell over our group, as odd imaginations going back to the slaves’ days filled our minds. Unlike us, who were fully dressed, the slaves were always stripped of their clothes.
Because there were no defined roads at the time, they were made to walk for miles in such vegetation, not to mention impenetrable forests which were often habitats to deadly animals.
When Oringa noticed we were getting carried away by these emotions, he was quick to re-route our attention to more adventure at the fort. In a hoarse voice, he asked us to follow him to the heart of the fort and there we found three roofless doubled-roomed houses built exclusively with sedimentary rocks and cement.
They were built on a low rocky hill, so the Arab architects saw no need to cement the floor. In fact, they made the most of this location by polishing the rocky floors smoothly, after which they creatively made striking inscriptions on it to give its occupants a feeling of home in this otherwise isolated setting.
“The roof was made out of thatch, so the houses enjoyed a chilled shade whose temperatures compare to that of today’s first-class air-conditioned suites,” Oringa explained.
Adjacent to these houses is two towering rocks at whose base there are dug-out caves that used to house the slaves. However, unlike the slave trader’s houses which were spacious and well ventilated, I hardly found a thing to admire about the caves.
It appears like more emphasis was put on digging them horizontally inwards than vertically, just like coal mines. Their height is about three feet high meaning the occupants (the slaves) could only get inside by crawling on their bellies. The cave was always jammed to capacity because accommodation was not enough for the hundreds of slaves who were held hostage here.
Tales of death
Oringa explained that from time to time, the slaves would be assembled at the fort’s sloppy compound where the beautiful, healthy, and muscular ones would be separated from the ugly, sick, weak, and skinny.
The selected lucky ones would be dispatched for the Egypt and Sudan slave markets where they would be sold off to slave markets in the present-day Republic of South Sudan like merchandise. The unfortunate rejects who could not fetch high prices on the market would be executed by firing squad at the open torture chambers. “They were not set free because the traders feared that they would mobilize the local communities to fight off their cold-blooded Arab masters/traders,” Oringa added.
In a move to make the executions more entertaining, trumpeters would climb up the 18ft rock which overlooks the torture chambers. Up there, they would blow aloud trumpets to cheer the executors as they did their job. After these slaves were killed, their corpses were never given a decent burial. Instead, the bodies would be dumped in the pits surrounding the Fort where vultures would move in to finish the job.
All over the compound, one can observe sharp cuts on the rocks and Oringa explained that these impressions were made by the axes which were used to behead the slaves. “The lucky ones who survived the axe, were worked like donkeys yet fed on little food. Men were usually tasked with digging out more caves for accommodation while women did domestic chores like grinding tones of millet — sometimes till their hands bled.”
Locals believe that though slave inhumanity at Patiko happened centuries back, the spirits of those killed still haunt the fort. Simon Olweny, a resident in the neighborhood of Patiko claims that the nights are punctuated with wails of the ghosts of the slaves who are often heard pleading for their lives to be spared.
The sun shines at last
By the 1840s, it was impossible to maintain a deaf ear to cries against slavery. It was around this time that Sir Samuel Baker, an abolitionist adventurer, and representative of the Egyptian Khedive arrived in Acholi land.
With his band of Nubian fighters, he fought off slave traders from the fort around 1870 and took it over as a station base for his campaign. The same fort was later used by Charles Gordon who replaced Baker as Governor of the Equatorial Province and later by Emin Pasha. It was later used as a prison by the colonial government before falling into disuse for many years after independence.
Other tour activities at Patiko
In other news, Fort Patiko is beautiful from end to end, with amazing scenery which offers great photography. It boasts of lots of rocks that slaves were made to curve into models of different creatures such as sharks, the map of Africa, Lake Victoria, and human heads among others.
The hilly fort also has antiquities such as the grinding stones that the slaves used for grinding millet. Florence Baker, whom the abolitionist had rescued from a slave market in present-day Bulgaria, left inscriptions of the Holy cross on the rocks at Patiko. Exploring the old fort gives one a feel of a day in the life of a slave.
How to get there
For someone traveling on a shoestring budget, you need about sh150,000 to tour Fort Patiko. One way bus fare to Gulu is sh25,000. Fort Patiko is about a 50-minute ride from Gulu on boda boda and costs between sh4,000 and sh15,000. The entrance to the Fort is sh10,000.
Unfortunately, there is no accommodation and there are no restaurants around the fort. Tourists are advised to bring their requirements such as food, airtime, water among others.
Budget accommodation facilities around Gulu town range from sh15,000 to sh70,000 per night, while luxurious facilities range between sh60,000 and sh200,000 per night.Read More
The music they say is food for the soul. The Buganda Kingdom is no exception! The drum, an instrument used to command the dancers is mostly a signature tune of the Buganda dance. However, did you know that a slum in Kabowa, Ndeba called Mujaguzo Ku Ngoma, is home to said drums? Many remain oblivious to this little but widely important fact.
In fact, right from the city center, you will be amazed by the ignorance-stricken faces when asked for directions.
They imagine the place doesn’t exist, yet only minutes after the Kabaka’s palace and lake, bundled in the dusty roads in Ndeba, lies this vast land property that was in the past known as Ettaka Ly’Engoma where the special house/palace of the royal drums is erected. While it provided entertainment, music was also used for communication by the Buganda Kingdom.
For instance, songs like Gwanga Mujje and Sagala Agalamidde were used to invite the community to action. Daniel Kimoomera Mukasa, a custodian at Kabowa Ku Mujaguzo, says music was vital in the palace and thus was the presence of all the assigned instrumentalists. He narrates how there was always a different sound played for a particular event or time of day.
Unlike the prime minister who is chosen by the Kabaka, Kimoomera a title given to custodians at Mujaguzo Ku Ngoma is hereditary and only held by people from the Butiko clan. The common story going around is that Mujaguzo is the biggest drum in the palace and is usually hit by the Kabaka on celebrations. However, Kimoomera asserts that the public has got this fact wrong; “Mujaguzo is the group of royal drums, it’s not just a lone drum.”
Mujaguzo is the collection that comprises Entenga, Entamivu, Namanyonyi, and Kawulugumu among other drums that were common in the palace. “Of course some of the drums were destroyed especially in the years when the kingdom had been abolished but the major ones still exist,” Kimoomera says.
Entenga and Entamivu are some of the sounds that suffered over the years; they have barely gone quiet, entenga was used drummed to entertain the Kabaka, it would soothe him to sleep. Entenga is a set of fifteen pentatonic drums with twelve of them tuned to the notes of a xylophone. Thus in a full song played on the drums, one can experience the percussion, bass, rhythms, and multiple melodies played by six people.
The mujaguso is king! Remember, the Baganda believe that two kings can never spend a night in the same house. How dare two kings spend the night in the same palace? So according to Kimoomera, Mujagozo’s palace was originally located next to the Kabaka’s palace in Lubaga, in the area that currently hosts the Catholic Church cathedral. However, when Mutesa I gave out the lands to the Catholic Church, the palace was relocated to Mengo and the drums’ palace has now ended up in Kabowa in Ndeba, which was once a forest.
Kimomera adds that the land was kept as a forest with just two houses for a really long time; that’s how it was saved from destruction during the 1966 crisis; “The area was a very big garden with only two houses in the middle. During the crisis, Obote’s army was looking for things associated with the Kingdom but they couldn’t get to those houses.” Mujaguzo has since survived many other political and social crises that have come and gone in Uganda, despite sometimes finding Buganda in the middle of the crisis.
The house that keeps the Kawulugumu drum is of utmost importance. In the case of a new kabaka’s coronation, it’s in this house that the first ceremonies occur. Apparently, the old Kawulugumu is stripped of its skin and replaced with a new one to signify that the old drum (kabaka) is gone and a new one has been enthroned. The ceremonies end with the new kabaka hitting Kawulugumu for the first time; “By the time he goes to Nagalabi, he’s a complete king.”
Despite the rich history and numerous years after the Buganda kingdom was restored, many things have gone wrong from within. The general Kabowa area doesn’t befit the majesty Kimoomera describes. In fact, the two houses that keep the drums are squeezed within a fast-growing slum. It’s said officials from the kingdom were behind the massive sale that reduced the once glorious palace to a compound sharing a fence with an old garage at the rear end, and a car parking on the other side.
As it is now, with modernity birthing generations that don’t hold onto culture as much, Kimoomera can only hope places like Kabowa don’t become shadows, forgotten artifacts of sorts, not important. He prays so hard!Read More
Are you looking to honeymoon? Is it love you want to celebrate? See, love will bring out the best in us! It really does. But first, it fills us with happiness that uplifts, especially during low moments.
And what better way to express this love than by taking a boat cruise? Uganda’s lakes and rivers are more than just waters, they come with scenarios to die for. Tranquility takes center, the breeze is soothing, the beauty simply out of this world and the experience sticks to mind.
By view Uganda
It captures your heart with intriguing sights and sounds of Lake Mule. Found in Kisoro District(South-Western Uganda), it is a scenic crater lake that has a healing effect on the mind, body, and soul.
Take a boat cruise in Murchison falls National Park, we dare you! Not that it is a bad dare, the thing is, this is more of an exploration of the wildlife of this park, and thus more than just a tour. It is no wonder it attracts over 200,000 tourists annually! The cruise takes place on River Nile aboard a big boat with a lower and upper deck. Imagine how electrifying it would be to cruise on the world’s longest river? Yes, a wonder that that started flowing even before Moses freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Imagine that!
When the boat docks, we guarantee you will be smiling. For emphasis, we shall repeat: By the end of this two-hour trip, the memories you would have collected will leave you smiling. It starts with encountering of plenty wildlife whilst still ashore; reptiles, birds, you name them, exciting! But that you will soon learn is just a teaser; this entire experience is capped with thought-inducing sunsets and pure relief. A tangle with nature, a sun so soothing you wonder into the what-ifs of life. You live and let live whilst on the waters of Lake Albert.
First of all, safety is germane! The entire excursion is a tale of a well-organized and executed affair, complete with attention to safety. Before we delve into it, not that Lake Victoria is one of the very few freshwater bodies in the world that are still lonely save for a lone canoe in a distance. This should allow you to rediscover what you like about each other without feeling like your privacy is compromised.
Are you feeling plain old? Did plain stick maybe? Or you just bored of the relationship, then this adventure is exactly what you need. In fact, put it on your bucket list for valentine, you will not regret it! It entails overriding 8 major rapids of the river that are well spaced over a scenic 24-kilometer stretch. Imagine that!Read More
Three things stand out in the one thousand shillings notes, but hard to miss is the historical attributes therein. First is the Historical Monument, a thing that graces all the other notes. True, like all the other currencies, the back of the one thousand note bears an illustration of the Equator. This is in honor of the fact that Uganda is among the 11 countries in the world that boasts of both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Special thanks to the Equator that passes through it. The world has 195 countries. Among the well-developed vantage points where you can experience the Equator in Uganda include Masaka, Entebbe, and Mountain Rwenzori.
Tacked away somewhere is the material Culture that is Nyero Rock Paintings, or as the locals would prefer, Nyero rock paintings. It is not every day that one gets to see prehistoric rock art that is untouched. Kumi District is home to such paintings. Better known as Nyero rock, the paintings which date to before 1250 CE are believed to have been dyed by the Batwa. They are a pygmy tribe that lived in Eastern Uganda prior to the arrival of its present occupants, Nilotic and Luo. The artworks which enrich the cultural heritage of Ugandans are made of sets of concentric circles in white, alongside drawings in the shape of ‘acacia pods’.
Fondly called AKasa, this note is a perfect picture of the flora and fauna-Antelopes. Its brownish color is in harmony with that of the wildlife species it features. Most of these are in the antelope family, inclusive of the Ugandan kobs. You are almost guaranteed of seeing these species anytime you drop by Murchison, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo National Parks. Ooh, there’s Kidepo valley too.
However, beyond celebrating art, the note implores Ugandans to conserve their History and eco-tourism attractions, as symbolized by the rock paintings and wildlife. Short of this, this note is a reminder not to lose to the direction and become critically endangered, as seen in the population of the Batwa. According to the National Population and Housing Census (2002), the Batwa population in Uganda is 3,500. It is estimated that they were over 10,000 a century back.Read More
Recently, a 10-km long deterrent electric fence covering the periphery of the section of Queen Elizabeth National Park was commission by President Yoweri Museveni, the Uganda Media Center has confirmed.
The area which lies in Rubirizi District received this new development as a measure to keep away wildlife animals from raiding farmers’ crops.
This comes to a fulfillment of a pledge by President Museveni to help the communities with their wildlife crisis in relation to crop destruction. Though now at 10km, the aim is that at its completion, the fence is 40km long. The fence that starts at Kakari in Kyambura Gorge is an intervention to stave off human and wildlife conflict that especially targets elephants, which are the most notorious marauding crops of the communities surrounding Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The president informed the gathering at Kyenzaza playground in Rubirizi District the intended 40km will cover between Kicwamba and Kigarama. He soon also added that in the future government will also install CCTV cameras for surveillance purposes against poaching activities.
He then commended the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities along with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Board for implementing the long-awaited government program. He used the occasion to warn the communities neighboring Queen Elizabeth National Park to avoid tampering with the electric-powered fence saying anyone who does that risks being electrocuted. Before he continued, he re-echoed the warning to make sure everyone present understood.
Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities Minister, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu observed that the fence is a great government initiative that eliminates the conflict between humans and wildlife species in the park. He clarified that the fence is very effective because it serves to shock and scare away animals but not to kill them. It was important that he added that the community needed to understand that the government was not harming wildlife.Read More
What started as a drive would climax in an event-packed coronation for the Kabaka, a king in the Buganda kingdom. First a man, Abubakar Ssentongo would get himself a house. Ssentongo, also a subject of the Kabaka who lives in the Katabi sub-county is an old man battling a severe spinal cord impairment.
Sadly with over 10 children and a wife to provide for, the man had found himself in a dire situation. So, together with Habitat for Humanity, and as part of his drive to the coronation, the Kabaka Ronald Mwenda Mutebi gifted Ssentongo a house. Yes, a house!
Fast-forward to the coronation day, the Sultan of Sokoko Caliphate in Nigeria, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar was present in the event graced by thousands. The extremely excited crowd gathered at Nkumba University, in Katabi town within in Wakiso District. As is the norm, a county is graced with the opportunity to organize and host the event, and this year, it was Busiro county, ardent subjects of their king.
With the theme ‘the role of Cultural Leaders in Providing Health and Education’ the event seemed to have attracted a host of local politicians. Hard to miss was vocal singer cum legislator, Robert Kyagulanyi better known as Bobi Wine. Though he couldn’t attend, the President was also very well represented by his Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who brought with him a Shs50million contributions towards the coronation preparations.
Note that this event is the anniversary of the day the Kabaka Ronald Mwenda Mutebi was crowned king. It must also be remembered that the cultural leader was first coroneted still in Busiro county in 1993. This came as a commitment by government to re-instate traditional leaders and let monarchies thrive within our national politics.Read More
Obukalabanda! Call it something tough! There was a time life was simple. When the air was cleaner and fashion breezy. Yes, it might have been eons ago, but it was a perfect time. A time when the world was effortlessly beautiful, and wooden sandals were en vogue. Also fondly called, obukalabanda by the people from the central. This was before today’s Gucci.
Far away from it in fact. Miu Miu and Jimmy Choo’s of this world didn’t even exist, not at all. An era where shoes were a myth and walking barefoot was not a problem.
So people got creative, they figured that they had to find a way of insulating their feet from the rough ground. It had to be something that would weather stones and thorns, it had to be strong. Something wooden, mahogany for the feet, and so they birthed the wooden sandals. Yes, these were sandals made out of wood.
To flirter and provide comfort, they would cut it into a foot-shaped base and design a little ‘anchor’ on which the big toe and index toe would hold. Yeah, we know, we agree too that it sounds hectic and uncomfortable, but it was on in-thing. These sandals were fashionable and durable. To adorn them was to have made it in life, never mind that the two toes felt like over-worked donkeys at the end of the day, these shoes rocked.
96-year-old Agwang Philomena chuckles at how sore her toes felt, but as a daughter of a clan chief, she dared not step out of the compound without them. “I am telling you those shoes would hurt the toes, especially for us who were heavy,” she laughingly recalls. “But any girl wearing them was of a higher class, just like we looked at the women who went to school and became teachers in our village.”
Agwang remembers how hard you had to scrub the feet before wearing the sandal. “There was this small stone outside the bathroom, we would spend hours scrubbing our feet there,” Agwang who hails from Bukedea District chuckles. “You can’t wear wooden shoes and again have torn legs!”
These shoes many agree could stand all kinds of weather and all kinds of surfaces; rough or smooth. They mirrored class and style. If you owned a pair, you belonged to society’s creme. Purists loathed them for their ugly shape, but who minded the shape, anyway? People loved them anyhow. But when civilization knocked on the door, they have wiped off the face of the earth.Read More
Bwola. A dance with heart. True soul. A dance of pride, showcase, and just a little more pride. A leap here and there, but done with technique. Only for those with well-woven talents. Not just anyone, no! Bwola, the Acholi traditional dance for royalty.
Fun, entertaining, and brings with it cultural freshness. No wonder it was a preserve for entertaining traditional chiefs on the day they took their places. Also, specially preserved for other palace events among the Acholi. The dancers take this seriously, the look is as important as the skill, it must command attention.
Dancers adorn warriors’ worrisome traditional attire with feathers on their heads depicting nothing, but a strong cultural heritage. Feathers signify royalty. Voluptuous, traditional sounds sear through as dancers leap and jump and fashionably wobble on the ground like a well-choreographed dance troupe. They make a beeline and file and dance leaning towards the instrumentation usually played by someone in the middle.
They wiggle. They dance happily and proudly. The treat is as much in their faces as it is in the skill. A display of enjoyment and just reserve; as if they want to let go but must also control themselves. A tease of sorts, a bit of strength and radiance merged into a bowl of authentic Ugandan showcase. The spirit of the Acholi is in every move, their resilience ever does pronounce. Again, Bwola is a dance of pride!
What a traditional monument; a pillar of Acholi culture. It depicts strong warrior skills, how Africans are fierce and fearless, how Africans are brave and ready to attack, no matter the magnitude of the enemy. It may look strange, but it isn’t; it is a dance celebrated by the Acholi people. It shows nothing, but how people confronted their enemies – with unbridled brevity.
With quite the captivating routine, non-Acholi enjoy the Bwola dance as well. It is performed at weddings and parties. It is always performed by a bunch of traditional dancers who entertain guests leaping, wiggling, and pulling moves no ‘new school’s dancers will easily match. It is a unique dance. Traditional yet enjoyable and easy on the eye. It is a cultural practice that bonds people, strengthens marriages, and entertains guests.
The Bwola dance can only be required to Ankole’s Ekitaguriro and Bugisu’s Kadodi. It bonds people, strengthens marriages, and entertains guests, royal guests. Next time you’re at a wedding in Uganda, more especially in the Acholi region, look out for the Bwola dance. Should you spot it anywhere, then don’t miss it! The Bwola dance is en vogue. Call it the 21st Century break dance performed in Uganda where traditional meets are popular in dance matrimony.Read More