KWABLA has entered into partnerships with artisans of the Buganda tribal culture from the provinces of Masaka, Mpigi and Mubende in the country of Uganda. To browse KWABLA's catalogue of goods or listing of artisans from the Buganda tribal culture, click on the icons at the bottom of the page.
Buganda is the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda. The three million Buganda people make up the largest Ugandan ethnic group, although they represent only about 17% of the total population. The name Uganda, the Swahili term for Buganda, was adopted by British officials in 1894 when they established the Uganda Protectorate, centered in the Kingdom of Buganda. The boundaries of the traditional Bugandan Kingdom are marked by Lake Victoria on the south, the Victoria Nile River on the east, and Lake Kyoga on the north. The Bugandan people speak the language Luganda, and it is the second most popular language spoken in Uganda after English.
The Bugandan nation grew rapidly in power in the 18th and 19th centuries becoming the dominant kingdom in the region. It is important to distinguish that the Bugandan nation was never conquered by colonial armies; rather the powerful king (called a Kabaka), Mwanga, agreed to protectorate status. At the time, Mwanga claimed territory as far west as Lake Albert, and he considered his agreement with Great Britain to be an alliance between equals. Bugandan armies went on to help establish colonial rule in other areas, and Bugandan agents served as tax collectors throughout the protectorate. Trading centers in Buganda became important towns in the protectorate, and the Bugandans took advantage of the opportunities provided by European commerce and education. When Uganda gained its independence in 1962 from the British, the Bugandan people had achieved the highest standard of living and the highest literacy rate in the country and Uganda's early history was written from the perspective of the Buganda and the colonial officials who became accustomed to dealing with them.
Buganda social organization is based upon descent through males. Four or five generations of descendants of one man, related through male forebears, constitute a patrilineage. A group of related lineages constituted a clan. Clan leaders can summon a council of lineage heads, and council decisions affect all lineages within the clan. Many of these decisions regulate marriage, which has always been between two different lineages, forming important social and political alliances for the men of both lineages. Lineage and clan leaders also help maintain efficient land use practices, and they inspire pride in the group through ceremonies and remembrances of ancestors. There are approximately 52 recognized clans in the Bugandan tribal culture each with their own flag depicting their own symbol which ususally comes in animal form though clans can be represented by other traditional objects and relics. Some examples of Bugandan clans are the Nte Clan symbolized by the ankole cow, the Nkula Clan symbolized by the white rhino, the Ngaali Clan symbolized by the crested crane, the Mpologoma Clan symbolized by the lion, the Balangira Clan symbolized by a drum, and the Ngeye Clan symbolized by the colobus monkey.
The family in Buganda is often described as a microcosm of the kingdom. The father is revered and obeyed as head of the family. His decisions are generally unquestioned. A man's social status is determined by those with whom he establishes patron/client relationships, and one of the best means of securing this relationship is through one's children. Buganda children, some as young as three years old, are sent to live in the homes of their social superiors, both to cement ties of loyalty among parents and to provide avenues for social mobility for their children. Even in the 1980s, Buganda children were considered psychologically better prepared for adulthood if they had spent several years living away from their parents at a young age.
Buganda culture tolerates social diversity more easily than many other African societies. Even before the arrival of Europeans, many Bugandan villages included residents from outside Buganda. Some had arrived in the region as slaves, but by the early 20th century, many non-Bugandan migrant workers stayed in Buganda to farm. Marriage with non-Bugandans is fairly common and is divorce as it has been estimated that one-third to one-half of all adults marry more than once during their lives.
Uganda achieved independence on October 9th, 1962 with the Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Mutesa II, as its first president. However, the monarchy of Buganda and much of its autonomy was revoked and Mutesa II was forced to flee Uganda in 1967 after a coup d’etat. After decades of political turmoil and fighting in Uganda, the Bugandan monarchy was finally restored in 1993, with the son of Mutesa II, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II as its Kabaka (king). The Buganda nation is now a constitutional monarchy within the country of Uganda, with a parliament called Lukiiko. The Lukiiko has a sergeant-at-arms, speaker and provisional seats for the royals, 18 county chiefs, cabinet ministers, 52 clan heads, invited guests and a gallery. The Kabaka only attends two sessions in a year; first when he is opening the first session of the year and second, when he is closing the last session of the year.
To browse KWABLA’s catalogue of cultural goods or to view a listing of artisans from the Buganda tribal culture of Uganda, click on the links below.