Tribes, people and their culture

Today in Uganda there are 17 tribes belonging to the Bantu and Nilotic groups.

The Bantu-speaking tribes include the Baganda from the central region and, the Batooro, Banyoro, Bakiga, Bafumbira, Bakonjo, Bamba, Banyarwanda and Batwa from the western region, plus the Basoga, Banyuli, Bakenye, Bagishu, Bagwe, Bagwere from the eastern region. There are Bateso, Jopadhola and Karimojong, Kumam. Jonam, Sebi, Pokot (Suk) and Tepeth from the northeastern area, and the Nilotics who include the Acholi, Alur, Langi, Lugbara, Madi, Kakwa in the north. The Lendus from Zaire are also found across the border in Northwestern Uganda.

English is the official language. Many people outside the office also commonly speak it. Luganda is easily the more spoken language in most towns where business is transacted. This is as a result of British colonial rule where the indirect policy of rule used Baganda chiefs to oversee their business. For many years the Luganda Bible and primer was the only available source of education in most Bantu-speaking districts of Uganda and could easily have become the official language but the other districts will hear none of that. Kiswahili is spoken but not without relative unease because of its association with bad rule and soldiers who went on butchering people in the bad regimes. Neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania have happily embraced Kiswahili which is freely spoken in parliament, but not in Uganda, where despite Government efforts to make it a course language in primary and secondary schools parents are reluctant to embrace it. A number of Languages like Runyakitara and Luganda are examinable as degree courses at Makerere University. Kiswahili has been introduced there as well.

The people and their cultures

Uganda is a country of many cultural contrasts. For example if you go west to Mbarara District, you will meet the Bahima, a race of Ankole. This is an egalitarian group of tall beautiful people who live on their cattle, milk and ghee. They move from place to place in search of grass for their herds. The men are agile, temperamental when confronted and wear the elaborate shuka, a long woven cloth of rich colours around the shoulder and a handy stick in hand to shoo cows or fight the enemy. Their fat wives who walk in the same graceful manner like the cows, live on milk and equally wear colourful clothes. The women are usually of ample girth with beautiful chocolate coloured gums and extremely white teeth. The Bahima have strengthened their lives around cows and milk. Many of their long-horned, graceful cows are given names to which they respond when called. There is a rich folklore of songs and dance among the Bahima, including some elaborate poems and recitals which give praise to the best cows or narrate some long journeys. Owing to the increasing shortage of cows and land, they are slowly settling down to a more sedentary way of life.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park
Bigodi Wetlands
Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi
Mount Muhavurain
Nile River
Sipi Falls
Murchison Fall

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