The fate of a girl who lost her virginity in kites’ land – uganda safari news
A word that is believed to quickly lose meaning with every day that goes by, envisioned in phrases like “Virginity is lack of Opportunity”, still holds a weighty meaning to the Bakiga people of Kigezi Land. “Africa’s Switzerland” as she is called, Kigezi can be visited on a Safari to Uganda’s south west.
Omukiga (the singular of the Bakiga people) speaks a language called Rukiga, and like many of the other Bantu languages in Africa, some words either do not change or are closely alike. The Bakiga however have an absorbing set of cultures but I seek to only explore one today.
On a Safari tour in Uganda you can confirm that among the Bakiga, marriage is sacred and only the ready few are allowed to transition into this ceremony. Much as virginity is a matter to be respected by all, it is more strictly enforced on the girl’s side. A boy could lose his virginity and get away with it, but a girl could not even think about making that mistake, because of the repercussions that would ensue.
Unmarried girls were tightly watched by female relatives in the family while at home, and also by the elders in the community when they went to the forest to collect firewood, or when they carried their water pots between home and the well. But even though the punishments attached were heavy, some girls still opted to trespass.
Committing this crime and getting caught would result in a death sentence for the girl. The famous Kisiizi falls in Rushoma was the legendary execution point. The girl, followed by a parade of community members, was led to the top of the falls and then thrown over the falls to her death. It is believed that up to 100,000 girls were guillotined in this manner. Today the falls still exist and can be visited on a Safari in Uganda.
An alternative punishment involved taking the girl deep into the forest where she was left at the mercy of the hungry forest dwelling beasts. The chances of surviving were somewhat obscure, due to the existence of both day time and nocturnal predators in the forest. The Bakiga also narrate that some other transgressors would be taken to a small island in Lake Bunyonyi where they were dumped and left to starve to death. It has however been said that these girls had a greater chance of surviving than their counterparts who faced the other forms of punishment. Some migrating pastoralists would take them up as wives for free, and therefore didn’t have to offer dowry.
Numerous tourists have discovered more about this land during their Uganda Gorilla Safaris. Despite the heartbreaking story that this land tells, from it we can all learn the importance of following instructions. Kigezi land is by far one of those places which have something for everyone. Kigezi, “Africa’s Switzerland”!