Uganda is one of the smaller countries on the African continent but it is surprisingly one of the most ethnically diverse places on the globe and probably in the entire universe. Although many of these ethnic groups have some close ties with at least one other group in the country, they each have elements in their cultural fabric that are entirely dissimilar from any other, especially the traditions and dialects or languages. This makes Uganda a top tours and safari destination in the world especially for tourists who are interested in having an entirely new cultural experience.
In the three (3) southwestern districts of Uganda called Bundibugyo, Ntoroko and Kasese where the famous “Mountains of the Moon” (the Rwenzoris) are situated; lives a fascinating kingdom called Rwenzururu; one of Uganda’s youngest kingdoms. The Banyarwenzururu (a name given to the people who inhabit the Rwenzururu kingdom) include two subgroups (the Bakonjo and the Amba). The history of Rwenzururu kingdom is described by both times of happiness and sorrows for the Konjo and Amba people.
Originally, the two subgroups (Amba and Konjo) lived peacefully in the Rwenzoris and worshipped a god called Kitasamba who they believed to inhabit the higher places of the legendary mountains while his beautiful wives christened the lower slopes. They trusted in Kitasamba to provide them with food, success in farming, rainfall and to protect them since he made the world and all that is in it. They also believed that the snow which capped the peaks of the Rwenzoris was his frozen semen which melted to form many of the streams which can be seen during a Uganda Safari and tour to the Rwenzoris.
The Amba and Konjo lived peacefully until the British Colonial Government joined them with the greater kingdom of Toro which is found in the district of Kabarole today. Desiring to be independent, the two groups joined efforts to form a secessionist movement called Rwenzururu and in June 1962 they were recognized as an independent cultural entity with Isaya Makirania as their leader; but this was just ceremonial. The soldiers from Toro Kingdom continued to patrol the Rwenzoris and even massacred a great number of Konjo and Amba men, women and children between 1963 and 1964.
This massacre mounted greater disregard for the Toro dominance among the Rwenzururu people and at the fall of Idi Amin in 1979 the agile youthful men of Rwenzururu captured some of the ammunitions from the defeated government and formed a guerilla movement; all geared towards autonomy.
Fortunately, due to the efforts of a number of people including human rights activists and researchers especially from Makerere University; the government of Museveni Kaguta declared Rwenzururu an independent cultural organization on 17th March 2008 in a victorious ceremony which was aired on national television stations.
The Rwenzururu Kingdom which is currently led by Omusinga (a title given to the kings of Rwenzururu) Charles Mumbere, is an interesting group of people to encounter during your Uganda tour and safari. You will be taken through the communities of the Rwenzururu people by the expressive Rwenzururu tour guides and you will be able to see the remains of the historic struggle for independence along the Bulemba-Ihandiro Cultural Trail.
During your safari and tour, you will be fortunate enough to also see spiritual symbols like the “Spiritual Konjo Stool” which is believed to cure people of their illnesses. Visits may also lead to Muhima, the traditional healer who cures people of their illnesses by using natural traditional herbs only. Perhaps the height of your visit will be a traditional musical performance by the energetic Rwenzururu dancers. You are actually welcome to join in with the dancers or to join the drummers in the traditional Rwenzruru social music and dances.
Culture in Uganda is unlimited and the fascinations behind the peoples of Uganda are a reason for the international community to love this country in the heart of Africa.
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